Saturday, 19 September 2015

Book review: The Love Shack by Jane Costello

"Life's great when you're 29 years old with a gorgeous girlfriend and fulfilling job. Until you have to move back in with your mum .

Dan and Gemma have found their dream first home, but the asking price is the stuff of nightmares. The only way they'll ever save enough for the deposit is by moving in, rent-free, with Dan's mum. 

It's a desperate solution, but it's only for six months. And Gemma's determined to make it work, no matter how bad things get. 

But between Dan's mum's kitchen karaoke, her constant innuendos, irrepressible argumentative streak and - worst of all - her ham and pineapple curries, life back at home would test the patience of two saints. Which Dan and Gemma most definitely are not. 

Then, as they're trying to convince themselves it will all be worth it, Gemma's past comes back to haunt her. And suddenly the foundations of their entire relationship are shaken to their core…"

I picked up The Love Shack when I was looking for a light-hearted, entertaining read that would take my mind off things. It was the perfect fit for this criteria, and is a book I thoroughly enjoyed.

The story centres around Gemma and Dan, a young couple who are buying their first house together. After a lot of searching they eventually find the perfect house, which they both love. The only problem? It's out of their price range. Deciding that with only a few extra months of saving they'd be able to afford it, the pair move out their rental flat and back home with Dan's mum, to save money while the contract goes through.

The plot was funny and easily relateable to, which I really liked. Having just bought my first house I fully understood the emotions and thought processes of the pair which made this a really realistic and funny story.

The story has a split viewpoint between Gemma and Dan, which I think is one of my favourite things about it. I loved having the mans take on things as well as Gemma's, as it explained some of the scenarios and situations really well. It also provided some funny moments - one chapter ends with Gemma hurting her arm, and is being told from Dans perspective. He explains how she isn't very good with pain and was being pretty dramatic during the whole ordeal. The next chapter is from Gemma's point of view and starts with her saying that it's a good job she can cope with pain well, or it could have been a lot worse. This had me in hysterics as it is just what every couple are like and its realness made me laugh.

Dan is a real sweetie and probably my favourite character in the story. You can really see how much he cares for Gemma and how he just wants to make her happy. He's the ideal boyfriend and I did develop a bit of a soft spot for him as the story unfolded - especially when you see things from his point of view and so can relate to him more. He's quite a sensitive soul which I also thought was good, as its slightly different for a man.

Belinda, his mum is mad as a hatter but very entertaining. She doesn't make things easy for Gemma and Dan living there - she has loud parties and makes very inappropriate comments about their... personal life. I can fully see why they felt uncomfortable about it, but as a reader it's a brilliant addition to the story and you never quite know what she'll do or say next.

The other highlight for me was the attention to detail when it came to Dan's job. He works at a homeless charity, and you can tell Jane has gone to great lengths to ensure she gets the facts about his role correct, and that shines through. Working in the charity and homelessness sector myself, I know the kind of work that happens on a day to day, and the kind of clients that people like Dan would work with. The research had paid off, as it was very true to life and accurately portrayed how his job would be.

Overall, The Love Shack is a brilliant read and I genuinely don't have any niggles or bad points to pick up on. The plot is a bit different and well thought through and Jane (as usual) has a humorous writing style that is funny and engaging. This book is a great form of escapism - it's a light-hearted and fun read that transports you into the world of the characters and allows you to forget real life while you get absorbed into it. Jane's writing talent shines through with this story- a brilliant, funny read that I absolutely loved.

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