Holiday Reading – February 2014

Once again this month’s holiday reading has been read at home rather than on holiday but both of these books are worthy of suitcase space.

Book covers

The Engagements and Me Before You

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan has diamonds at its core with Mary Frances Gerety, a copywriter for a US advertising agency,  keen to prove she’s just as good as the men in her office and comes up with a line which becomes world famous and synonymous with diamonds.  However, this is the 1940’s so acknowledgement is a long time coming.  The subject of diamonds then runs throughout the book which tells tales of love, marriage and betrayal from the viewpoint of characters who we see through the decades.  There is Evelyn, coping with her son’s infidelity; James, trying to provide for his family; Kate, resisting marriage and all it stands for whilst trying to solve the world’s problems and Delphine, a Parisian struggling to adjust in America with a young lover.

Each of the characters is written so well and despite all their faults being exposed from the start you can’t help but like them.  Each chapter returns to one of the main characters and the supporting cast of their partners, children, colleagues are written so well.  It is not only female characters that Sullivan writes well but the men too which isn’t always the case.  You could literally, if you had the time, read this book in one sitting as you get so drawn in to their lives.  It is one of those books that you don’t want to end and when it does you feel a little bit like you’re leaving friends behind.

I’m really looking forward to buying Sullivan’s previous books and definitely recommend this to anyone who loves losing themselves in a book.  It is a proper story.

I was a bit dubious about starting the next book, Me Before You by JoJo Moyes as I have always had Moyes down as one of the Queens of Chick Lit.  There is nothing wrong with chick lit but I like to think I grew out of it in my 20’s with lots of Jane Green, Lisa Jewell and so on.  But, on a friend’s recommendation I gave this book a go and admittedly it is written in what I’d call a chick lit style but it’s a great story.

Lou and Will are both in need of being saved from themselves.  Lou seems happy enough living in the town she grew up in, working in a café and living at home, stuck in a relationship with a fitness obsessed boyfriend.  Then she loses her job and is forced to try something new, being the carer for Will, who was involved in a serious motorcycle accident and is now a quadriplegic, missing his old life and planning how to escape his new one.  Unsurprisingly they fall in love with each other but you can sort of get over that predictability with everything else that is going on around them and the revelation that Will is planning to take his own life in Switzerland.  Can Lou convince him he has a life to live for with her?

Tissues are definitely recommended as the perfect accompaniment to this book, and if possible, a sun lounger and cocktail too.  It would make a great book to escape into without taxing the brain on holiday.  Failing that take it on your journey into work so you can forget about the smelly armpit in your face.  It is no surprise that there are talks to make the book into a film although I really hope they don’t do a ‘One Day’ and completely miscast it ruining it for anyone who loved the book.  And, if you liked One Day you will definitely like this.


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