Saturday, November 20, 2010

With Her Boots On by Lisa Dow

4 Star

Mel Melrose is preparing to be a bridesmaid in her brother's wedding, but the over-the-top, construction cone coloured dresses and drunken bridal showers aren't the only stressors in her life. Worrying about her boyfriend's lack of commitment as the wedding looms, Mel's career is suddenly turned upside down but when she turns to her boyfriend for comfort she finds him interested in all things modern dance instead of her. With her life spiraling out of control, will the control freak in Mel manage to pull herself from the edge where she's teetering in her four-inch Prada boots?

Lydia - 4 Star

With Her Boots On has some hilarious moments and I laughed out loud frequently right from the first page. This is the story of Mel finding herself, discovering aspects of her personality she didn't necessarily want to accept, and finally learning and moving on.  I loved that she didn't shove her relationship issues under the rug, but dealt with an learned from them.

I found out half way through this novel that it`s a sequel and I had no idea, so it obviously stands well on it's own. Although somewhat predictable, this novel was still a satisfying read and I quite enjoyed the later part of the novel during Mel's journey of self discovery.  

Unfortunately there were a few inconsistencies that threw me including Mel's fear of sea creatures and then a mention of her having fish. There was also a mention of a Wrangler Cowboy commercial in the early 1980's which was such a tiny spot in the book, but it threw me right out trying to figure out when exactly this novel took place and whether the characters would remember (I don't). I'm just being really nit picky I know, but they really did throw me.

This novel moved along at a rapid pace, was frequently funny and I enjoyed how Mel manages to get out of her shell and seeing her self-discovery journey. I loved the relationship between Mel and her best friend, Kit, and their two families. I thought all the characters were well drawn and this novel had some quirky and unusual elements including Mel's personal translator at work, and the lawn ornament loving neighbours. There were definitely some unforgettable aspects to this novel.  

Overall, I really enjoyed reading With Her Boots On and will look out for Lisa Dow novels in the future.

Kathryn- 4 Star

I found this novel hilarious and would definitely like to read the prequel- I agree with Lydia though that With Her Boots On stands very well on its own and I never had a notion that I was missing any important information.

For me there were some writing style issues in the first few chapters - it seemed a little clumsy and not very well edited but all of a sudden though the writing tightened up and the story just started to flow off the pages and I was hooked!   Although there were a storyline things that were a little predictable I found Lisa Dow had a great way of making a funny situation extremely visual and so intense sometimes that I laughed out loud (at least twice- probably more!). 

I loved Mel and Kit and their siblings and their parents so much that I wanted to drive downtown and figure out where they lived so I could meet them.  The parents in particular were too funny and if they show up Dow’s prequel I will be very happy!  Mel and Kit are very close but their relationship didn’t feel forced at all- they seemed to have an easy respect for each other and I loved that they were even close with each other’s siblings.  It’s really nice to have a friendship be so long-standing and close that they families are intertwined.  I also liked that we were introduced to Mel through her career as well as her friendship with Kit and although the novel centered around Mel becoming single again I was never under the impression that she wouldn’t bounce back.

I will definitely remember this novel initially for a couple of key moments but in fact there are a lot of things that were appealing and I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another Lisa Dow novel. 
Thank you to McArthur and Company for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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