Saturday, September 21, 2013

E For England by Elisabeth Rose

3 Star

Annie never thought to use underwear to meet a man, but the trick works on her downstairs neighbour, Hugh. Though he’s a handsome English doctor, Annie wants nothing more than friendship. Luckily, neither does Hugh.

But their friendship is shaken and their resolve tested when Annie’s flatmate, sexy and voracious Leonie, meets Hugh. Annie has no claim on Hugh’s nights, but can she bear to lose him to Leonie? And when Annie’s husband suddenly reappears, will Hugh fight for the family he didn’t know he needed?

Kathryn - 3 Star

I had really high expectations for this novel, not quite sure why but I think it’s because I haven’t read an Australian Chick Lit book that I haven’t liked yet. I find them just a bit edgier than the norm and am always intrigued to read about new cities and intricacies of life in other countries.

E for England had some good points - I actually really liked the game-plan behind the title and thought it was both quirky and unique. I enjoyed the children in the novel - they were personable and true to life, especially given their circumstances. Rose gave them such warmth that you could feel it through the pages. I think my heart wanted to love the book more than I did. Much as I appreciated Annie’s circumstances and how much pressure she was under I found the connection between herself and her roommate/co-worker to be hard to grasp. We’re told a few times that an office email went out stating Annie’s need for a roommate and there are some hints that she and Leonie are friends enough to have Friday drinks together before they lived together - but their closeness wasn’t really plausible for me. I think it would be very odd indeed to move yourself and your two small children into an apartment with someone you’d only shared beverages with. I wish Rose had developed their closeness more or outlined it at some point. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of life points, and although Leonie is obviously lovely to the children it felt completely strange for them to be so close.

Annie’s friendship and possible love interest Hugh was challenging at times for me, too. I appreciated that they weren’t on the same page about their needs and therefore couldn’t open up to each other about their feelings, but they actually did both state or show at some point that they were into each other.  And yet the internal dialogue for each of them kept expressing their doubts about the others interest? I loved Hugh’s burgeoning attachment to Annie’s children - his reading of the bedtime stories was sweet enough to make me love him. I also think that Rose did him a great service by giving him a career we were privy to because otherwise he may have come across as a bit stiff.

I wish E for England had lived up to my high hopes and hadn’t ended so abruptly (I even flipped the pages to see if I’d missed something). There was more to be made of both the characters and the story line. I liked Rose’s writing though and would be tempted to try another novel in the future.

Thank you to Escape Publishing for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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