The Naughty Girls’ Book Club
by Sophie Hart
HarperCollins/Avon May 6, 2014 (UK) June 6, 2014 (US)
E-Book/Paperback 400 Pages
Galley provided by Publisher via Edelweiss for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own unless noted.
Estelle sets up a book group in order to increase custom to her struggling small town cafe, what follows is more scandalous than she could have ever imagined…
As the first book club meeting flounders, Estelle suggests a spot of erotica to spice up the members lives – with trepidation the decision is accepted.
Inspired by their sizzling reads, this group of shy suburban readers shake off their inhibitions and discover a new side to themselves with some tantalising results.
Saucy and sexy chicklit fiction at its most seductive, this is perfect for fans of Jilly Cooper and Indigo Bloome. HarperCollins UK
I found this book to be very distinctively British in its language, timing, characters and story line. What I mean is that you could read almost any paragraph in the story and know it was British. I like British fiction, it’s just a little more civilized ((wink)). Actually this cheeky tale is fairly predictable, with characters you could pick out of any BBC television program, but much like those shows, it’s engaging nonetheless. Of course this is from the point of view of an American who has watched a lot of British Television on Public TV.
It also shows the universality of books and how discussing them can span generations and pull together a diverse assortment of people. In fact, that community building aspect of literature is the thesis focus of one of the club members, Reggie, a very geeky guy.
Although the characters very much demonstrate the differences between British culture and my American upbringing, they also show the very human adventures of people in various stages of relationship and age. Some of it’s sad or poignant, and some of it is new and refreshing. And though that is interesting and comfortable, I found it as predictable as dominoes falling in a row.
Comfortable isn’t necessarily bad: it can be a way for a writer to show us something without having to lay out a lot of world building, character definition or back story. I usually find this dependence on trope in shorter works, and the 400 pages in this are really accounted for by the four different stories that are told in the book.
An important feature in the book is about books opening one up to new experiences. In this case the experiences are keeping marriage exciting, love, and personal growth and evolution. The club turns disparate strangers into friends. But you wonder how these lives would have gone without the club; a little too much in the lives of the new friends turns on the club’s existence. While I made some good friends in the book club I belonged to, I had a bad experience and left. What has your book club experience been like?
The very British feeling is probably accounted for by the fact that it’s author is, in fact, British and the book’s first market is the UK and Canada. It runs along similar lines to THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB, where the book and the club change how members feel about each other and maybe themselves.
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