Author: Lucy Robinson
Review by: Catriona
A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson, author of The Greatest Love Story of All Time, is a hilariously funny and gorgeously romantic story about falling in love when you least expect it. Charley Lambert has put considerable effort into achieving a perfect life. She has The Job. The Wardrobe. And The Flat. Her womanising, junk food-loving housemate Sam lowers the tone a bit but that aside, things are peachy. Then she breaks her leg in three places, watches her unrequited love propose to someone else and - worst of all - is forced to hand over her job to her nasty deputy while she recovers. Workaholic Charley fears that she will soon go mad. Desperate for something to do, she discovers her talent for helping the lovelorn online. And then William arrives in her inbox. Within hours of his first email, her world starts to change. Helpless, she watches herself fall in love with this man and begins to realise that she's not who she thought she was. But will she be brave enough to turn her back on her old life - all for a total stranger?
"Maybe there will be a way around all this mess, I thought hopefully. After all, I wasn't a bad person. I was just doing my best in what had turned out to be a fairly imperfect life"
I loved this quote from the book and I think that it totally sums up what started out looking like your usual, run of the mill contemporary romance novel, but turns out to be so much more! When I was first introduced to the main character of charley, I could so identify with her control-freak nature, the way she threw herself into her life, and her need for everything to be perfect, but she also made me feel totally on edge, like she was actually about to explode! Those of us with busy lifestyles will all be able to identify with that feeling! When she breaks her leg in three places and has to relax an recuperate for a long period of time, her life begins to change in ways she didn't even expect, and as a reader, we get to identify with a whole other side to her character, and yet it is a side which is equally likeable, and equally easy to recognise in ourselves!
This novel has two main turning points, the first is when charley begins her First Date Aid website. I loved the idea of this website, helping people to write emails to those who have grabbed their attention on Internet dating sites. Again Lucy Robinson captures these dating sites so well, in loved how tried to life some of the exchanges were, and even the fact that there is definitely a need for someone to help you write these emails, they can be seriously hard if you are not getting anything from the other person! Charley begins emailing William and falls in love with this witty, sensitive guy, the only hitch is that he is emailing her client and not charley! However this proves to be a turning point in the novel because this is where the real feelings and emotions in the novel kick up a gear. Not only does this novel deal with affairs of the heart. But it completely examines the challenges that we face in today's modern world. The need to be perfect, the need to be in control of a million different things all at once, and the feeling of wondering why we are on this constant treadmill-is there not an easy way to achieve the things we want out of life?
In her second novel, Robinson yet again provides laugh out loud comedy mixed with love and real-life emotions. I think she really brings all of the characters in the novel to life, and most people will be able to find something within main character charley that they can identify with. When charley is struggling with her own affairs of the heart, the authors describes the emotions that she is going through perfectly... " This cycle-scummy snoggy sugary thoughts followed by sharp crushing disappointment-was killing me. I'd escaped my 'work' prison only to check into an even more merciless jail. It was torment."
This novel has a fabulous storyline and a host of strong, funny characters, but I think it is the way that this author deals with some of the issues facing us in our lives today, with humour and insight but, most of all, with real emotion, that readers will enjoy the most. If you are expecting this to be a completely fluffy, run of the mill, chick lit story, then think again! Any reader will be able to take so much out of this novel, and I am confident that, like me, you will not be able to put it down!
"We're far better off out of all that relationship bollocks...turns us all into mentals."