Title: Working It Out
Author: Nicola May
Publisher: Nowell Publishing
Ruby Matthews has a plan. Twelve jobs in twelve months, until she finds the one of her dreams…
After an unexpected redundancy, Ruby begins to question her priorities. Inspired by a quote from Kahlil Gibran about loving your work, she launches her mission to find the ideal job.
Her year of gainful (and sometimes painful!) employment includes nannying for clients in the South of France; dealing with embarrassing ailments in a Harley Street Clinic; waiting tables in a buzzy Soho cafe; and meeting the celebs of years gone by in a home for retired actors. And even though love is no longer top of her list, relationships just seem to start happening along the way – which sees her handing out some P45s of her own!
But will any of the jobs, or men she meets, see her dreams come true? Or will Ruby just end up back where she started?
Another great concept for a novel by Nicola May. Although this was her debut novel, I ended up reading it last, just like to be like that! I think it is a really strong debut novel with a solid storyline, a host of fabulous characters and a wonderful concept for a tale.
At the beginning of the book we meet Ruby. She has just been made redundant, but does she let this get the better of her? No! She begins on a quest-12 jobs in 12 months and then she will decide which is the best fit for her. I can only imagine the fun this author had researching this novel as some of the jobs are completely not what you would expect for someone who used to work in marketing. The wonderful thing about Ruby is that she doesn't give up. She completely typifies the strong independent thirty something woman that I love to read about in novels. When she doesn't get work for a couple of weeks and finds money hard, she sells her designer handbags on eBay, something we all know can buy us a bit of spending money until the next pay cheque arrives.
The other thing I really liked about the character and her position within the storyline is that with every job she does, either she ends up learning a completely valid life lesson, or else she ends up teaching the people she works with something. I think Nicola May has been very clever here. She could've just gone through describing the scrapes and capers that Ruby got into in each job, but instead she decided to use each job as a teaching point in Ruby's life, or the lives of the characters around her.
The book is mainly set in Putney, but the main character is originally from Reading and is a staunch fan of their football team, so it helped in my reading of the book that it was set close to home. At the end of the story, however, Ruby travels to the Lake District, so be warned, you will be craving the beauty of the hills and,area of Cumbria by the time you finish this novel! All scenes and settings were wonderfully described. Indeed throughout the book, the balance of description and narrative were spot on.
I think there is really something for everybody in the treat of a debut novel. Some really likeable characters, both main and supporting. A strong storyline featuring me very day events as well as the pure escapism of 'I wonder what would happen if I quit my job and tried my hand at a completely different career'. And of course there is the all important love interest, something simmering beneath the surface, teasing the reader with not knowing what will happen until the very last minute! Loves, laughs and life lessons in this fabulously fun novel by Nicola May!