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Via ".@eenderinwales"

Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.I have in the past in this blog chatted about how covers have fooled me. Specifically with regard to female writers. A cover/blurb have lead me to believe that it was a book which you could call “women’s fiction” (ie not for men) but on actually reading it discover that it’s accessible to all. The writer I give as an example of this being Marian Keyes.

Well having read this latest book from the library….

A Chick Lit Cover I Know

….it reminds of a warning signal every time you see it in a cover. In this case, whilst there is a quote from Miranda Dickinson, it’s the back cover which is key for it says in the last blurb paragraph “Perfect for fans of Dawn French and Fern Britton”.

Now full disclosure here I’ve never read a book from either of these ladies. But I have read similar things in book cover blurbs almost from when I learnt to read books without pictures. And you know that if there is one absolute rule of thumb it’s that the book being promoted is rarely as good as the writers they are being compared to.

The point is that such a comparison is unfair both to the reader and the writer. Because it puts the reader in a particular type of mindset when reading and no matter how good the writer actually is if that bar, set very high because of the comparison, is not reached then the reader will feel short changed and is unlikely to read anything else from that writer again.

Before I go on then I’ll need to repeat two things. Firstly the cover has a quote (just the one – I’d argue tellingly) from Miranda Dickinson. Secondly I’ve never read anything by Dawn French or Fern Britton. I say this because the rule definitely for me applies here. I didn’t like this book.

The plot basically is that a group of women have to move from Liverpool to Brighton when the husband of one of these ladies gets into trouble. I’ve read variations on this theme before.

As for the characters. Well there’s the frustrated woman in a mid-life crisis, the devoted wife of a philandering husband, the aforesaid husband, the cantankerous old relative who speaks her mind, the love struck young woman oh and as clichés go the Scottish gangster. I wish I could say six cliché characters in search of an author (it would have been a good joke). Alas there are more. Including the inevitable Mr Darcy figure.

So then a cliché plot full of cliché characters.

I am being slightly unfair on Ms Leigh. This is a readable book. It is not however a memorable one. I know that in a couple of months time unless otherwise prompted I would have forgotten having read this novel and not being bothered by the fact I did.

So beware the blurb comparison.

Until the next time.