Easter Reading: so much longer lasting than eggs...
First, two books I have actually read and loved. The first, Wedlock, came with the goodie bag from the Orion party, and was also featured on the TV Book Club. It's the story of 'Britain's Worst Husband' - honestly, no exaggeration at all - and his long-suffering, foolish but ultimately valiant wife (well, two wives, actually, plus a whole host of mistresses and victims). It has the suspense of a novel, along with the insight and fresh information of the best non-fiction. I don't know that I would have bought it, but it turned out to be such a page-turner and I have been recommending it to men and women alike.
I do tend to read non-fiction - or a very different genre, like hard-boiled crime - when I am in the midst of writing a novel in case it puts me off or I inadvertently adopt the 'voice' of the author I'm reading. However, I was so tempted by the cover and idea of Louise Harwood's brand new book this time that I made an exception. Isn't that the most summery, gorgeous jacket?The story takes place on a film set, and the heroine is a make-up artist, Ella. One of the reasons I thought it might be safe for me to read is that Louise's books are aimed, I think, at a slightly younger age group than mine, and that they tend to be more focussed on the romantic relationships, whereas I tend to get side-tracked by all sorts of random topics (e.g. Brownie badges, phobias, surveillance technology, gambling rehab etc.). Overall, I thought I'd be able to enjoy the book without it affecting my own work-in-progress.
It was terrific! Ella was a great character to spend time with, both funny and feisty, and the setting was brilliantly researched - I learned so much about make-up in the movies, but I never felt overwhelmed with the detail. All the characters were intriguing and I had no idea how it was going to end - usually I do have a habit of guessing where a story is going. An additional storyline, about the First World War photographer who is the subject of the movie, was clever and interesting, and overall I think Kiss Like You Mean It would make a tremendous holiday read. I can be quite intolerant of girl-meets-boy stories where the romance alone is expected to keep the reader interested, but this was absolutely not one of those. I felt I had an insight into a different world.
So, I am now looking forward to setting aside the finished draft (maybe next week, if I get my act together enough) and embarking on a read-a-thon. I will toss a coin between the two I want next: Romantic Novel of the Year Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts: And the unbelievably huge but incredibly exciting-looking The Passage, which was very kindly posted to me by one of the editors at Orion when I didn't think I'd be able to fit it in my hand luggage from the UK to Spain. Well, it would have fitted but there wouldn't have been much room for anything else.