Friday, 30 July 2010

70: "Love Letters" by Katie Fforde

Publisher: Arrow Books
Page count: 464 pages
Date begun: July 21st, 2010
Date finished: July 21st, 2010

First of all, I have NO idea why this book is called Love Letters. There is not a single letter written in the entire book. There are phone conversations, the occasional e-mail and text message is mentioned, there are lots of books, but at no point does anyone sit down and write or read any form of letter, love or otherwise. I have absolutely no idea why this title was chosen for the book.

The book is about Laura Horsley. She's 26 years old, still a virgin, by her own account extremely dull, and does very little but work in a tiny bookshop and read. The bookshop she is working in is closing, and a pushy literary agent decides that Laura is the perfect person to help her niece set up at literary/music festival near the country house the niece lives in. Laura is initially very reluctant, but gets carried away. One of the possible sponsors for the event misunderstands her during a conversation and thinks she personally knows Dermot Flynn, a reclusive Irish author. He demands that Flynn come to the festival or he (the sponsor) won't provide any money.

Laura sets off to the Irish countryside to track down Dermot Flynn, her favourite author of all time (she even wrote her dissertation on his two novels). She doesn't realize that the reason he is known as a cranky recluse is that he's had writer's block for the past 15 years. When she arrives in the tiny village where he lives (where he's also appearing at a festival), she gets massively drunk to summon the courage to talk to him (as he is totally gorgeous and sexy and brilliant) and he promises to come to the festival if she sleeps with him.

Being dreadfully drunk, Laura does end up in bed with him, but passes out. When she returns to England, she learns that Dermot has decided to teach a writing course at a local university, and wants her to be his assistant for the course. She ends up reading a huge amount of manuscripts to help him, and continues to fall for him. One of the students at the writing course lets slip to the newspapers that Dermot is going to appear at the literary festival Laura is helping to organize, and Dermot is furious, as he wanted his appearance kept secret until the last minute. Everything seems to be going badly wrong.

Love Letters, despite not being about letters at all, is a perfectly fun summer read. It's nothing profound or brilliant, and Laura is a bit of a boring character to begin with. She also seems to come out of her shell and blossom surprisingly fast, all it took was getting riotously drunk in Ireland, apparently. For someone who starts out extremely shy and introverted at the opening of the book, she is very different at the end. There are some fun characters, but it drags a bit in places, and I would have liked to see how the romance developed a bit more.

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