Rachael Lucas is one of my very oldest online friends (and latterly a real life one too… I have the honour of having shared a number of hotel rooms with her and had an inadvertent midnight cuddle from her too 😉 ) and it is only because of that that I’m going to forgive her for probably being the best romantic comedy author I’ve read in recent years. It’s a genre I dip in and out of depending on mood and it had been a while since I had read anything like it. Rachael sent me a early review copy which I took on a train with me – not only was it the first cheerful chick lit I’d had to read for a while but it was also the first ‘analogue’ (paper!) book I’d held in a while too. Something about both those things combined with circumstance to make it a really special experience; a train journey in the early morning, a book written by a friend, the sensation of paper in my hands and a feel good, engaging story all in one.
I was hooked. I sat up late that night, in a rare moment of making the husband sleep with a t-shirt over his eyes while I used old fashioned retro room lighting to finish a book I genuinely didn’t want to put down. By 2am I was posting my review on GoodReads – a real, honest to goodness 5* review (I’m a tough cookie, friend she may be but I gave her first book 4* because I just KNEW she was going to get even better).
Coming Up Roses really is a great story. It’s the story of Daisy and her fresh start after her heart has been all bruised. She moves to a village to take care of her parents’ house and garden, putting her talents to use and finding some space for preparing for a fresh start. Once there of course, she finds that village life is anything but quiet and immerses herself (slightly preferential to being dragged under by force) in the community and all the needs and foibles it has. The story twists and turns with plenty of love interests, friends, calamities and drama and you can just tell that this is a woman who has really lived the village life – having grown up in one I could practically smell the characters!
Rom-com often has a slightly predictable plot and while Coming Up Roses won’t upset you by doing anything shocking (let’s face it, we buy and read these books for happy, comforting down time that won’t bludgeon us with horror), it doesn’t follow a formula so closely that you know in advance exactly what is going to happen. There is more than one boy in the frame and more than one possible happy ending and Rachael does a brilliant job of crafting something that leaves you satisfied as well as properly entertained. Plus she somehow perfectly pitches the story to make Daisy someone I can relate to as easily at *cough* 41 as I could have done at 28 or 35.
Buy it. Honestly. It’s a genuinely charming novel, one that I sunk right into and never felt I had to read because a friend had written it. You’ll love it. Plus it’s very cheap on Amazon Kindle this week 🙂