Wednesday, 28 September 2011
"An Autumn Crush," by Milly Johnson
Stuff and Nonsense by Amy Cockram is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
I received a review copy of this book courtesy of the publishers, Simon and Schuster. This book is due for release tomorrow (Thursday 29th September 2011), so - even though girly romances are not my usual taste - I was excited to get a preview copy. "An Autumn Crush" is Milly Johnson's sixth book, but is the first by her that I have read.
Juliet Miller is interviewing for possible flatmates with her flamboyant gay friend, Coco. Following a series of humorous but disastrous possible flatmates (said of a plump vegan, "How can anyone get an arse that big just from eating celery?"), Juliet isn't optimistic when her final interviewee is late because she stopped to rescue a limping hedgehog. However, she bonds with fellow divorcee Florence (Floz) over chocolate biscuits and the two become flatmates and friends. The two are contrasting characters: Juliet is ebullient and confident, while Floz is more reserved and introverted. The romantic intrigue is introduced with the characters of Juliet's brother, Guy, and his friend Steve, who moonlight as wrestlers.
One thing that I liked about this book is that it is as much about female (and male) friendship, as it is a romance. Milly Johnson's creations are warm and likeable, and I enjoyed spending time with them. The Floz plot - henceforth known to me as the flot - is darker and tinged with a sadness that added an extra dimension to the book. As my own temperament is more quiet Floz than extrovert Juliet, I found the flot very affecting and I was rooting for Floz to finally find her happy ending. I don't want to make this sound depressing though, as Milly Johnson also has a strong vein of observational humour in her writing (I was particularly fond of the OAP wrestling audiences).
I'm not sure that I would read another book by Milly Johnson - but that is because my own personal preference is for the mysterious or creepy. I do have to admit to a deep-seated prejudice against "chick-lit," but almost despite myself I quite enjoyed this book as a respite from my usual reading list of blood and mayhem.