All posts by Diana Campbell

Meet Me Under The Mistletoe – Abby Clements « BestChickLit

What they say:

‘Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel’s lives have taken very different paths since they picked up their A-level results together. Laurie is living in London and dedicated to her career, keeping track of her friends on Facebook. Rachel is seemingly living the family idyll in a cottage in Yorkshire – except she worries her marriage is starting to show cracks. When Rachel’s mother-in-law falls ill and needs treatment in London, and Laurie decides she needs to get away for a break, a house swap falls into place.

Soon Rachel is braving the mean streets of London while trying to keep her family together, while Laurie tries to figure out how to work an Aga and befriend the locals – and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart. Will their relationships survive this test? And will they make it home in time for Christmas?’

What we say – review by Charlotte Foreman:

Now this, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call chick lit: two polar opposite female protagonists, small picturesque village, bannerday5atmospheric festive London, deliciously manly men all embroiled in high-emotion dramas.

The writing style is confident and smooth, meaning Meet Me Under The Mistletoe goes down as easily as a hunk of chocolate cake washed down with a cuppa. The plot almost splits into two, telling separate stories, but also cleverly interweaves to keep the basis of the concept together, and you’re never given a chance to get bored. It’s the perfect stocking filler, and great for relaxing with, so make sure you put it on your Chrimbo list.

Kismetology – Jaimie Admans « BestChickLit

What they say:

‘Finding the perfect man isn’t easy. Especially when it’s for your mother…

Mothers. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them, can’t live three doors down the road without them interfering in every aspect of your life. Mackenzie Atkinson’s mother has meddled in her love life once too often and something has to be done. Mackenzie decides to turn the tables and find love for her lonely mother.

Her lonely and very fussy mother.

Surely finding an older gentleman looking for love won’t be that hard, right? Wrong.  If you’ve ever thought that boys grow up, here’s the problem: They don’t. Ever. And Mackenzie is about to learn that the hard way. Faced with a useless boyfriend, dressed up dogs, men who wear welly boots on dates, men who shouldn’t be allowed out in public, and men who make reptiles seem like attractive company – will she ever find the perfect man for her neurotic mother?’

What we say – review by Nikki Mason:

Mackenzie Atkinson always had her reservations about moving in with her boyfriend three doors down from her overbearing mother. But the reality is even worse than she could have imagined. Meddlesome, boyfriend-hating and super critical, Eleanor parks herself on Mackenzie and Dan’s sofa every night to watch Eastenders with her yappy dog, Baby and cat, Pussy (no, really). To save her relationship with Dan, Mackenzie needs to keep her mother out of harm’s way and what better way than to find her a lover of her own. Mackenzie finds herself interviewing dozens of unsuitable men hoping to meet her mum, from leery old-timers to clueless wellie-wearers. And vetting all these men for her mother is hardly giving her more time to spend with Dan, but does she really mind that much after all? It is more important to her not give up until The One is found. For her mum, of course.

Kismetology introduces us to a riotous array of unseemly gents as Mackenzie goes on her fast-paced matchmaking marathon. And just as the dating format begins to get repetitive, Admans creates more hilarious ways for Mackenzie to meet older men. This novel really explores what relationships are all about and questions anyone who is willing to settle for ordinary instead of trying to find, and cling onto, that elusive true love. The perfect uplifting book for real romantics.

2012 December « BestChickLit

The Crone Club – Give your Gran a good laugh this Christmas for FREE

Older women deserve ‘Chick Lit’ too

by Sandra Peddle, author of The Crone Club

Chick Lit books make wonderful Christmas presents.  Everything they offer is just right for the festive season: light reading, maybe a good laugh, the warmth of female friendship and even someone to admire, a protagonist, who improves her lot against all the odds – on her own, without a man riding to her rescue.  But Chick Lit, by its very nature, is simply not going to satisfy everyone.

As a woman of 60+ I often find myself attracted by the bright, cheerful covers of Chick Lit books.  But invariably I pick up a book, read the blurb on the back and browse through the first few pages and then put it down again disappointed. I hasten to add there is nothing at all wrong with them, but they are simply too young for me. I just cannot immediately identify with the young characters and the problems they face.  I remember buying the t-shirt on their experiences and indeed, wearing it out, metaphorically speaking.

But women of my age have a surprising lot in common with the typical chick lit reader.  Just like our younger sisters ‘we older women’ are facing a whole new stage of life and we want aspirational role models, women of our own age, who are facing the similar problems and concerns, but are quite capable of defeating their own dragons, with perhaps a little help from their friends. The ‘more mature’ version of Chick Lit is called Hen Lit and it satisfies the demand of the older woman for something just as fun and frothy, but especially written for us to enjoy.

The Crone Club is just such a book. Comments from on-line reviews include: “hilarious,” “enormous fun,” ”thoroughly enjoyable tale,” and “extreme behaviour”, “frenetic, funny scenes” and full of “wonderful, colourful characters” and “revealing truths.”

Reviewers also confirm that, although The Crone Club is decidedly ‘Hen Lit,’ it can be also enjoyed by younger women. The paperback version is available on amazon and would make a wonderful gift, but if you want to sample before buying we have made the Kindle version FREE on the 1st and 15th December.

What Makes Christmas ‘Christmas’ by Abby Clements « BestChickLit

We asked Abby Clements, author of Meet Me Under The Mistletoe, to tell us what makes Christmas ‘Christmas’ for her:  

Hello! It’s great to be here with you all on BestChickLit and I hope you’re enjoying the build up to Christmas so far as much as I am. Today I woke up to see a little flurry of snow – there’s nothing like those falling white flakes to make you feel all festive, is there?

As I write this, I’ve just finished decorating our flat – fairy lights, candles, tree, the works. My favourite part to prepare each year is a handmade advent calendar with wooden doors – I fill each day with a treat and a decoration for the tree. It’s a tradition my family had when we were young and it’s nice to be able to carry it on.

I love Christmas shopping – especially with a bag of hot chestnuts in hand – and find it’s most fun with friends, so you can stop for hot chocolate and gossip along the way.  The day when Christmas really starts for me though, is when I go around to my mum’s house to make biscuits, which I’ll be doing next weekend. It’s an unhurried day of chat and baking, a few family friends and plenty of mulled wine.

About ten years ago, our family Christmases were fairly quiet, with just me, Mum and my brother and sister enjoying a lovely meal and some fizz, very civilised… Then everything changed – my two nieces and nephew were born and all our lives, and our Christmases, totally transformed! It was definitely for the better. Now the 25th is a pretty riotous occasion, with all

the grandparents and aunts there, wrapping paper flying here and there and lot of laughter. So I suppose while some traditions will always hold true, Christmas sometimes changes along the way too, in ways you can’t always predict. Nothing could beat watching the little ones hanging their stockings up on Christmas Eve and putting snacks out for Santa.

I am also a big fan of the post-lunch lull. That part of the day when everyone’s slumped on the sofa, too full (or full of wine) to move, but still merrily chatting or watching a film together. We normally talk about going for a healthy, reviving walk, but then end up with a glass of sherry doing a jigsaw instead! The meal, and all the organisation are out of the way, and there’s that easy companionship family brings. Lazy bliss.

This Christmas is going to be a special one, as after two and a half years together my boyfriend and I have just got engaged. He surprised me on a trip away to Italy last weekend and I was left a bit speechless! But I eventually remembered to say a big YES. We’re both really excited about everything ahead and it’ll be great to be able to celebrate with friends and family over the coming weeks.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas – I’d love to hear what makes it Christmassy for you!

You Had Me At Hello – Mhairi McFarlane « BestChickLit

What they say:

“What happens when the one that got away comes back? Find out in this sparkling debut from Mhairi McFarlane.

‘Think of the great duos of history. We’re just like them.’
‘You mean like Kylie and Jason? Torvill and Dean? Sonny and Cher?’
‘I think you’ve missed the point, Rachel.’

Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart. It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.

They’d been partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on: Ben is married. Rachel is not. Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.

Hilarious, heartbreaking and everything in between, you’ll be hooked from their first ‘hello’.”

What we say – review by Jamie Simpson:

Have you ever found yourself daydreaming about what would happen if that old flame from uni returned sending your world spinning all over again? If the answer’s yes, then You Had Me At Hello answers some of the questions and explores the inevitable complications that arise when one of the protagonists involved isn’t free to follow their heart. Seductively straddling two parallel timelines, McFarlane’s debut novel follows the present day travails of Rachel and Ben while regularly dipping back into the past to show how the two met and first fell in love. It’s a deceptively simple device that lends the central romance genuine poignancy and draws the reader ever closer to the two would-be lovers, giving them a warmth and vitality that keeps you rooting for them even when an eventual reunion seems impossible.

There’s a refreshing adult edge to the dialogue, which often fizzes with enough citric spritz to fuel a screwball comedy. An attractive cast of friends cajole, sympathize with and complicate Rachel’s stumbling pursuit of rekindled romance, adding a rich and humorous backdrop made all the more appealing by the story being grounded in the trendy and distinctly contemporary Northern Quarter of Manchester.

This admirably assured novel marks Mhairi McFarlane as an exciting talent to look out for in the future. Witty, engaging and romantic, You Had Me At Hello will keep you enthralled until the final reveal, by which time you will have grown so close to Rachel and Ben that you’ll hope against all expectations that true love will find a way, no matter what adversaries are sent to thwart it. If we didn’t know already, McFarlane successfully proves the truism you never know what a good thing you’ve got until it’s gone.