Okay, where do I begin? I was looking forward to reading Carole's new book as I always find I can curl myself up and lose myself in the stories she writes. Indeed I did curl up, however as for losing myself... well.. it never really felt like that. Let me explain...
Now maybe I am biased, ever since reading Carole's Chocolate Lovers Club I have been a little bit obsessed with those books as they were perfect tens in my eyes. I have read each and every book of hers and have never, not enjoyed one. With her latest release I was convinced that even if I had my doubts reading the synopsis, I would be proved wrong. We meet Janie Johnson and soon learn that she is an ordinary woman leading an ordinary life. From the outset I liked Janie and found myself smiling at the brilliant storytelling that Carole Matthews has in abundance.
As we learn that Janie is trying to move on, following the revelation that her ex is getting married and having a child, we see her mind trying to contemplate what way to best achieve her goal. We see Janie try a blind date which goes disastrously wrong (but which is very funny) and after much dithering she makes a bold decision. Instead of spending Christmas on her own with her cat, she is going to visit Africa. This for me was where the story maybe went a bit south.
Janie flies off to Africa and falls head over heels in love with Dominic, a Maasai Warrior. The story itself was still (in Carole Matthews's style) brilliantly written. Having said that, it was at that point in the book where I started not liking Janie as much as she made more and more decisions based solely on her love for Dominic. The other characters in the book that I really liked was Janie's neighbour Mike who plays a pretty central role in helping Janie with her life as well as Janie's friend Nina (who I was not a big fan of).
The section of the story in Africa is lovely and you can almost imagine being alongside Janie as she experiences all that Africa has to offer. The story was wrapping to a close and I felt myself feeling a little put out with how the ending was looking. On an entirely personal note, I actually didn't like how things ended up for Janie and would have preferred a different outcome.
Overall I am still a die-hard Carole Matthew's fan and her writing is still as brilliant, but for me I couldn't help feeling that this was way too average for a Matthew's book. Maybe it was more to do with the fact that there were too many characters I didn't like in this book, or maybe the fact that I didn't get the ending I wanted. Whatever, it was this was still a good read and the majority will love this book. I will, as ever, be waiting with baited breath for the next book and highly recommend her as an author.