Alphabet Weekends – Elizabeth Noble

Natalie is back home for New Year’s Eve because the man , Simon she thought she was going to marry and live happily ever after with has gone, because he cannot handle it anymore apparently. Natalie seeks solace in an old friend of hers Tom. Despite the fact that they have known each other since school days and her family and many of her friends say he is a good boy, Natalie just sees Tom as Tom and nothing else. Love to her is an instant hit not a slow developer.

Tom sees it different and to bring her out of her wallowing self pity he suggests that they play the alphabet game every weekend. They take it in turns to find an ‘activity’ beginning with the corresponding letter. Tom sees this as way of showing Natalie that there is more to love than just that instant hit and that it can develop over time.  Natalie just thinks it is a load of rubbish but plays along as she realises she has nothing better to do on her weekends. You know what is going to happen, and the reader is taken along for the ride to see the end result.

Thrown into this book were other characters that were related to Natalie and Tom the main protagonists. Thrown was an adjective I chose carefully because at times there was too many of them and I felt that they brought nothing to the book. I lost at times who was related to whom and how they featured altogether. The dialogue was poorly written, and I struggled to work out who was who in any conversation. (This also applied to Natalie and Tom). The aim of the other characters, I feel from the author’s perspective was to show differing types of love. The love between Natalie’s parents when her mother is diagnosed with depression and her father has a stroke and their lives change again from what it used to be when they were just parents. Lucy and Patrick (Tom’s brother) have everything but Patrick seemingly operates on a provide and protect basis in their marriage and Lucy is looking for something else. Alec and Marianne (friends with Lucy and Patrick) have other concepts on how marriage should work and can work no matter what love does to you. There are more but to list them would just show you that there was little purpose to them.

The premise of finding activities beginning with a letter of the alphabet was a good one, but I felt at times that perhaps Noble was struggling to find something that suited the characters she had created. The job swap idea for ‘J’ was good but little was made of the job that Natalie was in, other than the fact that she needed to get a new one. Concentrating on that part of the characters development to me would have been better than focusing too much on Lucy and Patrick.

However, despite my misgivings I would say that this book was okay. Nothing that would stay with you for very long but easy enough to while away a couple of hours without much thinking and emotionally attachment to the characters. Chic-lit definitely but there is much better out there that defines the ‘genre’ than this book.

This is the fourth Elizabeth Noble book that I have read. I have just revisited my reviews on the other three. The Reading Group, Things I want my Daughters to Know and The Girl Next Door. Interestingly enough I have given all the books 3 stars on Amazon including the one I have just read. Reading back through my reviews I have obviously picked up on a theme of  them being just average types of books where there are a lot of characters and you have to sometimes go back to refresh who everyone is and who they all relate to.

I have not read all of Elizabeth Nobles books. I have not picked up The Tenko Club, which I believe by reading Amazon is being reissued under a different name (why do they do that?) The Friendship Test. There is also a new book out this year called When You Were Mine. But do I read these other two? Or do I perhaps just give them a miss because they are obviously not pleasing me?  I think perhaps if I happened upon The Tenko Club in a charity shop then I may be tempted, but I feel that I have gone as far as I am going to go with this author.