(un)like a Virgin – Lucy-Anne Holmes

I confess to picking this book up and thinking I was going to get your average chick-lit but I was mistaken, actually what I got was a book which gripped me, made me laugh, made me cry and made me think all in the space of day whilst I read it.

Grace Flowers has a plan, in fact she has a Five Year Plan, and it was all going swimmingly the final thing was to get the big promotion at work and she achieved everything. Psyching herself as to how she would deal with this new-found superiority, Grace is fallen as the big promotion goes to someone else. To add insult to this, her boyfriend dumps her, her mother seems to be spending money with no thought for the future and Grace is still grieving for her father. Her father is the constant in her life even though he is dead, he made dreams come true for her, and made her see life through words and music but more importantly song. All this comes back to her throughout the course of the book.  Grace realises that perhaps having such a structured plan is not the best way to succeed in life and perhaps following your heart and your voice are much better.

The character of Gracie, got me from the start she was to the point of manic, the sort of friend you could never keep up with, everything always happening to her and not you. I loved the little quips to herself, her friend Wendy (another great character), the ‘posh’ bloke who got the job she had planned to have even to her father, who could not answer back. What Lucy-Anne Holmes has done is bring so much warmth and pathos to the character that when the unexpected turns to joy for the future and then is cruelly taken away, I shed more than one tear.

I thought I knew what was going to happen, having read plenty of this type of fiction in the past. To Grace it was so obvious the path she was going to go down, to get to the happy ending that a reader gets from reading such books. How wrong I was. There was twists and turns along the way and just when I thought I had sussed it, the path changed yet again. It goes to show that you can never trust a well known formula.

A great book which goes above and beyond the cover which does not do it justice. This was sophisticated ‘chick-lit’. A must read.

I really surprised myself with this book, and spent a very nice Friday night and all day Saturday reading it. If this is the standard of novel that Lucy-Anne Holmes creates then I am off to read her previous two novels and look out for the fourth. 

It was interesting about the character of Grace having a plan. I have always thought that perhaps is what I lack. The plan was always to go to university and get a degree which I did. Then I kind of floundered around until I seem to have now settled into a job which is okay. Ask me another day and I would say a lot different both positive and negative. 

Should I plan anything else? Or perhaps I have learnt through illness that it is important to embrace life and enjoy the things you like doing. This is not a rehearsal this is it! 

Actually I do plan things, but on a much smaller scale as I find it gives me structure but also a sense of achievement when it is done. I recommend it to anyone.