Starting to drive to work has meant that I’ve lost out on a whole bunch of reading time, which I think I’ve mentioned before, but I’ve started to counteract this by diving into the world of audiobooks. I signed up for Audible a few weeks ago, and this was what I chose to select as my free trial book. Knowing that Kinsella books are always a winner for me, and not so in-depth that I would struggle to keep up, or pay too much attention and stop concentrating on the road, I thought this was the perfect way to begin my audiobook adventure. And I was kind of right.
Cat Brenner is living the dream – she has a flat in London, a job in creative branding, and her Instagram feed is full of all the amazing things London has to offer: delicious food and beautiful sights and lots of fun.
Ok, so the crappy truth is that she rents a tiny room in Catford with no space for a wardrobe, spends most of her days engaged in tedious admin on the other side of the city, and posts photos of food she could never ever afford to eat. But it’s all just about worth it.
Until her bright and shiny life comes crashing down: her demanding boss Demeter gives her sack, and with no means to live in London any more, Cat has to move home to Somerset. Now she’s plain old Katie Brenner again, helping out her dad and her stepmum as they attempt to launch a glamping business on their farm. (They think she’s on sabbatical from her job, and she can’t quite bear to tell them the truth…)
With Katie’s creative branding experience, the glamping is soon a big success. So much so that Demeter and her family book in on holiday – and Katie sees her chance to get revenge on the woman who ruined her dream. So long as Demeter doesn’t see beyond her disguise and give the game away to her parents, of course.
It’s time to see who’s the boss…
So this blurb isn’t the best one I’ve ever read, to be honest. Firstly, when I took it from GoodReads, it referred to the main character as Caz, when she’s actually called Cat (or she tries to be called Cat anyways…). As far as plot goes, this is a solid Kinsella offering. Always full of relatable, far less than perfect heroines, some bad judgement, a dreamy guy or two, and situtations which are so unbelievable that htey just couldn’t happen in real life, yet still seem totally plausible (and also hilarious) when caught up in the moment of the book, this was actually one of Kinsella’s better recent offerings, I thought. No fan of the ghost aspect of Twenties Girl, and lukewarm about the ‘I suddenly became a bitch but can’t remember how’ aspect of Remember Me?, this is more like my absolute favourite Kinsella The Undomestic Goddess, or her other madcap offerings like Wedding Night and I’ve Got Your Number – funny, relatable, somewhat ridiculous, but terribly heart-warming, and with a feeling at the end like you’ve just eaten a bar of chocolate, but not so much of it that you feel like a glutton.
There was one thing in this book which hugely irritated me, though. Somerset girl Katie-Cat referred to her fringe as her bangs throughout. I’ve lived in England for 13 years now, and have never yet heard someone use that word for hair, unless they were asking what it meant. And, surprisingly, it came up a LOT. I mean, far more than I would have expected the book to be talking about fringes.
But other that that, this was a really solid, enjoyable, humorous, warm novel from Kinsella which shone with her usual wit and true-to-life, flawed, yet loveable characters. Over-the-top? Yes, sometimes, but never in a way that felt like it was anything less than the fun I expected from this book.
*A note regarding audiobooks: I’m not really sure I’m cut out for audiobook listening. My issue, you see, is that I’m too impatient. The fact that you can listen to audiobooks at 1.5 or 1.7 speed, which makes it faster, a little chirpier, but not unintelligible or chipmunked, is a godsend for me. If it weren’t for that, I think I’d have screamed my way out of the car ages ago, in frustration at how slowly the narrator speaks. I think it’s probably something to do with the fact that I read very quickly, both in my head and aloud, so listening to someone who’s reading for effect, with good diction and enunciation of every word, plus pauses for effect, infuriates me. Thankfully, the ability to listen at speed largely eliminates this frustration for me. If I meet a book that chipmunks at 1.5x speed, I’m afraid it’ll be a DNF for me, but we will see.