Published by Harper Collins
Publication date – 10 August 2017
Source – review copy
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good job, four bossy sisters and a needy cat must also have want of her one true love. Or is it?
Another delightful novel from the author of The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts. Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond and Jenny Colgan
Verity Love Jane Austen fangirl and an introvert in a world of extroverts is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and her fictional boyfriend Peter is very useful for getting her out of unwanted social events. But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.
Johnny could also use a fictional girlfriend. Against Verity’s better judgement, he persuades her to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, with just one promise – not to fall in love with each other.
Since a bad break up Verity Love has sworn off men. Well real men. She has invented an imaginary boyfriend to keep her family and friends at bay. Luckily this boyfriend has an imaginary job that requires a lot of travel. But one day circumstances throw her in the path of Johnny True, and a couple of stalking friends mean that Johnny and Verity are now a fake couple. The pair vow to ‘date’ for the wedding season and then go their separate ways. They will defintely, positively, not fall in love on the way.
This novel was a sequel, though I didn’t realise that when I started to read it. The fact that I hadn’t read the first novel didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this one.
This book is a little comedy of errors. Verity and Johnny are thrown together unexpectedly. What results is a gentle paced, sweet story of how two people fight falling in love. Verity is shy, introverted to some extent, and constantly asks herself ‘What would Elizabeth Bennet do?’ but this is in part a reaction to her over the top, exhuberant and funny family. She’s invented a boyfriend to stave off their questions. Then comes unstuck when they mistake Johnny for him. Johnny has his own reasons for finding an advantage to having a fake girlfriend as he has difficulty leaving a past love behind. Both characters are lovely to read, as are the host of others that fill the bookshop, from Verity’s sister Merry, her dotty dad Vicar and her mum Our Vicar’s Wife and the rest of her madcap family.
There are other love stories going on, including a glimpse of the happy ever after of Verity’s friend and boss Posy. The story featuring William, Johnny’s father, is also lovely to read.
There’s also always something delightful about books set in bookshops. I don’t know whether it’s just because they appeal to the bibliophile in me or because they are are celebrating books in multiple ways but there is a little bit of extra magic about when books are about books. Of course I wanted to visit the bookshop, it sounded so inviting it would have been almost impossible to not want to visit.
A lovely, book filled, love filled novel. I’ll be interested to read more by Annie Darling in the future.
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