Sunday, 24 May 2015

Book Review - No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham

Amazon UK

Title: No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham
Author: Brigid Coady
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 28th May 2015
Rating: 4 Stars

What the Dickens is going on?

Edie Dickens is a shark of a divorce lawyer. She doesn’t believe in love and she scoffs at happily ever afters, however she’s agreed to be maid of honour for her oldest friend, Mel in two weeks and she still has the hen night to endure. But she has even more to endure when she’s visited by Jessica Marley’s ghost and finds out she must change her ways or end up being damned to an eternity watching other people’s happiness. Edie is visited by the Ghosts of Weddings Past, Present and Future, every Friday night until the day of the wedding. Can she learn from her mistakes in time? And did the ghosts send the hunky new lawyer, Jack Twist, to distract her?

Have you ever read or watched any of the many versions of A Christmas Carol? If so then you will find the basic plot of this book very familiar, however this has nothing to do with Christmas. This is to do with a girl called Edie Dickens, who is a divorce lawyer and is very cynical and hates wedding and doesn't believe in love. In this story instead of finding out the true meaning of Christmas, we see if Edie can learn how to let people in, and can she rid herself of the bad reputation as a "cold hearted bitch" to become a more rounded human being. 

Between the blurb and the first sentence, I realised that this was going to be a very clever book. There are plenty of similarities to the Charles Dickens classic, but there is also a fresh new voice. The ghosts are spaced out, one a week over a fortnight, in the lead up to Edie being the maid of honour at her best (and only) friends wedding. 

There are amusing name checks back to the original, including a modern current "tiny Tim". During the visits of Edie's ghosts, you get to learn a lot about the background of her character, as well as other people's perceptions of Edie. 

It is in the time between the hauntings that this book really shows what it's about. After each ghost Edie is determined to change her ways, and there is the gorgeous ex-professional rugby player Jack Twist who keeps showing up to challenge her too. 

Edie is initially a hard character to like, in fact she is hard and has more sharp edges than a knife. However as you learnt what is at the root of how she behaves, I found myself having a real sympathy towards her.  As she tries to set things right with her life, she goes about things in the wrong way which is very amusing. 

Watch out for the scene involving a fundraising attempt, it has everything, fear, tenderness and is probably one of my favourite scenes in the book. Oh and the hen party is great fun too!

Even though if you know of the story this is a homage to (and I suspect there are more Charles Dickens references in there than the ones I got), you have a vague idea what the ending will be, this story feels like an old friend, and the journey of reading it is very enjoyable. 

Brigid Coady is not a writer I had come across before, but is definitely someone who I will be keeping an eye out for in the future. Overall No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham is a fun and entertaining read that will seem familiar to some readers, but regardless is worth reading. 

Thank you to Harper Impulse and Netgalley for my review copy of this book. 

No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham is out on Thursday. 

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