Saturday, 3 June 2017

Book Review - Hampstead Fever by Carol Cooper - Chances Fortnight

Carol Cooper was a completely unknown to me author until she contacted me about her book, and having then met her a month or so ago, I realised it was about time to take a chance and move the book from my review pile, to actually read it. 

Amazon UK
Title: Hampstead Fever
Author: Carol Cooper
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Hardwick Press
Publication Date: 30th June 2016
Rating: 3.5 Stars

In a London heatwave, emotions reach boiling point…

Ex-con Dan has it all. The perfect job and a new baby with his dream woman. So why is he still an outsider?

Laure had baby Jack late in life. It’s only natural she’s a little over-protective. Motherhood is terrifying.

After surviving serious illness, Sanjay’s got his life back. Now he wants adventure. Where does that leave girlfriend Harriet?

Karen’s love life is reduced to casual sex with the football coach. As a divorcee with four kids, romance is on her to-do list, just below the laundry.

Doctor Geoff’s relationship with actress Daisy is bound to be a bit dramatic. But why all the mystery?

A slice of contemporary multi-cultural London life to make you laugh, cry, and nod in recognition.

This is definitely a book with a snapshot of life in multi-cultural London. And like real life there were people in the book that I just didn't like at all, and others I put up with for the purpose of getting along with story. Unfortunately I didn't really connect to most of the characters, which made this hard for me to fully enjoy. 

It turns out I have some of the same questions that I had from reading the blurb, now after having finished the book. I know Dan is an ex-con but I would have loved to hear about this time in prison, and find out just what he has been jailed for.   

Speaking of Dan, I have absolutely no problem with a character wanting to better themselves by learning one new word a day..quite an admirable trait. However when I'm sitting reading the book on my commute, oddly passing by Hampstead, while underground, and thus don't have access to even my kindle's inbuilt 3G, let alone any wifi, having Dan learn plenty of words that I can't instantly look up, nor do I know the meaning of starts to get incredibly frustrating. Especially since he is never sure if he is using the word in the right context. Admittedly it may just be that I need to expand my vocabulary. 

Laure is a new mother to baby Jack, and Dan is the father. Laure spends most of her time at home with the baby, and as time progresses the worries that probably every new mother have become even more amplified. At times I wondered if she was even safe to leave in charge of a small child. She appears to have read every baby book going, and the slightest change in Jack's behaviour is instantly a worry, despite some of the time it could just be attributed to the child growing up a bit. 

Geoff is a local GP, suffers from a little talked about male problem, but thanks to assorted drugs is ready and just about able for any of the women he seems to attract! I really enjoyed though the workings of his GP practice, and the way he deals with his patients. I also loved Daisy's role in acting as various patients to train new doctors. I feel as though the author's obvious medical knowledge shone through and as a result really enjoyed any time Geoff was working. 

Equally I enjoyed the assorted magazine article ideas Jessica was coming up with, some great ideas and often amusing. Karen has four children, and one of them has great facts and figures that he quizzes the others on, which I found fascinating. I also enjoyed Karen's riddle and views on how women are perceived. 

There are many other characters, and they all interlink in various ways as the story progresses. Essentially its a book highlighting various people's lives in Hampstead, over a period of time.  Some elements felt a lot better than others to me.

Each chapter is either from one character's perspective or split into various of the perspectives, which enables the reader to slowly over the course of the book really get to know some of them really well. I found some seemed to feature a lot more than others, which looking back 

What did have me laughing in recognition near the start, was a mention of a children's entertainer, I swear as a kid growing up in North West London myself, there was a children's entertainer doing the rounds of everyone's parties with just 1 letter difference of name. No idea if this was intentional, how reliable my memories are, but it did bring back memories of many children's parties I went to between the ages of perhaps 3-7. 

As someone relatively local to the location of the book, there were other moments of recognition and that did add to my liking of the book. 

Thank you so much to Carol Cooper for this copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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