All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Sex, Lies & Fairytales – Kate Thompson

on August 26, 2010

I found this sitting in our local library. It’s one of the few Kate Thompson books I haven’t read but you can pretty much read her books in any order, or stand alone. I did know most of the characters though, from previous novels.

As with a lot of Thompson novels, the book focuses on three women. Cleo Dowling, who I met earlier in a previous novel, Living the Dream is running a bookshop in the Irish village of Kilrowan, married to painter Pablo MacBride now and loving life. Or so she thinks until Pablo, depressed about the paintings he has to do to make money, starts drinking a little too much and accepts a commission to paint a Dublin rich princess, a 21st birthday portrait paid for by daddy.

Pixie Pirelli is a ‘chick lit’ author who is tired of the constant merry-go-round of press – red carpets, chat shows, interviews, book signings, questionaires, she’s done them all. She just wants to find somewhere quiet so she can escape the pain of being publicly and humiliatingly dumped by her boyfriend and write her novel in peace. Kilrowan is pretty and perfect.

Hazel MacNamara is the PR girl in charge of jazzing up the Kilrowan Arts Festival this year. She has lots of big ideas to breathe some life back into it and is busy trying to drum up celebrities. (This is pretty much just an excuse to trot out a few favourites from Thompson’s past novels: Rory McDonagh, Deirdre O’Dare, David Lawless and literary diva Colleen are the ones that get a mention and make an appearance throughout this novel).

I liked this novel, but I like all of her books. It wasn’t my favourite by any means but it was enjoyable enough and it was nice to catch up with characters like Cleo and Pablo and find out how things went for them after the end of Living the Dream. The answer to that was basically – not well. They had some issues to sort out and I do like how in Thompson’s novels, nothing is every really happily ever after, the end. There might be a bit more drama than is the norm in most people’s lives, but each book shows characters from the previous ones working through issues and problems in their relationships.

As always the characters are engaging and warm and flawed, all in their own little ways. They’re women who are not necessarily looking for men (and in the case of one, actively avoiding them) and really, the men just play bit part roles. It’s more about the friendships the women form in the novels and how they support each other and keep in touch with each other. Pixie and Cleo go from acquaintances through close proximity to real friends as they both go through some hard times – Cleo and the disintegration of her marriage to Pablo and Pixie and her writers block and trying to find out who the blogger is that’s trying to destroy her career.

It was nice to see one of my fave couples, Rory and Deirdre, albeit only very briefly. They both arrived for the Kilrowan Arts Festival and played very little role in the story. It was especially nice to see them as they were happy and settled and removed from any of the drama of the novel.

I’d just like to say though, that I think the cover of this novel is terrible! Three women dancing and twirling on a beach? What were they thinking? It’s like every criticism for ‘chick lit’ rolled into one lame, vague, insipid picture. It’s not appealing and if I didn’t know the author, and already know the book, I probably wouldn’t have touched it with a 10 foot pole. I happen to like a lot of chick lit and I don’t really regard it with the disdain that a lot of readers/critics do. I don’t necessarily love all of it, and I tend to like the versions that focus more on the friendships between women, rather than the ones that focus on jobs/car/shoes/clothes/make up/etc. I don’t think it deserves a lot of the sneering criticism that it gets, and some very good books get lumped in with what is probably not a very flattering genre name. Covers like this though, do the genre no favours!

6/10

(Book #56 of my 75 Book Challenge)

This book counts towards my Irish Reading Challenge 2010 and bumps me up to the second level – Luck O’ The Irish! 4 Books read in 2010 either set in Ireland, by an Irish author, involving Irish history or Irish characters. That’s the level I’d hoped to achieve when I signed up and now that I still have 4 months left in the year, I may aim for Kiss the Blarney Stone Level – 6 books!


2 responses to “Sex, Lies & Fairytales – Kate Thompson

  1. Carrie K. says:

    You’re doing great on the challenge! I added your review to the challenge page. 🙂

  2. Thanks, I forgot to do that last night when I posted the review!

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