Saturday, May 19, 2012

May Chick Lit Challenge Read: One Day in May

One Day in May by Catherine Alliott may be one of my favourite chick lit reads of the year so far! I decided to read it for this month's Chick Lit Plus Challenge read because it's May and since the book has "May" in the title I found it fitting. It's been sitting on my shelf for awhile but I'm glad I finally got around to reading it because I really enjoyed it!

Here's the synopsis:
One fine day in May, Hattie's life changes for ever... Single mother Hattie has plenty of reasons to be happy. Her antiques business is flourishing, her teenage son is settled at boarding school and she’s enjoying a fling with a younger, very sexy man. But when her job takes her back to the idyllic village of Little Crandon, painful memories of her first love - Dominic Forbes, the married politician she worked for years ago, the man who changed the course of her life – come flooding back... Things come to a head when Hattie bumps into Dominic’s widow and his gorgeous younger brother, Hal, in the village and she finds her world turned upside down. Will Hattie come clean about what really happened with Dominic all those years ago? And, if she does, is she ready to face the consequences? Whatever happens, Hattie comes to realize that you can’t keep running from your mistakes. It’s time to move on and maybe, just maybe, let herself fall in love again…
I'm a huge fan of British/Irish chick lit. I have some favourites - Matthews, O'Flanagan, Ahern - and I think Alliott may end up on this list as well. I read A Crowded Marriage ages ago and liked it. I recently reviewed Rural Affair over at Novel Escapes but unfortunately that one didn't do much for me (you can read the review here). I still wanted to give One Day in May a try (it was waiting patiently on my shelf, after all) and I found it to be Brit chick lit at it's finest. I'm not sure why I love these kinds of books so much. It could be because the setting and language is just a little bit different from what I know here in Canada. Some chick lit books are just so generic in their location so it's nice to be plopped in the English countryside and be able to take a quick jaunt over to France for a few scenes. It's something different than NYC or LA and I really appreciate that.

There was a lot going on in this novel but I never felt lost or that there was too much happening. There's a flashback portion at the beginning as we learn about how Hattie came to adopt Seffy and go into business with Maggie. And of course, we also learn the details of the very brief affair with Dominic. Everything was woven together well and even though my co-worker (who had borrowed my copy last month to read on vacay and loved it too) warned me that it started slow, I didn't find that to be the case.

There are many delightful characters in this novel. Hattie has a large but lovely family - son, parents, brother, sister, brother-in-law, two nieces, and a nephew. She also has Maggie, her slightly abrasive but well meaning BFF, long time friend Christian, and boy toy Ivan. It is so clear that Hattie cares deeply for everyone in her life and they, in turn, care for her. The family dynamic is so great in this novel and is one of my favourite parts of the book.

I'm usually able to figure out the end result of most chick lit novels but One Day in May totally threw me for a loop. There were a couple of things that I did NOT see coming at all and I loved that. And that's all you'll get out of me on that. No spoilers here! :)

I always know a book is really good when I HAVE to pass along the book to my mom as soon as I'm finished. Catherine Alliot's One Day in May is one of those books and it will be heading home with me for the long weekend. It was a fun, sweet, and moving story and I definitely recommend it to all chick lit lovers!

Happy reading :)

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