Part 1 Published: 14th July 2014
Part 2 Published: 21st July 2014
Part 3 Published: 28th July 2014
Part 4 Published: 4th August 2014
Publisher: Little Brown
Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they’re single, they’re not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren’t filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine – she likes her independent life, she loves her job, and she has no desire to walk down the aisle anytime soon. But Laurie wants love and she wants it now.
So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. You Had Me at Merlot Holidays promises crisp sunshine, fun and a chance to stir up some sizzling romance. Elle has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else’s idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?
Thank you to Clara at Little Brown for kindly asking me to review and to kick off Lisa’s blog tour in style. Please note that the above blurb is for Part 1 only as the others kind of reveal what has happened in each previous part. I’ve decided to review each part separately with NO spoilers.
Elle introduces us to her happily single life where she doesn’t have to fight over what’s on the TV. Her best friend Laurie is desperate to settle down. The relaxed yet funny friendship between the two was brilliant and as the reader, you don’t feel like a third wheel or a gooseberry. You immediately feel like you’ve known both women for years. What I enjoy the most about Lisa’s writing is that she takes a little slice of her own life and magically works it into the narrative. For example: her love for Beyonce, Devon and cream teas. When readers meet Elle’s parents, I couldn’t help but immediately feel at home. Part 1 allows the reader to become really settled into You Had Me At Merlot and before we know it, the opening is over and we’re left with a surprising yet funny ending.
“Mayor, mayor, blondie hair…” << I should point out that that line isn’t the ending, just a favourite of mine!
Jamie, the gorgeous hunk of the book is sheer perfection. Lisa doesn’t give us much of a description of what he looks like and I loved that. By using beautiful sceneric words and creating a spark between Jamie and Elle, readers can’t help but love their friendship. Lisa allows us to believe that we’re in Italy, in the vineyard, getting “sloshed” on wine and munching on heavenly food. Despite all the love and happiness that was poured into the book, Lisa managed to write the world’s most annoying character, George. Oh my giddy ants. He was beyond annoying. If he said “baby” to Elle one more time, the book was going out of the window. A bit over dramatic but when you read the book, you’ll understand or maybe not… It’s very hard not to love Elle because she’s being true to herself and I absolutely loved her as a main character. She was an absolute delight to read about.
I found myself becoming very addicted to You Had Me At Merlot and I found myself to be desperate to read more. The spark between Jamie and Elle came across as very realistic and in all honesty, I believe that this could be made into a superb film. David Yates, give Lisa a call. Lisa’s witty writing was perfect for the book. In real life, she’s cracking jokes all the time and I’m always laughing at whatever comes out of her mouth next. I found that the narrative was funny, but not overly funny. The hilarious one liners were in the perfect places and when the time was right, I found myself chuckling at whatever had been said. Part 3 ends on a real “what the anti-pasti just happened?” moment.
Lisa writes the final part with a lot of wisdom. There are quite a few sentences which allows readers to step back from the humour for a minute and really think about their own love lives. Friendships are cemented even deeper through serious discussions in the kitchen and before I knew it, I was on the last ten pages. Lisa has the ability to make a lot happen in a short amount of time and I really like books which are like that. It was an incredibly addictive read.
Overall, this is my perfect read of 2014. I would happily read it over and over again. It was witty in the right places, filled with love, beautiful descriptions and sentimental wise words. Lisa, I’m terribly sorry for bombarding you with a gazillion text messages whilst I was reading but you know, I’m not all that sorry… PIVOT!
Before you disappear, make sure you check out the other blog tour stops.