Published: 9th April 2015
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she’s been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother. Things aren’t going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras. When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady. The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda’s guides still work. It’s going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off…
Thank you to Pan Macmillan for kindly sending me a review copy.
The opening of this book is absolutely brilliant. Jess, our main character, is trying to get “Jimothy” to leave her flat after a one night stand and he’s nothing short of hilarious. Jess has a wonderful personality – feisty, quick witted and an utter mess but that doesn’t stop her from loving life. Jess and Summer work and live together – taking their cat to photoshoots, attending events and making their joint blog the best it can possibly be.
“I don’t get it, but we wrote about it on the blog last week and apparently it’s really on trend.”
Jess lost her Mum while she was in her first year of University and that allowed me to sympathise with her as my Nan passed away at the same time. I really liked the element of Summer being there for Jess, picking her up when she’s down, making sure she eats and remembering the good times. What I found to be unique were the old diary entries from Rose (Jess’s Mum) as they gave a touch of connection, love and it was also nice to read about her journey into becoming pregnant with Jess.
“Shit. Did I just shout ‘knob-prince’ at a booker-prize winner’s book launch?”
When the friendship between Jess and Summer shuts down, she goes on the search for her grandma – Matilda Beam who just happens to be struggling with her republished books – cue Jess and her super duper writing skills. This particular scene reminded me a lot of when Cameron Diaz seeks out her grandma in the film In Her Shoes. As Jess worms her way into Matilda’s life, their relationship doesn’t get off to the best of starts – what with the jumping, shrieking cat and the room full of dolls which made me shudder!
“Is – is she sending me to bed? Now? It’s not even nine o’clock.”
When Matilda and her publisher come up with an idea with revamp The Vintage Guides, the narrative quickly becomes more indulgent and gripping (not that it wasn’t already!). Jess doesn’t think much of this plan and I’m not surprised – she has to write and make an attractive man fall for her. Oh the effort.. While Jess and her grandma spend more and more time together, there seems to be the hushed topic of Rose – mother to Jess, daughter to Matilda. What actually happened?
“Don’t be such a loser. It’ll be like Rapunzel. Or the end of Pretty Woman.”
Kirsty’s writing is just incredible. It’s full of wit, humour and mega LOL moments. In between Easter puppy walks, I was glued to this book and I will highly recommend it to pretty much anyone. The end of the plot is a rollercoaster which I just loved. I can’t wait for the next Jess book because she’s a corker of a character!