Mar 6, 2012

Review: The Look of Love by Judy Astley

  • Paperback: 384 pages 
  • Publisher: Black Swan (5 January 2012)
  • Source: copy from the publisher
  • My rating: 3/5
  • Summary: Bella has given up on men. Happily divorced for ages, her latest boyfriend just omitted to tell her about his wife, so she’s back on her own again. She agrees to house-sit for friends who have rented the place out to a television company for a makeover programme. Against her better judgment Bella finds herself taking part in the programme, and learns a little bit too much about the behind-the-scenes truth of ‘reality’ TV. And as if that weren’t bad enough, her ex-husband has re-entered her life and seems to want to be on friendlier terms…

In the early stages of this book I feared this was not going to work out for me. With the somewhat slow beginning and thin story that didn't really grab me, I really thought I'd trail off and pick up something else. Eventually it grew on me, mostly because of the characters. Each one of them is interesting, colorful and well-developed. Bella is a completely normal, down-to-earth woman, someone every one of us may know.  I laughed out loud many times, and usually that's a good indicator of "it was a good book" for me. I'm not a big fan of make-over kind of shows and luckily it was not heavily featured in The Look of Love. Besides, it's a different concept of show, and those were probably the funniest parts of the book.  

Anyway, it was quite predictable and unchallenging. You know with whom Bella is going to end up with the moment he enters the stage, that the house issues will pan out, that the whole thing with Molly and her boyfriend isn't all that dramatic. The bumps that Bella encounters don't really present an obstacle or they are too easily resolved, all for the sake of the happy ending. The relationship issues between Bella's daughter Molly and Giles....I didn't know what that was for. In the course of the novel, it really didn't bring out a point. As for the relationship of Bella's mother-that did make a point. Older people have sex. Accept it.

It was a nice read, but I wish the author pushed it a bit further. What if the house was really sold? I believe Bella would have found her way to deal with it. With a cup of tea, of course.
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