20/11/2008

Wishful Thinking (by Melissa Hill)

I hadn't come across Melissa Hill before now. However, this was one of the review books available at The Bookbag site, and the blurb at Amazon made it look interesting.

'Wishful Thinking' opens with a prologue: a young woman is hurrying to the commuter train to get to work one morning. She observes a few of the other travellers... and then suddenly, something shocking happens.

The book moves back four months, and introduces us to three women. I found it hard to remember who was whom, since I'm not very good with names and the viewpoint kept switching between them. However, there's a handy summary on the back of the book which I referred to frequently.

Rosie is a widowed mother of two young adults, who have turned out to be manipulative and selfish. Rosie gives in to them both far too easily, but as a mother myself, I could somewhat understand why she did so.

Dara was was recently married to Mark. Unfortunately, she still hankers after Noah, a previous
boyfriend. Noah married someone else, but then unexpectedly returns into Dara's life, and she spends a lot of time wondering what she should do. I felt a bit frustrated with her, since Mark was so obviously perfect for her.

Then there's Louise, who is really annoying. She has recovered from an accident, found a job, made some new friends, and lost quite a bit of weight. But she has no idea how to handle money, and keeps getting herself increasingly deeper into debt. She won't refuse her friends anything, and although she's worried about her debts, she carries on spending yet more.

The book is a series of subplots involving these three women, whose lives seem to spiral nearer and nearer to disaster. It was a clever idea to use the prologue, since it raised the tension and meant that when it eventually happened it felt like an integral part of the novel.

I found 'Wishful Thinking' both enjoyable and frustrating. I didn't feel I got to know any of the e women fully, since their viewpoints alternated throughout the book. Yet I did start to care about them. I wanted to give them all a good talking-to; they got under my skin sufficiently that I was
annoyed by their extreme weaknesses, and pleased when things worked out satisfactorily, on the whole, in the end.

I was pleased that the author didn't fall into the trap of describing either shopping or bedroom scenes in detail, nor did she use much bad language. I also liked the way she tidied up most of the loose ends in the final chapters. It's somewhat more thought-provoking than typical light women's fiction, and although it's undoubtedly light, and wouldn't appeal to most men, I found myself enjoying it more and more as I read it.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 20th November 2008. My longer review of Wishful Thinking is here at The Bookbag

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