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Two Katie Fforde books

I'm not reading that much at the moment. Being busy is partly to blame but where the rest of the blame lies is hard to say. I think it's possible to read yourself to a standstill and that you then need to give yourself a break and slow down. Do something else. Some people call it a 'reading block' and perhaps that's so. It's not that I'm not reading, I'm just not reading at my normal speed. But's here's the thing, what I am reading I'm thoroughly enjoying and loving and that is - books by Katie Fforde.

I would say this author is my 'guilty pleasure', except for the fact that I dislike the term. Why feel guilty about what you love to read? It smacks of book snobbishness and that's something I abhor. It's a bit of a feature, in fact, of one of the two books I've read by Katie Fforde this month: Love Letters.




Laura works in a bookshop. She has a degree and maybe should be doing something a bit more challenging but she adores her job and wouldn't change it for anything. Except that she will have to as the shop is closing. Good at organising literary events in the shop, Laura lands herself a temporary job organising a brand new literary festival. It's to take place in and around a stately home and the surrounding village; the couple who own the house are running the event. Laura inadvertantly leads people to believe that she knows the famous Irish writer, Dermot Flynn. She sets people straight, she knows his two books well, but not him. But people ignore this and send her off to Ireland to try to persuade the reclusive author, who never leaves Ireland, to come to their festival. When she eventually tracks him down Laura's nerves lead her to drink too much and she ends up in bed with the author, although the situation is much more complicated than that would indicate. One way or another Laura persuades the author to come to the festival but Laura is soon to discover that persuading Dermot to come is actually the easy part...

I wonder how much of her own experiences the author put into this book. By that I'm not referring to the romantic elements but all of the wonderful background settings. She must have had experience of literary festivals, how they're run, the authors who attend. There are two wonderful middle-aged chick-lit writers among the characters and they're just joyous. It struck me she must know what she's talking about when she observes these authors mingling with each other and records the snide remarks. There are comments on book snobbery... how literary authors look down on chick-lit writers because they actually 'sell' books. Anne and Veronica, the chick-lit authors, turn up in a Porshe, which says it all really. Plotwise the book was huge fun. A great deal of misunderstanding between Laura and Dermot made for all kinds of twists and turns and sometimes you just think, 'Why don't they just 'talk' to each other?' But heck... that wouldn't be any fun at all, would it? LOL. What else? Not much else to say other than the final chapters of this book were some of the funniest I've read anywhere. I giggled and giggled at Laura's rather staid parents' reaction to what happened... hilariously written, pure pleasure to read.

So, I enjoyed that one, but before it I'd actually read another, Living Dangerously, the very first book Katie Fforde wrote and if anything, I enjoyed that even more.



Polly Cameron is in her mid-thirties and living alone with her cat. She's trying to become established as a potter but is having to work in a wholefood cafe in order to pay the bills and eat. Her experiences with the opposite sex have led her to believe that the whole romance/sex thing is incredibly over-rated and it's not for her. Not that her mother and friends accept this and it's at a party given by an old school friend, Melissa, that Polly meets David. He's middle-aged, tall and very good looking but this is countered by the fact that he's a bit stuck-up quite frankly and Polly is not at all taken. David has two teenage sons, one of whom, Patrick, Polly helps out when he's clearly drunk and under the influence of drugs. This brings her further into contact with David and Polly can feel an attraction growing. A distraction is needed and Polly finds it with a predatory journalist. It's on an evening out at a pub with a bad reputation, with said journalist, that Polly once again encounters Patrick, once again under the influence. Coming to his rescue she drives the boy home but the car breaks down and they have to walk the rest of the way home. Drenched to the skin, David is there to greet them and clear up the mess: what happens as a consequence is life-changing for Polly.

Oh! this has to be my favourite of Katie Fforde's books. Not an unusual reaction from what I can gather from reading other reviews. I suspect the attraction is the rather Pride and Prejudice bent to the plot. David being the clear Mr. Darcy figure, the journalist, Mr Wickham, and so on. I suppose David's son, Patrick, is the Lydia figure with a role reversal in that it's Polly who comes to his rescue - although that connection is slightly more tenuous. It doesn't matter, not to me anyway, the book is huge fun and I loved it to bits. So much that although I read it on my Kindle I ordered a hard-copy to keep on my bookshelves. The story is very romantic, funny, and best of all the characters feel real. All of Fforde's heroines are normal women with insecurities, imperfections, often a bit scatty, very far from perfect examples of womanhood. I love that they're usually a bit older than your average heroine and I particularly liked that the hero in this was middle-aged. She doesn't exactly say but David had to be 50 or close and that makes such a refreshing change. How Katie Fforde makes reading about normal people so addictive, I have no idea. Clever writing is the only answer I can come up with. Long may she continue to come up with the goods but I'm okay as there are quite a few of hers I've yet to read and, in fact, picked up Summer of Love at the library the other day.

Comments

Yes, I've been going through a slow phase with books, partly seduced away by the Kindle and partly by fanfic! I confess that I now have two Kindles, the second one (Birthday/Christmas pressie from a generous hubbie - who couldn't quite believe I wanted another but got it for me anyway!)is a Kindle Touch which is lovely and quite a bit smaller than my early one so the new one lives in my handbag and the old one lives on my bedside table! I was interested to see how Amazon knew which to send things to but I just have a dropdown to choose between them when I order anything. I'm sure I'm not the only one with two. And I can download anything I have already bought to the new one, too.
I too love Katie's writing. She lives in Stroud which is about ten miles from her and which has a plethora of wholefood cafes, bookshops and literary and other festivals. She came and talked to our Writers Group a few years ago and was lovely, very approachable and just as you might imagine. She wrote for years, including having a go at Mills and Boon without success before she had her first book published and many of her stories are set recognisably in the Stroud area. And while she was waiting to be 'discovered' as it were, she worked in one of the (very nice) whole food cafes in Stroud so she knows her subject! I gather the one about a wedding organiser was written after her daughter got married, etc, etc!
I have all of her books, I think, (except perhaps the last one - yet!) and must dig out 'Living dangerously' again - time for a re-read! Or I could do the reverse from you and buy the Kindle version, lol!
Do you put fanfic on your Kindle, Rosie? I've been discussing this with nakeisha. Neither of us does, for varying reasons, mine being that one of my daughters wants to try out my Kindle sometime and I couldn't take the risk that she would find it.

Oddly enough I am being rather tempted at the moment to buy a second Kindle. In truth, not for any real reason other than the new ones look super. I did wonder how Amazon coped with someone having two and you've answered that question. I also didn't think you'd be able to redownload existing purchases but clearly you can? It also appeals to do what you've done and keep the old one at home and use the new as a more mobile reader... it being smaller. I shall have to think on this a bit more. I notice Tesco have them now and every time I'm in there my hand hovers. LOL.

I did wonder if KF had tried her hand at M&B. Interesting they didn't take her. Their loss entirely! I did think she must be using life experiences in her books. Living Dangerously in particular with all its literary, book detail. I loved it all. I have Summer of Love to read now, from the library. If I like it enough I'll probably buy that too.
Oddly enough I am being rather tempted at the moment to buy a second Kindle. In truth, not for any real reason other than the new ones look super.

This! They really are super - I rather covert J's *g*
Me too! I was in Tescos this morning drooling over them. They had a touch one and an ordinary one like J's and I came this close to coming home with one of them. I tried the touch one with my fingers and it didn't appear to leave marks and was very easy to use. I was surprised at that. Hmm. I can see it won't be all that long before I'm the proud owner of two Kindles. Got chatting with a woman my age who also had one and adores it. It's older people buying e.readers I fancy...
Ooh, you've seen how pretty and shiny and small and neat and pretty and shiny and pretty - did I mention pretty? - they are!

I admire your will-power for not coming home with one. I fancy you're right.
Yes, I have fanfic on my Kindle which makes me extremely careful about who I allow to see it! I have a lot on my old Kindle, more a few selected favourites on the new one. All are sorted into collections rather than being mixed up together. It's easy enough to take things off and re-load them later if you need to. I just drag .mobi files across from the laptop and keep the mobi files in a folder on my laptop marked 'for Kindle', so they're easy to find. There are various programs to convert documents or some resources, such as AO3, offer downloads in various formats, including mobi. So all of the two Big Bang series, for example, were uploaded there and increasing numbers of other classic fics are being added including much of HG's stuff which she has uploaded to AO3 recently, very easy. Or you can send documents via an Amazon link and they send it to your Kindle but I don't do that, so I control who sees my choice of fanfic.
I was very interested to see that on Amazon I have the option of sending purchases not only to my two Kindles but also to my Android phone or my laptop where I have downloaded the Kindle reading apps. And I was surprised to see, when I came to look at my new Kindle after I had registered it that it showed a large number of titles under Archives. When I looked, they were all the titles I had bought and downloaded to the original one and there didn't appear to be any restriction on downloading them again to the new one, I did download several.
I am impressed with the Kindle Touch, very easy to use, very small and light. My neighbour who is breastfeeding her baby is thinking of getting one to read at night as she finds she keeps dropping books and struggles to turn pages with a armful of baby! Just touching the screen to turn the page would be very easy and is is very light to hold. There are a few comments on one of the User Forums about them skipping several pages instead of one and that has happened to me once so far - will see whether that happens again. Sorting into Collections is not as easy and intuitive as with the old Kindle but only needs to be done once and they may find ways to improve that over time.
I am really interested to hear that you are tempted to get another! Incidentally the case I bought for my K Touch came as a bundle with a clip-on light and I do use that mostly with my old Kindle when I am reading in bed, it just gives a bit more oomph to the bedside lamp.
Your friend below who comments how easy it is to [Pg Dn] on her computer would find a Kindle Touch even easier. And when it is in a nice case, as mine always is, the feel of it in the hand is not so different to a book really and you do open and close it so that is much the same feeling!


Thanks for the info on fanfic on your Kindle. I tend to send Gutenberg docs. through to the Amazon address but as you said, I'm not sure I would do that with fanfic as I'm not at all sure whether the process is automatic or whether someone sees it.

nakeisha and I were both wondering whether the touch version gets covered in fingerprints. We couldn't see how this could be avoided. How do you find it?

I was also saying to her in the previous comment that I came very close to bringing a new one home this morning. Not sure what stopped me to be honest. Possibly the fact that I can't decide between the touch version and the traditional one. I do think it's purely a matter of time before I'm the proud owner of *two*. LOL.
I've been reading and re-reading books and online stories rather fast this past year (since I retired), and sometimes I get a little weary too, and want to take a break. I don't want to get an electronic book device, because the solidity of a three-dimensional book is somehow comforting when it's a purchase. I must admit that I like being able to do something else than hold the book with my hands, though, when I read online. Going to the next page is so easy, too, when I merely have to press the [Pg Dn] button.

The standard advice to authors is to "write what you know," so it stands to reason Katie Fforde has known the atmosphere (not to mention the characters) she writes so well. You mention "book snobbery," and it's certainly prevalent. In an article about romance novels, the author of the piece even made a distinction between romance types, obviously counting the Mills and Boon/Harlequin novels as the lowest example (although I still want my time back from reading a Barbara Cartland novel that was unbelievably dull and extremely implausible! That was one of the worst books I've ever read). The writer even noted condescendingly that women who read them "consider them literature."

Well, yes they are. Obviously not of a type that writer enjoys, but books of all types are literature, and who, might I add, is she to sneer at anyone's taste just because she doesn't share it? We all like what we like, and I'm at an age when I feel less and less like apologizing to (or even tolerating) the posturing of people who like to think themselves above others just because of the books they like to read! (In other words, if one has an eclectic taste, that can only be good!)
I have to admit, I have never regretted buying my Kindle. I don't use it all the time - far from it - but when I do the ease of using and speed you can work up reading is second to none. It is also a great space saver! Free books etc... the advantages are numerous.

Barbara Cartland, no... I read one once, many years ago and never again. Mills and Boon and Harlequin? I've read my fair share... loved some... others not so much. They have their place imo, the key word being *fun*. In so many of these articles about books, the writer doesn't know the meaning of the word and that's so sad. I find them tragic and Katie Fforde's opinions about this kind of snobbery, well put in Love Letters, echo mine exactly. Who *do* these people think they are? They want smacking quite frankly.