Thursday, 8 January 2015

Review: Shop Gossip by Kathryn Player

When the charity shop is in danger of closing down, the ambitious Ruth (the shop supervisor) will do anything to keep it open. One cake sale later and a disastrous encounter with a Health and Safety officer, Ruth lands herself in hot water with Head Office. Meanwhile, Molly (a volunteer) has a stab at internet dating and Nadia (her sister) has a huge crush on the shop manager. But does Alex feel the same? What happens when a forty seven year old married woman has another try at love?

Nadia follows Alex when he goes on a date and she narrowly avoids being arrested. She realises that she needs to leave Alex alone so, therefore, she decides to focus on her ambition to be a successful beautician. She is determined to make it work and doesn’t miss an opportunity to give her beauty products away. However, the dream receives a cruel blow from the bank and just when things couldn’t get any worse, Nadia finds out her husband has been having an affair.

Nadia starts to question things. Is she really cut out to be a beautician? And is she too old to find someone new? Sometimes it’s easier to go crawling back to the husband of twenty years, rather than try life on your own without an income. Does Nadia want to take the risk? Is love really worth it?

Review: this book has so much great potential, some really fun characters, a good storyline and some great ideas but it just didn't really do it for me. This was a lovely quick read and definitely something to pick up if you're looking for something to read on your commute or squeeze into a shorter amount of time as it's a cute little novella. 

The characters in the novels and ladies who all work in a charity shop, we meet them all a little later in life than your average rom com heroine would normally be and of course there are men on the scene too! One of the things I really liked about the relationship between the characters was that they didn't necessarily all get along, also two of them are sisters which brings a new dynamic to the story. None of the characters are really well-developed enough for my liking though, they had so much potential and I think that if this had been a longer book, there would've been more scope for them to flourish and fly a little further. 

The storyline just felt a bit the same way to me. Kathryn player is a very funny writer and her first novel is testament to that, there were some really funny moments in the novella but again, some of them could've been developed into so much more, making it seem a little rushed. The ending also felt a little rushed too, almost as if it is open to further development or that we are going to visit these ladies again some time in the future. I think perhaps one of the issues I had was that it was written in the present tense I so I found it a little difficult to follow because of that. 

The story is heartwarming and definitely challenges the perception that life is over after fifty! It also shows that working in a charity shop comes with the same pressures as any other job and that scandals and affairs can happen in any workplace. 

I enjoyed elements of this novella and am definitely glad I read it the whole way through but it just needed a little more development for my taste and I think it would really benefit from being developed into a full-length novel where Player's witty way with words would have it's chance to really shine through! 

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