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AnneBrooke

Anne Brooke: fiction writer

Contemporary gay romance and fantasy writer. Also loves flowers and bakes the occasional cake. Sometimes they're edible ...

Nice plot, shame about the menfolk

Monday to Friday Man - Alice Peterson

This is a pretty decent example of comic romance though it does take a while to warm up. The female characters are far stronger than the male ones who aren't terribly interesting, sadly. Personally I would have preferred less airtime for Jack and Guy, and a greater focus on Gilly's friends and her marvellous boss - I think that would have made for a far more gripping read.

That said, aspects I very much enjoyed and which were very well written were Gilly's relationship with her twin brother and his irritating wife, and also her relationship with her life-limited sister. Really, the sister story is a tour de force of writing, and it made me cry on several occasions - and I don't even like families or children, so you can see just how powerful it was!

One plot line I found irritating or nonsensical, however, was the "deep, dark secret weekend life" Jack keeps from everyone, and which - in the Big Reveal - is supposed to make us like him even less. Um, I'm sorry? The kind of secrets he's keeping are actually rather sweet and he should definitely be congratulated for his compassion and sense of duty. I have no idea why Gilly and Guy think Jack is so dreadful for what he's done here. He most certainly is not - and I began to lose a great deal of interest in Gilly and Guy, and certainly in their opinions, at that point.

I also groaned very deeply indeed when Gilly's confusion about her lack of career is miraculously solved by her instantly becoming a best-selling writer - honestly, this was a cliche when it first arrived as a plot solver in the 1980s, and I wish writers would stop it! It's dull, unrealistic and a serious cop-out of the storyline. Besides of which, if writers wereactually being realistic about the writing life, then Gilly would need to endure ten years of serial rejections, several nervous breakdowns, one or two scam publishing deals, at least one sweet-talking but ultimately useless agent, an incident involving foreign lawyers and a nasty email campaign, poor reviews (amongst some good ones), the silence of her family and the embarrassed sympathy of her friends. Put that in your pipe, Gilly, and smoke it is what I say. Harrumph already! So, writers: please get over yourselves and stop writing about writing. For the sake of all our sanities. You've got an imagination - venture outside your own heads once in a while and stop being so damn lazy.

Verdict: some good writing, but a tendency to laziness. 3 stars.