When I was a teenager, one of my dearest friends was a big fan of Georgette Heyer. I read a couple of them, and enjoyed them, but for me they lacked something. Dragons, mainly.
What I’m trying to say here is that I think everybody has a “comfort read” – a genre they reach for when times are tough, and they want to escape. For me, it’s fantasy. What can I say? If I’m going to escape, I want to make it into another reality.
So, I wouldn’t normally have picked this up, but…I’ve kind of got hooked on The Pigeonhole. which is an on-line book club. It’s fab. Don’t tell anyone about it. I have to say, most of the books I’ve read through them have been quite dark psychological thrillers – again, not my usual escape, but I’ve had a great time reading them. And then this came along.
I had a ball.
I mean it. It was great fun. And part way through, I realised that it reminded me of Jane Austen. Fixie is a Fanny Price who grows up and gets real. The bad guy would look good in a red coat, playing billiards with Wickham and chatting up heiresses. The supporting cast are just a shade odder (and funnier) than real life. The plot centres on romance (of course) and…money (as did Auntie Jane’s, when you think about it).
And Sophie Kinsella makes it look effortless. In my experience, melodrama is much easier than humour, like a chocolate fudge cake is easier than a souffle. She really knows what she’s doing.
Next time, she could maybe add some dragons?