Monday 28 March 2011

Monday Musings - Review of From Notting Hill With Love... Actually by Ali McNamara

Scarlett - named after the heroine of Gone With The Wind - loves movies. Her sensible fiance David, her father and her best friend all think she's obsessed with them and needs to snap out of it. You can't live your life like a movie, after all. Or can you? Given the chance to house sit in Notting Hill for a month, she jumps at it, hoping to prove to them all that you can! But then she meets the irritating but oh-so-delicious Sean, and falls into that movie staple, a love triangle...

I have to be honest, I nearly put this down after 50 pages or so as I couldn't grow to like Scarlett much and the plot felt rather too contrived for my liking. However, I carried on, and long before the halfway point I was really enjoying it. Yes, the situations are contrived to fit as many movie references in as possible - sometimes deliberately by Scarlett, sometimes coincidentally - but the main character develops well during the course of the book, Sean is incredibly dreamy, and boring David is an easy guy to take a dislike to and root against.

There are a lot of laugh out loud moments - a Star Wars themed wedding, a trip around Disneyland Paris, and a fight between the two male leads. There's also tons of opportunities to play 'spot the movies' that McNamara is paying homage to at various points and for a film fanatic like me that definitely added to my enjoyment of the book - as did a nice set of extras, with trivia about Scarlett's favourite films and a tour of Notting Hill.

Even though this is aimed at adults there's nothing here that I'd be unhappy to recommend to my normal YA target audience on the blog and it will go down a treat with older teenage girls as well as their mothers, I'd say. To be fair it's hard to recommend this to a non-chick flick fan simply because so many of the references would fly over their heads, but if you like films like Sleepless In Seattle, Four Weddings and A Funeral, and the two mentioned in the title I think you'd really enjoy this one.

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