Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Review - How Do You Spell Love? by Zanna Mackenzie

I pick up the odd chick-lit book now and then. It’s nice to have a break from all that heavy and often depressing literary stuff – with a book in this genre you know what you’re getting. Girl meets boy, girl doesn’t like boy because boy is bad, actually he’s not bad after all, girl is falling for boy, girl pursues boy and girl gets boy. Books by Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella are particular favourites. The strength of these authors is their light humour, and unlike some other chick-lit books, they don’t try to be knowledgeable about love and heavy on the morals.

How Do You Spell Love? by Zanna Mackenzie, however, has but a light sprinkling of humour, so, you may ask, why did this book appeal to me? Well, firstly I’d draw attention to the fact that the novel has a real cosiness about it. The set-up is simple, the people likeable and we find ourselves returning to the same scenes many times – Summer’s flat, Kat’s house, the charity shop, the allotments and the building site. The magic stuff adds an extra flavour too – it’s really quite interesting, learning about the mystical properties of crystals, lunar calendar traditions, etc, and it’s written with a lot of knowledge and detail. But the main reason that it’s a cut above most chick-lit books (at least for me) is that rather than only being about romance, there’s also a very real sense of the friendship between the two main characters as they help each other through their problems. The conversations they have are in fact so realistic, it’s like you’re in the next room listening in.

I have to admit now that I am slightly biased because I was involved in editing this work. But I wouldn’t have gotten involved in such a big project if I hadn’t been behind it all the way and it’s now a joy to see it in print.

As with the other books I sometimes review, this is released on an independent publisher, so the distribution won’t be great. But I really hope it does well because, as far as chick-lit goes, it’s one of the good ones.