REVIEW: Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella

In brief: Ada is over online dating, but on an anonymous writing retreat she falls in love with Dutch. But when they return home, they find that they lead completely different lives that are incompatible with each other. Will they find a middle ground?

The good: A unique concept full of fun.

The not-so-good: Sometimes the main character is similar between books – but then I don’t read Sophie Kinsella for boring, predictable heroines.

Why I chose it: Christmas present and a nice relaxing read.

Year: 2020

Pages: 356

Publisher: Bantam Press (Penguin)

Setting: London and Italy

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

With all the rushing around and copious eating of Christmas, it’s nice to turn to a familiar author and settle in with a comfort read. Love Your Life is just perfect for a holiday or summer read. Sophie Kinsella’s characters are familiar in some ways, but there are always a few twists to keep things fresh.

One thing Sophie Kinsella always excels in is a novel premise. In Love Your Life, it is actually related around a novel. Ada has decided the time is now to get serious about writing a romance novel and booked a writing retreat in Italy. She is devastated to leave her rescue dog Harold behind, but the retreat pays off in multiple ways. It’s not an ordinary retreat, but one that is shrouded in anonymity (all participants choose a new name and don’t reveal their backgrounds). There Ada (now Aria) meets Dutch, attending after his martial arts retreat was cancelled. They fall in love, while keeping the idea of ‘no baggage’ alive. But when they return to London, it turns out the Dutch isn’t a carpenter called Jean-Luc but someone else all together. His world is corporate and intertwined with family – and ex-girlfriends. Ada’s world is much freer and friend based, but revolves around Harold and her rescue books, plants and furniture. The pair care for each other, but their day to day lives are complete opposites. Can the holiday romance work out?

Ada is a bit scatty, devoted to her friends and completely blind to Harold’s faults – a familiar type of character. Did I mind? Not really, as I came to Love Your Life looking for fun and a few laugh out loud moments, which I definitely got. The plot is quirky, with Dutch turning out to be involved in possibly the least likely business for a hero (especially one who is serious about martial arts). It’s Dutch and Ada’s friends that really make this novel. They are all sorts of quirky types, from geeky to annoying (Maud’s endless asking for favours got a bit thin) but overall fun. Any sequel involving these characters is something that I’d happily read.  There are also some more serious moments in this novel dealing with disability and illness, proving that Kinsella can also do this well.

The novel is an easy read, easy to pick up and read while digesting a big meal or to avoid moving away from the air conditioner in the height of an Aussie summer. It’s delightful and guaranteed to make you chuckle.

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