Ohhhhh, Jessica Beam. Jessica, Jessica, Jessica. Please come to my house. Please come and say hello. I'll make you some home-brewed pear cider. Look at the blossom on my pear tree. I'm sure it is going to be a BUMPER crop this year and my home-brewed version of pear cider is guaranteed to blow your (vintage) socks right off.
The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood, starring Jessica Beam is, quite possibly, my favourite book of the year. Jessica is a little clumsy, she finds herself in awkward positions – mostly of her own making – and likes a lot of *whispers* s.e.x. And she's not particularly choosy who it's with either. Ok, maybe that's a bit unfair. But once the pear cider Goggles are on, and her contacts are out, she'll even go for her new neighbour with a tiny head that's strangely out of proportion to his brawny, muscular body.
But Jessica's shenanigans, whilst comedy gold for the reader, are not as enjoyable for her best friend, landlady and boss, Summer. And, after one too many slipups, Jessica finds herself out of a job. And homeless.
What is she to do?
She doesn't have a clue. Her so-called friends don't want her. And she has no family …
Jessica's grandmother turns out to be Matilda Beam, writer of the 1950s Good Woman guides. She desperately wants to get them back in print in order to pay off her debts. And when Jessica arrives; swearing, loud, bright garish hair, she sees an opportunity. But will Jessica pull it off?
And more importantly can her taste buds swap pear cider for champagne?
Of course, it's completely the wrong time of the year to make cider. The blossom is, after all, only just coming out. But come autumn, I'll be squashing those pears, extracting the juice, and waiting for Jessica's knock at the door.