This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kate Appleton
Coco Swan, the name brings to mind a 6ft+ painfully fashionable model type with legs up to their armpits, however, our lovely heroine is somewhat the polar opposite of this. Still living in her hometown and working in the family antiques shop with her grandma, our ordinary Miss Swan likes to keep living life in her very cautious comfort zone. That is until she discovers a love letter from the 1950’s in a vintage Chanel handbag that was hidden in a dusty box of worthless rubbish. The heartfelt letter stirs up memories of her mother and with the support of her family and friends Coco embarks on a detective mission that will lead to forgotten secrets that will change her life forever.
Our heroine of the story Coco is likeable, but not until further into the story when the momentum of the hunt gains pace. At the beginning all her thoughts and feelings are peppered with insecurity, doubt and worry, which is often the case for this type of book, and something which always bothers me because I feel women should be presented more strongly than they often are. However, as Tatty, the original owner of the Chanel and the influence of her mother infiltrate her psyche, she becomes a character that you find yourself really rooting for.
My favourite character in the story was not Coco, but her grandma Ruth. At 70 years old she goes to Zumba, flirts outrageously with everyone who crosses her path and has a toy boy in the guise of Karl the butcher from across the street. Throughout the adventure she is utterly hilarious and prevents Niamh’s book from becoming another generic chick-lit adventure. In addition, Karl and his unexpected appearances into the kitchen of Ruth and Coco’s flat are comedy genius.
Another downside, for me, was the excessive use of female stereotypes in the beginning of the book gets which got quite frustrating. I understand Coco lives in a small town in Ireland and perhaps the average age is higher than usual, however, the number of times the ‘old maid’ and ‘dusty shelf’ themes were eluded too is really quite depressing given that she is only 32 years old.
This story had its ups and downs for me, but I’m glad I persevered as the ending did leave a warm feeling which was especially welcome during these chilly winter nights!
Niamh Green’s Website