Reviewed by Lisa Spoors
Meet Estelle, a thirty-something single mum who runs her own
business, Cafe Crumb. Like a lot of local businesses, the cafe isn’t doing as
well as Estelle had hoped, and when she discovers that one of the cafe’s
neighbours – a book shop – is closing down, Estelle decides to start a book
group to try to boost business in Cafe Crumb.
Estelle isn’t even sure if anyone will turn up for the first
meeting of the club, so is pleased when four people arrive. Unfortunately
though, Estelle’s first book club choice Tess of the D’Ubervilles doesn’t quite
go down well. One of the group spots Estelle’s copy of Ten Sweet Lessons, the
latest must-read ‘naughty’ book, and suggests the book club try that one next. From
then on, the club work their way through a variety of erotic fiction, leading
to some surprising consequences in their own lives.
We’re introduced to the other members of the book club in
the first few chapters. There’s single girl Gracie. Opinionated and individual,
Gracie loves all things fifties. There’s Sue, who is recently retired and has
big dreams to travel and live life to the full. Unfortunately Sue’s husband
doesn’t share her passion. There’s newlywed Rebecca, who is desperate to keep
the spark going in her marriage, and then there’s the only male member of the
group, Reggie, who originally joins the book group as research for his
university thesis, but ends up becoming a fully fledged contributor.
As the book progresses we see each character come into their
own; one thing I felt all five characters had in common at the beginning was a
lack of confidence, either in themselves or in going for what they wanted in
life, but the support of the new friends they make through the club seems to
strengthen each member’s self belief and drive them forward.
I love the idea of this book – since Fifty Shades of Grey
it’s become more acceptable to read and enjoy erotica, and the titles suggested
throughout the book (and on the last few pages) range from the extremely mild
to the downright disgusting! I think including these titles and the way the
group discuss them is brilliant for anyone who might want to venture further
into this genre. Although the book club focuses on erotica, and there are some
saucy scenes in the book, it’s not overdone and the characters come across as
realistic and relatable.
I really enjoyed The
Naughty Girls Book Club. The storylines were gentle but engaging and I would recommend
it to anyone looking for a light-hearted read.
Now I have one question – does a book club like this really exist and
where can I sign up!?