I’ve been a fan of Lucy Robinson’s since she was a blogger for Marie Claire, detailing her online dating experiences to hilarious effect. She has a fantastic turn of phrase and there’s real energy to her writing so I was excited when she turned to fiction. Her first novel, last year’s The Greatest Love Story of All Time, was a hoot and kept me reading into the small hours.
A Passionate Love Affair With a Total Stranger didn’t disappoint. In it, we meet Charley Lambert, a certified workaholic, whose life ends when she breaks her leg in three places and is forced to stay off work for three whole months. Meanwhile, her love interest boss, with whom she has put in seven years’ hard flirting, culminating in a fumble in a mop cupboard, proposes to someone else and control freak Charley has to hand over her biggest project to her evil deputy. To amuse herself, Charley sets up a new business, First Date Aid, helping the virtually inept craft the perfect email to ensnare their chosen man/woman. But then William, the ‘total stranger’ of the title, arrives in her inbox and Charley finds herself falling for someone she’s never met. What follows is a genuinely clever plot twist that keeps you guessing more or less until the end.
Like The Greatest Love Story, A Passionate Love Affair is snort-out-loud funny in places. It’s all about overlooking your pre-conceptions about people and situations because it’s only when Charley does this, that she finds happiness, without giving too much away.
I have to be honest and say that I preferred the character of Fran in The Greatest Love Story to Charley in this book as I found Charley’s obsession with absolute perfection a little unrelatable. And also I felt that it was never properly explored, why she’s like that. But maybe that’s just me!
Overall though, minor quibbles aside, I really enjoyed this book; it’s the perfect antidote to a dreary spring commute.