Sunday, 29 May 2011

From Notting Hill With Love Actually by Ali McNamara

My recent book which I have just finished reading was something which I cannot compare to any other book which I have read before. I changed my opinion of this book so many times whilst I was reading it as I will tell you further into the review. This is a new author Ali McNamara, From Notting Hill With Love..... Actually is her first published book.

***PLOT***

Our main character Scarlett loves the movies, or as her loved ones would say "has a silly obsession" with the movies! Her life revolves around the movies with her job involving popcorn machines at the cinema which gives a good excuse for her to just pop in and watch the most recent film release! Everything that happens around Scarlett she compares to a film scene, and people around her she will compare them to actors and actresses. This is causing problems for Scarlett and her husband to be David. David and her farther suggests she goes away for a break for the few weeks before their wedding to put these silly thoughts aside, but all Scarlett has in mind is to prove that whilst she is away in Notting Hill is to prove that life can be exactly like a movie. Thing is Notting Hill seems to shacking Scarlett's life up with the help of her new next door neighbour Sean.
After weeks house sitting in Notting Hill will Scarlett return home and be able to put the obsession of comparing life to the movies and marry David or is Scarlett's life turning in a different direction?

***CHARACTERS***
SCARLETT:- It takes a few chapters to actually understand Scarlett as a person and to connect with her. She comes across as very immature and in her own little world. In the first half of the book I have to say I found her pretty annoying. As the book paces on her character develops you start to see a sweet vulnerable young woman who is trying to make everyone else happy but in the process is not actually making herself happy.

David:- I did not warm to this character from the word go. He seems boring and controlling. I was glad that once Scarlett went to Notting Hill he didn't appear much in the book until the end, but I think this is how the character was meant to come across.

Sean:- We see a character change in Sean when we first meet him he seems very aggressive and rude but as his friendship with Scarlett grows we see a completely different side to him he is really a very caring, considerate and generous man. I would say he was my favourite character of the book.

***MY OPINION***
I am really undecided on this book as there were parts of the book which I really didn't like and other parts which I really enjoyed which is a first for me. I felt like I was reading two different stories but in one book. This is going to be hard to explain without you reading this book so please bear with me. As I have said before Scarlett has a love of the movies and through this book everything that happens is constantly compared to one movie or another. At first this was fine but this continued all the way through the book and about half way through I was ready to give up as I was starting to get tired of the constant comparisons, I felt like it was smothering the true storyline. I would say every page, if not every other, has some reference to a film. This can be hard in some places for some people as a few times a certain film was mentioned which I haven't seen so I didn't quite understand what was going on in the story.

Ok that is my negative out of the way. It was a shame because underneath the "smothering" is quite a beautiful little storyline. Once you actually started to get into the underlying storyline the book was actually a joy to read. I would say the story started to become enjoyable from chapter 13 so if you are going to give this book a try do bare with it as it does improve. Ali has managed to bring a fresh style of writing in this book but I just think it was slightly over done in my own opinion. The chemistry she creates between Scarlett and Sean is wonderful and you do find yourself hoping that something will bring these two characters together. I loved the fact that right up until the last chapter the reader didn't know if Scarlett was going to marry David, so the suspense element which the author creates is brilliant as I do like this in a book it does keep you gripped and in my opinion I think this is what saved this book.

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