Friday 3 July 2015

Romance by the Book by Jo Victor

I received this book for free via Netgalley however this in no way affects the opinions expressed in this review

Romance by the Book

by Jo Victor

Released: 15th June 2015
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Genre: Romance, LGBT, Mystery
Other books by Jo Victor:
Revenge of the Parson’s Daughter Or The Lass that Loved a Pirate
Goodreads Description:
For a smart woman, Alex is pretty clueless. She wants the truth, but she’s looking in the wrong place. She wants love, but she’s not looking at all. If only Cam didn’t keep disrupting her life, Alex might be able to find some answers. After all, it’s not as if Cam is interested in her. Which is probably a good thing, since Cam is even more infuriating than she is charming—and she’s got plenty of charm. On the other hand, Rosamund, Cam’s ex and Alex’s professional rival, is definitely interested in Alex, but can she be trusted? Alex doesn’t even realize the historic house she’s staying in is haunted. Perhaps a little supernatural help will lead Alex to uncover the secret of a love story hidden for over a century, and to solve the greatest mystery of all—the truth hidden in her own heart.

My Review

(Afterword: I was dying of heat exhaustion as I wrote this. It should not be 32 degrees Celsius in England. Nu-uh. So, if my writing’s a little, well, crappy, then I apologise.)

Mega book hang-over here. I’m not even sure where to start with this review and almost certain I’m going to find it hard to write anything of substance. I shall give it a go though…

Romance by the Book did it right. Well, most of it. Her writing’s amazing: I was miffed when it ended. I could have read about Alex’s daily life for months without getting bored. I especially noticed how much I highlighted in this just because it made me laugh or I thought it was witty. There were plenty of superb and entertaining language choices that never failed to make my smile or even chuckle out loud.

The characters in this book – mainly Alex, Cam, Rosamund and Nicola – were diverse and enjoyable, however I did happen to notice how the entire friendship group was lesbian. Sure, you need a few lesbians to create a complex of relationships, however it took away so much potential realism. It wasn’t that big of a deal; it wasn’t like it was made a big fuss of. In fact, I rather liked how the sexuality wasn’t shouted about like it is in most lgbt novels.

I also loved how I was as interested in Alex’s work into discovering the mystery of Artemisia and Lady Melissa as I was in Alex and Cam’s relationship. It’s not often you get a romance novel where some other part of the plot is equally as – if not more – compelling as the romance. I absolutely loved this!

Most of all, I admired the sex scene, even if it was a relatively small part of the book. It was the longest, most honest and most gutsy lgbt sex scene I’ve read in a long while – and I’ve read a lot of sex scenes. Being a bit of a lgbt sex scene aficionado (no judgements here guys xD), I consider myself able to proclaim this one a masterpiece.

Also, West Yorkshire. Just saying. I was so not expecting to open this book and still be at home. Honestly, I was expecting something either American or European. Not a fictional village based near Ilkley. Props!

This book would be great for people who are after an excellent, enjoyable lgbt read, and also maybe to fans of mystery as Jo Victor does a fairly decent job of that as well. The only thing I can say though, is I wouldn’t recommend this novel for anyone who likes a fast-paced, clearly-defined plot. The actual writing of it is what makes this book so good. Although the plot is still great in my opinion, and quite compelling at multiple parts, it’s nothing next to the artistry of the words.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Abi Ainley

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