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The Little Lady Agency by Hester Brown (book review)

This was my first novel by Hester Brown. She is a British author I know little to nothing about. I may or may not read another book of hers. I'm still undecided on whether I should pick up something else of hers. Anyhow, this novel is as far as I understand a first in a series. I don't think I will read the sequels to this, but I might check out some of other books by Hester Brown. Apart from what the cover suggested (and that suggestion was chic lit), I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. The cover also promised ' a deliciously witty  story' and since I usually enjoy witticism, I said why not.  Sadly, there was not that much wit in it. Humour, yes, there was a bit of humour but the wit part was somewhat missing. In addition, the cover promised 'Funny and original'. Well, it was funny but I can't say it was terribly original. It was kind of original- in some things. I suppose I could say that I kind of liked this book. I didn't hate it, but I didn't really like it either. I isn't that I regret that I decided to give it a go, but I don't think I would have missed out on much if I didn't. Let's get to the reviewing, shall we?

Photo from my Instagram account @bookmagiclove

I try to be as open towards reading something new and different as I can  possibly be, but we all have our preferences and in the end it often comes to a matter of taste. I like to believe that I can spot good writing. Moreover, I like to believe I have taste (don't we all)? So, before ripping this novel apart, I should add that I do believe that many ladies might just very well enjoy it. In other words, just because I don't like it that much, doesn't have to mean that it an entirely  bad novel.  I suppose that deep down I'm just not likely to enjoy a romance novel. I don't mind reading them from time to time, but they're just not for me, if you know what I mean. So, it is with this novel. As I wrote in my goodreads review, much of my dislike is linked with the genre and I can't really blame the novel for that: 

I didn't care much for it, but that's probably because romance has never been my genre. The protagonist of this novel is a very sweet girl Melissa. Very very sweet....Well, a bit too sweet and a bit too naive. Nevertheless or perhaps because of it, she is quite easy to relate to ( we were all naive at times) and she is even likable to a degree, especially when she starts to develop some spine with the help of her alter ago persona Honey.


The beginning of the novel is quite interesting. I like how our protagonist is trying to build up a new life for himself, after being fired and all. That made me warm up to her. Since the novel didn't have that much going for it in terms of the story (IMHO), that warming up was probably crucial for deciding to finish it in the first place. Honey's business persona was fascinating. The way she handled things was often quite funny. As I wrote on goodreads:
I found it refreshing to read about Mellissa's /Honey's initial struggles, that part about her losing her job and struggling to find a new one was quite realistic and well written. Actually, that was the favourite part of this novel for me, all that talk about the heroine's determination to build her own business and to put her life in order. The fact that she decided to do something for herself was almost a surprise considering what a push- over this character generally was. That was nice to see. Speaking of the good sides of this novel, there is a fair amount of humour in it. It is British humour of the lighter kind, not the really dark one that I like so much, but still there are some funny moments in it.


On goodreads, I also mentioned that the novel doesn't feel completely British. It feels more like a mixture of two cultures. That's perfectly fine and it didn't bother me. The fact that we have a sort of mixed couple was alright. The problem was that the couple just didn't work. They bored me to death-  I don't know any other way to put it.
Yet, the novel doesn't feel distinctly British. It feels American...or maybe as a mix of the two? Like the love couple in the story. 


The protagonist is a bit too sweet for my liking, but on the other hand she is quite adorable at times.
What else do you need to know about Melissa? As soon as the love story develops, she seems to lose all her IQ points but maybe that is how it is supposed to be in this kind of novels? I wish she could have been a bit more assertive in her love life. This was she makes us wonder what the guy saw in her- besides her appearance? I mean what made them fall in love with each other? Not only her fixing up his life. I hope not. That isn't terribly romantic. You see, that's the problem with romance novels. They don't have genuine romance in them. Most of the time they seem written in a certain formula and I don't like that. What else? Our protagonist comes from a particularly dysfunctional family and has a horrid father. I felt that the author didn't make the most of it, albeit I give her points for trying. It was a kind of a bold move, including a father that was such a brute...Oddly enough, he seems more real than most of the characters. Perhaps she plans to develop this 'daddy issue' more in the sequels? Too bad that I won't be reading them. 


Besides the father I already mentioned, I'm sorry to say that the other characters didn't really stand out for me. There is Mellissa's best friend that seems to be a very materialistic girl. I don't get what her part in this novel should be. Why is Mellissa her friend in the first place? Our material girl is in love with Mellisa's adorable (and very handsome) roommate. So, maybe that is why she is there. To give Mellissa a headache. At some point this will develop in a love triangle that I won't care much for...but who knows maybe you will? The male protagonist was so boring, I couldn't make myself to feel for him- even if Mellisa/Honey's uncertainty was so annoying that it could make anyone feel for any guy...I still couldn't relate to him. Yup, characterization is not the strong point of this novel. Characters are not well developed and that's that.


I can't say that I enjoy it very much. I did like the beginning of the novel and some parts in the middle but as soon as the love story started to unfold, I lost my interest. Melissa, being the uncertain girl she is, starts to complain all the time and it gets tiring. The ending was also a disappointment. The love story itself bored me immensely. While Mellissa had some good points, the guy she falls for was so unremarkable...the writer kept singing him praises, but I failed to see why. What a bore! The love triangle was even more dull and unconvincing. Quite possibly the major problem I had with this one is its genre? I just don't like romance novels. Hence, I'm not a good person to recommend a one. It is that simple. I tried to share my views about it, but instead of the conclusion, I will have to get very generic and say something along the lines... If you're a fan of romance novels, by all means go for it. If you're not, stay away of it. It is a typical romance, if you ask me. That's the best I can do.




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