Sunday, 23 June 2013

Guest Book Review: Jane Lovering - Hubble Bubble

Reviewed by Maggie Burns

Be careful what you wish for ...

Holly Grey joined the woman's group to keep her friend out of trouble - and now she's knee-deep in hassle, in the form of apocalyptic weather, armed men, midwifery - and a sarcastic Welsh journalist.

Kai has been drawn to darkest Yorkshire by his desire to find out who he really is. What he hadn't bargained on was getting caught up in amateur magic and dealing with a bunch of women who are trying really hard to make their dreams come true.

Together they realise that getting what you wish for is sometimes just a matter of knowing what it is you want...

'Hubble Bubble' - sounds supernatural. But this isn't a tale in the 'Twilight' genre. The story begins with an advert in the newspaper 'What would you wish for? Women interested in forming a group to practise a new branch of the magic arts, get in touch. No experience necessary, just a broad mind and the desire to make wishes come true.', which brings together a small diverse group of 5 women ready to wish for .... well, the normal really - men and excitement. The sub-title 'Be careful what you wish for!', now that does more clearly summarise the story within.

The narrator of the tale, Holly, only goes along to support her friend. She doesn't believe in this kind of hocus-pocus - and yet...

The thread of this wishing-spell does link the tale, but it doesn't take you down the road of magic and witchcraft as the book's title may imply. It's the story of romance - but in a gritty-reality kind of way rather than all 'Mills and Boon' sweetness and perfection. The male lead of the tale, Kai, has a touch of the 'Heathcliff' about him - statuesque, muscular, long hair and an edge - a bit of a troubled soul. Holly and Kai crash land into each other's lives and see similarities in and experience attraction to each other. The book winds you through some pretty less-than-romantic avenues and touches on many aspects of life: single parenthood, mental incapacity, danger, loneliness and unemotional sex lives. But without bringing you out of the escapism that you need for any romance to work.

If I were to be critical, I'd say the author, Jane Lovering, needs to revisit her tendency to produce dialog without making it clear who's saying what. A few times I had to re-read the conversation to piece it together properly. And, it did take a chapter or two to really 'get' her style. Regrettably, I think some people could be put off initially and not keep going, which would be a shame. Of course, I had promised a review so had to bear with it - and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed this book, and do believe others would too. So long as they just pursue it a little to begin to understand and appreciate the characters involved. I'd like to have felt a little more drawn to the individual characters, but regrettably they weren't as roundly drawn as the descriptions of the Yorkshire countryside in the winter snow. On occasion, you felt the characters were a little bit rushed and two dimensional and a little more detail would have filled the book more completely. Whilst the end was satisfying, I would really have liked to be left begging for more. Instead, you do feel the tale has fully closed for you. For some readers, this wouldn't be a bad thing, and does prevent the temptation for Jane to write a follow-on tale, a mistake that many authors have made resulting in a second-rate disappointing sequel. A prequel, however, bringing forth for us how the characters become the individuals that they were at the beginning of this book. Now that would make interesting reading.

All in all, this is a bit of an escapist read and just the right length. Enough modern life and issues to provide a bit of realism rather than sickly-sweet perfection, but not so much that it turns into a heavy read. You're still looking for the 'happy ending', and whilst this book doesn't disappoint in this respect, not all turn out quite how you thought they would.

I'd like to thank Jane at Choc Lit for sending us me a copy of this eBook to review.

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