Thursday, 11 July 2013

Guest Book Review: Sophie Hart - The Naughty Girls Book Club

Reviewed by Lisa Bentley

A quaint suburb. A quiet little book club. A very naughty reading list.

When Estelle sets up a book group in order to increase custom to her struggling cafe, what follows is more mind-blowing than she could have ever imagined...

As the first book club meeting flounders, Estelle suggests a spot of erotica to spice things up.

Inspired by their naughty novels, this group of shy suburban readers shake off their inhibitions and soon discover that their own lives can be just as scandalous..

Everyone had their own reasons for joining the Café Crumb book club. Divorcee Estelle, the owner of the café decided to start the book club to generate extra income for her fledging independent business; recently retired Sue joined out of boredom, something to fill her endless days. Rebecca, feeling post honeymoon boredom set in joined it to add some excitement to her life – excitement that she felt she and her husband Andy. Reggie joined for research; he planned on using the communal aspect of reading for his thesis and Gracie joined for probably the most basic of reasons. She loves books. However, during the first meeting the book clubbers got more than they originally bargained for…

In a moment of clumsiness, Estelle chose the book Ten Sweet Lessons as the new read. Ten Sweet Lessons is the new erotic novel sensation that has swept the country causing controversy and racing heartbeats in equal measures. And with that one decision the whole course of the characters’ lives change dramatically.

Ok, so in 2012 we were all swept away by 50 Shades madness – not necessarily due to the excellent writing (all of those who read it will agree that it was repetitive and the narrative was often weak) but we all fell in love with the passion between Anastasia and Christian – and it is this worldwide cultural phenomenon that provided the perfect backdrop for the residents of The Naughty Girls Book Club.

Now you are thinking, ‘Well why should I read it? It is only going to be a rip off of a rip off!’ Let 
me lay that thought to rest. This book is nothing like 50 Shades. This book is a naughty piece of 
entertainment that pokes fun at the seriousness and secrecy that we surround sex with. Granted  
50 Shades opened doors for erotica; it has become less illicit and less risqué and now you can’t even walk down the book aisle of your local supermarket without seeing an erotic fiction section. 

However, assuming that every book that talks about sex is going to be as gratuitous as the 
aforementioned series then you will be seriously limiting yourself and your reading selection. Sophie Hart has created a wonderful cast of characters, allowing you, nay making you fall in love with each and every one of them for very different reasons. You feel like you become part of their story, willing them to succeed, getting giddy and emotional when they do and wanting to offer them a hug when things go wrong. I can honestly say I was genuinely sad when this book was over. Not because it wasn’t uplifting or happy but because I really will miss these wonderful people who for nearly 500 pages allowed me to be part of their lives. 

If you misjudge The Naughty Girls’ Book Club and disregard giving it a chance then you are going to miss out on a book which is essentially a book about friendship and romance and about how the world of literature can bring people together. Reading is too often considered a solo act, something you set aside some *ahem* alone time for. The Naughty Girls’ Book Club kiboshes that belief. Overall, it reminds us that reading is not a solitary act. Reading can (and does) enhance communities, mend relationships and build friendships.

Amazon links: Paperback or Kindle 

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