Reviewed by Emma Crowley
Sarah is doing just fine. Sure she's been single for the last five years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex-boyfriend, his perfect new girlfriend and all their mutual friends. And yes, her job as a PA to one of the most disgusting men in London is mind-numbingly tedious and her career is a constant disappointment to her mother. But it's really okay. She's happy (ish).
So it's not surprising that when Sarah starts dreaming about a handsome stranger, she begins to look forward to falling asleep every night. Reality isn't nearly as exciting. That is until her dream-stranger makes an unexpected real-life appearance, leaving Sarah questioning everything she thought she wanted.
Because no one ever really finds the person of their dreams... do they?
Despite continuously hearing great things about Giovanna Fletcher's writing, Dream a Little Dream is the first book I have read by this author. After finishing this fabulous read I was left berating myself as to why I had waited so long to pick up a book by this author, Giovanna's writing is fun, fresh and original and I loved every minute of this book. I came to Dream a Little Dream after a run of not so great books and will admit I wasn't expecting much from this read but I love being surprised and in this case in a really pleasant way too. I feel one or two of the stalwarts of chick lit /women's fiction have become a bit lacklustre with their latest releases and I have become bored with what they are writing but definitely Giovanna is here to cement her place as a super talent in this genre.
The story was just so refreshing to read, it didn’t follow the usual conventions of boy meets girl etc there was slightly more to it and the book had a superb cast of supporting characters who were used very well and their stories played a crucial part too. If you are not sold by the blurb of this book then the cover will definitely call out to you, it's bright and inviting and really sums up the storyline. When the main character Sarah meets the handsome man she has been dreaming about in real life she hopes her dreams may just come true. What a great idea for a book, I mean who wouldn't want the man we dream about to be real and not fictitious? I was interested to see would Sarah's dreamboat live up to expectations or was she in for a bumpy ride?
Sarah Thompson has been single for a number of years but that doesn't stop her longing for a man with whom she can form a long lasting relationship with. All her friends seem to be either settling down or doing their best to find the one - going on dates etc but Sarah still seems to be clinging to the fact that ex boyfriend Dan Tipper has moved on in a big way with new partner Lexie. Oh how I felt for Sarah as she has to regularly encounter Dan and Lexie at group gatherings like the weekly quiz in the pub. Every woman knows how difficult it must be to see the man you loved and whom you believed you were building a solid relationship with embark on a new relationship with a woman. OK so it might have been five years since the relationship ended but that doesn't stop you holding just that tiny smidgen of a flame deep inside, obviously not having a new man in your life doesn't help matters either. But Sarah showed her stoic character and put on a brave front at all times and for that she must be admired. Now she has come to the realisation she has wasted enough time and energy on Dan and she needs to move on her in both her personal and professional life. Maybe things just might be on the up for Sarah as she starts having vivid dreams featuring a certain sexy hunk of a man who was in her past. The man in question being Brett whom she hasn't seen since her university days. Interspersed amongst the chapters are these dream sequences and at first I thought they were going to be quite naff or even become a little explicit but that wasn't the case at all, in fact they added all the more fun to the storyline and even better when Brett makes an appearance in real life joining Sarah's office as a new member of the team.
Sarah is a character whom every woman will find at least one thing to identify with. From the very first chapters when she arrives at her workplace Red Brick Productions, where she works as an assistant to boss Johnathan, and immediately switches on her computer to check Twitter and the Daily Mail showbiz website I thought Sarah you are my kind of girl. From then on Giovanna's writing is so on point and crucially this book doesn't descend into a light-hearted fluffy run of the mill romance nor does it venture down the other avenue of becoming hard hitting, instead the balance between the two is struck just right and had me both laughing and showing concern for Sarah in equal measure. The celeb references throughout are bang up to date and just added that overall fun and relevance to the story.
The reader soon senses Sarah is at the turning point in her life. No longer is she prepared to take second best in terms of love or work. Yes she may not have gotten the promotion she wanted or deserved but that doesn't stop her grabbing every opportunity and her ingenious idea for a reality show - 'Grannies Go Gap' brings her that one step closer to gorgeous Brett. I never knew were the pair going to get it together which was great as I love the element of mystery and romantic suspense. We didn't hear much from Brett's point of view as this was more Sarah's story and the overall storyline wasn't dominated by the 'will they won't they question' instead I felt everything had a very natural feel and flow to it and I as the reader was just there for the ride and boy did I enjoy every minute of it.
As I have mentioned this book had the added bonus of a great supporting cast. Every female protagonist needs a best friend who will be there to support her in times of woe to offer wine and chocolate and a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. The same can be said when the best friend is the one who needs the help and support. Here we have Carly whom Sarah shares a flat with - friends for years they are each other’s back bone and stalwart supporters in good times and bad. I would aspire to have their friendship that radiates strength from the pages. When Carly finds herself in a situation (one which she is happy about) you could see the delight Sarah had for her friend. Sadly the good times don't always last and the scenes that followed were extremely well written and dealt with in the utmost of respect and sensitivity and I applaud Giovanna for this because bearing in mind the overall tone and nature of the novel to have this featured and handled so well was remarkable. I felt every bit of those scenes and my heart was breaking but the girls friendship, love and respect for each other shone through. Having giving so much of her time to Dan I think sums quote really sums up Sarah and her attitude which develops over the course of the book' Sometimes in life you have to stop and say to yourself. You know what? Now's my time to be selfish'. I have to say I agree whole heartedly with Sarah sometimes we have to take stock and look after ourselves after looking out for others for so long. At times we just need that push to set ourselves upon the path to make our life as good and as fulfilled as it can be.
Is Sarah able to separate dream Brett from real life Brett? Can a dream man possibly live up to our aspirations in real life would never run that smoothly? Well if you want to discover what life has in store for Sarah and co I would highly recommend Dream a Little Dream and if you decide to give it a go you haven't long to wait until the Christmas novella 'Dream a Little Christmas Dream' is published on 8th October. I'm eager to find out just what happens next to this bunch of wonderful characters that had me engaged in their story right from the very first page. Having taken so long to read a book by Giovanna Fletcher I'm glad to say she is now certainly one of my favourite authors and I will be making sure I read her two previous books as soon as possible.
Many thanks to Penguin UK via NetGalley for a copy of Dream a Little Dream to review and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.