Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lessons in Laughing Out Loud by Rowan Coleman

Willow Briars is a 39 year old woman living in London, working at a talent agency, and is so unhappy she doesn't even realize it.  Until a pair of shoes and a ratty old fur coat wake her up to her life--then all sorts of crazy happens.

Her stepdaughter Chloe appears outside her door one night--fifteen and six months pregnant.  Willow hasn't seen her in five years--since the day she left her marriage to Sam, Chloe's father.

Willow is tasked with keeping the latest hot hot young movie star, India Torrance hidden at her flat while India's affair with a much older (and married) co-star makes headlines and potentially ruins her career.  Willow is now stuck with a young pregnant stepdaughter who's very angry at Willow, and a weepy movie star who is at the mercy of Willow's boss; crazy  Victoria spins India's story for money and to rescue India's future career as a movie star.  Phew.  There's a lot going on in the first 100 pages.

And enter Daniel--he's a gorgeous American who's been Willow's crush for years. He's a womanizer who always comes back to Willow for friendship and comfort.  Will they ever get together?  Does Willow really need him?  And what about his friend, Serious James?  He's only met Willow a few times, but he's quietly in love with her and doesn't quite know how to convince her he's sincere.

Willow's world begins to spin crazily out of control once she steps in a pair of beautiful shoes she finds in an out of the way vintage shop.  Add in a fox coat from the same place, and she's suddenly slimmer, taller, and attracting all sorts of attention.  Are they magic shoes?  Or just a way for Willow to finally deal with the fact that she's terribly unhappy and hasn't laughed out loud for years?

Lots of questions are answered in this novel.  I do really like Willow, and her identical twin sister, Holly.  Willow and Holly are extremely close, but Willow always feels that Holly is the one who keeps things calm and always knows just what to say--besides the fact that she's a slim version of Willow.  Willow's past is haunting her, and she's incapable of letting love in and being happy.  Follow her tale as she works to accept and love herself with the help of Chloe, Sam, Holly, and Serious James.  Daniel is a bit of a problem--one who can derail her future, if she chooses.

I enjoyed this novel--especially after reading Sarum!  Night and day.  I did expect a bit more lightness to this, and it did get very serious with many issues regarding Willow's past and Chloe's pregnancy.  It does, however, highlight the terrible disease women today have of not believing in themselves and loving themselves wholeheartedly.  Being happy is not something that only other people have--it's what we all want, and all can have if we just take chances and believe we are worth it.

Rating:  3/5 Liked all the characters, but book did have serious issues come up that I wasn't quite prepared for--cover was a bit deceptive.  Otherwise a good read for weekend.

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