I’ve been contemplating the stack of library books on my desk & thinking that I really need to either make a start on some of them or return them. Last night I started Bill Bryson’s new book At Home as I know there are reservations on it & I really have to either read it now or take it back. I was seduced immediately by Bryson’s friendly, wry style & I can’t wait to get back to it this afternoon. I’ll post about some of the other books in my library stack tomorrow, complete with pictures. After the cynicism of Zola’s Pot Luck which I read last weekend, I felt the need for a gentle, funny romance. I wanted to like the characters, become absorbed in their story & sigh contentedly at the happy ending.
Sarah Duncan’s Kissing Mr Wrong was the perfect book for my mood. Lu Edwards is approaching 30. Her romantic history with a series of Mr Wrongs has left her with a list of characteristics she requires before she will contemplate falling in love again. Lu is a freelance illustrator, currently illustrating a series of children’s books featuring talking vegetables. She’s in a bit of a rut, working to pay the bills rather than fulfilling the artistic dreams of her younger days when she wrote & illustrated a couple of children’s books. Lu’s best friend, Briony, runs an art gallery & at an opening there, Lu meets Marcus who ticks all the boxes on her wishlist. They flirt a little, meet up for a drink but, before anything can develop, Marcus is off to work in the States.
Lu’s grandmother, Delia, asks Lu to help her track down a WWI soldier who she believes was her father. Delia was adopted as a young child by friends of her parents but she’s never really known their story. All she has is a photograph & a name, Jack Havergal. At the gallery opening, Lu also met Nick, who is a fundraiser for a project to commemorate the centenary of WWI by planting poppies along the line of the Western Front. In the process he’s learnt a lot about WWI & Lu asks him to help her with the research into Jack’s background. There’s a spark of attraction there from the beginning but Lu is hesitant as Nick is so obviously Mr Wrong. He’s recently separated, doesn’t have a lucrative career, isn’t really her physical type & he has two sons. Children are definitely not on Lu’s wishlist.
Nevertheless as the research & their relationship continues, Lu & Nick fall in love. They go on a trip to northern France, visiting WWI museums & cemetaries & Lu finds Jack’s name on the Thiepval memorial as he was killed on the first day of the Somme but his body was never recovered. Lu & Nick’s relationship is blissful until she becomes more involved in his life & meets his children. After a spectacularly unsuccessful evening at home with the boys, Lu decides she’s not willing to come second in Nick’s life after the boys & she breaks off the relationship. Not long after, Marcus returns from the US & wants to take up where they left off. Will Marcus be the one or will Lu have to rewrite her wishlist?
This is a lovely read. I enjoyed the details of Lu’s working life & her research into WWI & the discoveries she makes about Delia’s parents. Lu also discovers more about her own childhood & what really happened when her parents’ marriage broke up. Her relationship with Delia is lovely & I enjoyed Delia’s dog, Scottie, who plays a crucial role in Lu & Marcus’s relationship when he accompanies them on a romantic weekend. This is the perfect book to read in the middle of a chilly Melbourne winter.