I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The title and cover made me expect this to be a run-of-the-mill chick lit novel; somehow whilst slotting in to the category it managed to be so much more and I am genuinely unsure how the author pulled it off. Is it the nuanced characters, the generally realistic situations, the flat out refusal to give us an ending neatly tied up in a romantic bow? Whatever it was I did genuinely enjoy the read and found myself looking forward to grabbing a spare 10 minutes just to get one more chapter in. The overall premise of our heroine Joanna getting ready to marry her School Sweetheart and seemingly punishing herself so she can fit in to the perfect dress made me a little wary at first. However, her love/hate relationship with the Bridal Boot Camp she is attending in the morning before work - seriously up at 5am to intensively exercise before work, no dress is worth that; the "stuck in a rut" nature of her relationship with her fiance managed to feel fairly realistic. Throw in a dollop of over-achieving in her job at a Casting Agency and a snarky (in the best of ways) friend in Becca and you start to get a sense of who Joanna is before you are more than half a dozen pages in. When Joanna finds out her fiance, Sam, has been less than faithful to her she takes the only option and breaks everything off, spiralling in to Depression it is when her Bridal Boutique tell her about a fortnight long retreat in a gorgeous location that she decides to take action. You could be excused for thinking that from her on in it will be filled with over used cliches as Joanna starts her time in idyllic Topsail. Yes, there are a few and some of the treatments on offer sound very "Goop!" but don't be fooled by the title; this may be retreat designed to help people get over broken relationships but the handling of it is excellent. From developing a support network with fellow attendees - one a woman of a certain age whose wealthy husband has upgraded her for a younger model to an almost Kardashian-esque celebrity with a string of failed relationships behind her. It would have been easy to make these characters cliches but they are very definitely fully rounded with their own quirks and foibles and, along with Joanna, they get what they need from these two weeks to improve their lives. You see, that's really what the book is about, learning about who you are and what makes you happy. Not what you think should make you happy because of media and society but what actually makes YOU happy. It has an overwhelmingly positive message and even if we do have to have a little romance thrown in, someone to share your life with does make a lot of people happy. The writing style is fun and with an almost chatty narrative I found myself irresistibly drawn to keep reading. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with this book and am eagerly looking forward to reading more from the author.
4 people found this review helpful
Joanna had the life.. man, job, location.. but then sour came and messed up her sweet role. Breakup Boot camp to the rescue along with opening her heart to her real truths. It was awesome how she took on her struggles and found herself.