I'm going to hold my hands up and confess that before I read Giovanna Fletcher's 'Billy and Me' I had been expecting another run of the mill 'predictable' romance. Not that there's anything wrong with that don't get me wrong, but I've read my fair share and therefore have a tendency to get easily bored.
It takes something a little bit out of the ordinary to capture and hold my attention for what is usually about four hundred odd pages. However, because my friend Jody had sung high praises for this debut novel I decided to give it a go.
The blurb goes a little like this -
Sophie May has a secret that has mean't she's given up on all her dreams to instead stay at home with her mum whilst working in the local village tea shop. Then one day, she meets and falls for Billy - a hotshot actor who is about to hit the big time. Miles away from the life she's been used to, their relationship suddenly throws Sophie into the spotlight and into a world that is alien to her. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that comes with dating Billy? And is she ready for her secret to be discovered and shared with the nation?
Let's get the bits that disappointed me out of the way first before I tell you all to go out and buy a copy! Which I am totally going to do btw! ;)
I wouldn't say that the opening paragraph really did it for me. If anything it felt unnecessary, (sorry Giovanna) and I wanted to skip straight to the part where Sophie enters Molly's tea shop. And truth be told, after the build up, I was expecting some huge dark and dirty secret that would tarnish Sophie's reputation for life, not the tragedy that actually unfolds in chapter seventeen.
That said, there was something special about this story that grabbed me and just wouldn't let go. It's so well written that the characters and environments literally spring from the very pages. I couldn't help but feel as though Sophie was an old friend and that I was living in her world. If the tea shop was a real place I'd be straight on a road trip to Kent tomorrow. And as for dear old Molly? She was an absolute delight of a character who I warmed to from the very beginning. You'll no doubt find yourself rooting for Billy and Sophie the entire way through, even though at times you may - as I did - want to give him a boot up the backside and to tell him to shape himself.
This is one to devour when you have some time on your hands because believe me, you'll struggle to put it down!
I don't want to give any more spoilers away because - well that would just spoil it for you wouldn't it? But I will say that any novel that gets such an emotional reaction from me gets a five star rating. So take it from me, go and buy or download a copy today!
And as for me... I'm off to hound Jody for the follow up 'Always with Love.'
Author Giovanna Fletcher
You can buy Billy and Me by visiting any of the links on Giovanna's website:
Photos my own except Giovanna pic which was taken from Giovanna's website as below -