“Spas were not my natural habitat,” cites the narrator in the opening lines of Allie Spencer’s latest novel, Summer Nights; “I was hoping that the Goddess of Overpriced and Slightly Pointless Beauty Treatments would be on my side.” Uh oh, this, I thought, is not going to be my cup of camomile …
However, on I went, spurred by the knowledge that Spencer has won sitcom writing competitions in the States, boasts an MA in Medieval studies, and a suitably pink and glossy cover that promised to transport me to San Francisco.
From the outset, Summer Nights is unashamedly kitsch – it involves an Abba tribute band, the most hideous break-up in the history of break-ups, the client from hell, a fairly outrageous group of friends and a touch of serious trauma for good measure – all the ingredients for a page-turner.
However, just when I think protagonist Flora is verging on the edge of irritatingly-self-involved, the story quite literally erupts into a fast-paced medley of deep-rooted friendships, community solidarity, scenarios that are so ‘Mama Mia’ they are positively laugh-out-loud-funny, and of course the idyllic results that is the reason we love easy-reading romances.
My only immeasurable disappointment from the whole thing was that not only did Flora’s opening spa scenario not improve, it went from bad to worse, becoming so diabolical that if it is based on personal experience I can only assume Ms Spencer has been going to entirely the wrong spas and highly recommend she gets in touch with Spabreaks.com as soon as possible so that we can show her what it’s really all about!
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