Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book Review: Sophie's Turn

By Melissa Amster
Who hasn't fantasized about marrying a rock star (or any other type of celebrity)? Well, if you're amongst the first to not harbor such a fantasy, you might still enjoy reading Nicky Well's debut novel, "Sophie's Turn."

Sophie Penhalligan has quite the dilemma on her hands. Her relationship with her steady boyfriend, Tim, feels like it is going nowhere. Then she becomes reunited with her favorite rock band and the rock star she has fantasized about since her youth and spent one evening with ten years prior. Suddenly, she has two men (with completely different lifestyles) courting her. What's a girl to do?!?

When I was younger, I read these Sunfire Romance novels which took place in different periods of history and always had the heroine choosing between two (sometimes very different) men. In a way, "Sophie's Turn" brought me back to those novels. She's caught in a place where she doesn't want to break hearts but feels forced to by making a decision one way or another. Sophie is put in the position of ping-ponging between her reliable relationship and the exciting life of dating a rock star (albeit one she has always wanted to be with). Ms. Wells gives her characters a lot of personality and depth, making the story interesting and suspenseful. Sophie thinks she's going to make one choice and then something comes along to surprise her and takes the reader along for the ride. I enjoyed her descriptions of places and detailing of events. There was also quite a bit of humor, although more subtle at times. The best example of humor was detailed in a language barrier between the UK and the US.

Throughout the story, I was becoming frustrated with Sophie's lack of morals and her weak behaviors. I don't know if Ms. Wells has ever been in Sophie's shoes, but I don't know a lot of women who have either. I kept thinking, "Sophie, some women would kill to have two men vying for their attention. Shall I play you a tiny violin for your troubles?" I just had a lack of sympathy for her and felt she was handling things immaturely. (Like saying it's okay to cheat on someone if you're in a different country. Is that the same as saying that a crumbled up cookie has less calories?) I also felt her friend Rachel was overly supportive of Sophie's immoral behaviors. However, I was following Sophie's life the way I'd follow that of my own best friends' lives, even though I couldn't really shout at her to tell her to do the right thing. I was proud of her when she finally made a decision and acted like a grown-up, even though she wasn't sure it was the right decision at the time. Aside from those issues, there were some spelling and grammar errors that were missed during any editing and proofreading sessions Ms. Wells may have had.

Overall, "Sophie's Turn" is a well-developed first effort for Ms. Wells. I could tell that she put a lot of thought and hard work into the story and it made for a compelling read. I wouldn't have minded more "spice" during the romantic scenes, but there was a nice level of "sexiness" during those parts to keep me entertained. I probably would have read it more quickly if it were available in paperback, as I don't read on my PC as often as I read print novels. If you are looking for an entertaining chick lit novel, then you've come to the right place with this one.

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