Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review: The Greatest Love Story of All Time

By Becky Gulc

"The Greatest Love Story of All Time" is the debut novel by Lucy Robinson. Lucy was in demand for a novel after running a very successful dating blog on Marie Claire in the UK.

This is a story about Fran. On her 30th birthday she’s expecting to finish the day with a ring on her finger. Instead, her handsome and talented boyfriend of two years, Michael, decides to tell her he needs a three month break. Bring on a big fat gaping hole in Fran’s life and a broken heart that is extremely difficult to mend. It’s a good job Fran is slowly working her way up the career ladder in television (news) and has a good set of friends by her side; they won’t allow her to wallow in self-pity for long!

Here’s the full synopsis:
She's bluffed her way into a Very Posh Job and her outlandishly handsome and talented boyfriend Michael is escorting her to the Ritz with a bulge the shape of a ring box in his pocket.

But something has gone wrong. Very wrong. By the end of the evening Fran is howling in bed with a bottle of cheap brandy and one of Michael's old socks.

In her quest to figure out why her life has suddenly gone down the pan, Fran comes up with a failsafe plan: live like a badger, stalk a stranger called Nellie and cancel her beloved Gin Thursdays in favour of drinking gin every night. But then Fran's friends force a very different plan on her and it's nowhere near as fun. How could eight dates possibly make her feel better?
But eventually she agrees. And so begins the greatest love story of all time. (Synopsis courtesy of

I thought this was a really fun book providing plenty of laughs throughout. This was a book that I got sucked into immediately, the writing was strong, the characters witty and interesting; I wanted to hang out with them as I knew we’d have some great adventures.

"I was free. I bought a pot of Ethiopian stew from a smiley man at a stall and got on a bus home, feeling unnaturally serene. When a teenager sat next to me and started playing speed garage through his mobile phone I jiggled along with him to the flava’s."

After a while though, I was admittedly put off by the amount of swearing and crude language in this novel. It sometimes felt unnecessary and while I’m an open-minded person, it could have just been toned down a bit. I guess I’m not used to seeing such language in the books I read, but credit to Lucy for pushing the boundaries a little.

Once I’d got over the language, I started to enjoy the novel once again. In fact, I think the language wasn’t as bad in the final chapters of the novel, or else I simply was too immersed to notice it by then! And I really was immersed; it was a book I looked forward to picking up each night.

The world of online dating which Fran reluctantly delves into provided some very comical moments, and the accounts seemed spot on from everything I know or have heard! Fran’s friends are also very strong and amusing characters, and probably the best character of all is a cat, Duke Ellington. I’m not even a cat person and cats like him are probably the reason why!

There are flashbacks to when Fran first met Michael which provide good context for empathising with her broken heart (and stalking tendencies) in the present. I thought the way Michael was written enables the suspense to be sustained as to why he would suddenly dump Fran. He doesn’t come across as a bad ‘un, so that leaves it quite open as to what the reader hopes for Fran.

Overall I’d say this is a really strong debut by an author who has a very promising future and I’d definitely recommend it.

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