Perfect men might be boring, but perfect (or seemingly perfect) women are completely detestable. That’s why women everywhere adored Helen Fielding’s very flawed Bridget Jones when she burst onto the chick lit scene, and why they forgave Becky Bloomwood’s uncontrollable shopping addiction in Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series. Now, along comes Ellie Andrews, whose built-in inferiority complex and irrepressible curvy figure both serve to make her incredibly charming and relatable.
In Ruth Saberton’s Ellie Andrews Has Second Thoughts, Ellie is about to get married, and as wedding-day jitters threaten to throw off her nuptials, she begins to look back upon her previous relationships. What ensues is a hilarious romp back and forth in time while we meet all of Ellie’s loves, past and present. The big mystery (very much like the premise behind the sitcom How I Met Your Mother) is the groom’s identity, and Saberton keeps us guessing through the entire novel, even inserting a neat twist into the final chapters to bring the suspense to maximum intensity.
Though she is often blind to other people’s weaknesses as well as to her own failings, Ellie is sweet and it’s easy to like her. For instance, Ellie often brings up her struggles with weight, which she’s dealt with by simply not dieting. Yet, despite her size, Ellie is fascinating to any number of handsome and clever men, and this fact sends an important message to women who feel that they have to starve themselves to be good dating material. In fact, Ellie’s fun-loving personality and her modest self-image (she thinks too little of herself, but that’s sadly symptomatic of women) is probably what attracts all of these men to her.
The novel, reminiscent of Sophie Kinsella’s work, is simply delightful from start to finish, and though (like Ellie herself) it’s not particularly deep or thought-provoking, we leave the experience feeling happier and satisfied. Saberton keeps us guessing about the story’s outcome until nearly the final page, and with Ellie for company, the journey to that moment is well worth the read.
Thanks to Trafalgar Square Publishing for the book in exchange for an honest review.
Miriam Plotinsky is an English and creative writing teacher. She lives in the DC/Metro area with her husband and three kids, who occasionally give her the time she needs to write and eat sushi.
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