Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Love Me or Leave Me

By Becky Gulc

I’ve been lucky enough to review a couple of Claudia Carroll’s novels now and have enjoyed each one, particularly Me and Youwhich is just a wonderful story. Needless to say I was very happy to review Claudia’s latest novel, Love Me or Leave Me. Here is the synopsis:

‘Chloe Townsend was dumped at the altar. But now she's landed an incredible new job.

She’s running a pioneering boutique ‘divorce hotel’. It will make every aspect of breaking-up pain-free – all in a single weekend.

No one is better qualified than Chloe to deal with relationships at crisis point, but, with three unhappy couples needing her help, she's forced to tackle her own secret heartbreak.

Can she hold it together and prove that she's over it and up to the job?

The opening weekend approaches, and it soon becomes clear that some endings can be VERY exciting new beginnings…’ (Courtesy of HarperCollins UK.)

Whilst the premise for a ‘divorce hotel’ made me go ‘really?’ to begin with, if I’m honest, such a thing does actually exist and I thought it sounded like an interesting concept for a book. I thought the introductions to each character were great. We feel for Chloe and like her immediately, and we get a real sense of the dynamics at play for each of the three couples at the centre of the book by way of seeing their wedding invitations, completely different couples.

Even though there are three different couples as well as Chloe (the only one in first person narrative), I never found it confusing to keep up with who was who, Claudia’s characters are all very distinctive. Whilst Chloe is keen to vet everyone staying at her hotel to make sure it’s fairly amicable between people and they’re sure divorce is right for them, it would be too easy wouldn’t it if it were this straightforward?

I enjoyed all the couples’ stories, we slowly find out more and more about their histories. I particularly warmed to Jo and Dave as characters, even though Jo appears uptight, much of what we learn of the relationship is through seeing their quite harsh email exchanges. I felt like as a reader her defences were slowly broken down and of course we learnt more about what had happened in their relationship to bring them to the hotel, I was really routing for these two.

My only criticism, and this is very minor, is that some of the logistics didn’t seem to stack up or weren’t explained fully, but apologies if this is just my interpretation or I missed something. It was explained that Chloe interviews everyone personally before agreeing to them staying at the hotel, with a lot of guests from overseas (who were supporting rather than main characters). I didn’t see how this would have been possible, and skype or telephone interviews weren’t mentioned. I also wondered about the practicalities of Chloe taking the second weekend off that the hotel has been open especially if the emphasis is that the divorces are sorted out over a weekend. These things didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the novel at all, but I did wonder about them.

Overall I loved this book and it was a book I got through quite quickly as I was keen to see what happened to all the couples. A great book and I look forward to the next one. When I think about which author’s books I would actively go out and buy, if I weren’t reviewing Claudia’s would definitely be on that list.

Thanks to Avon for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Claudia Carroll:


Janine said...

This sounds like a really interesting story. Thanks for the review.

Look at Atlantic Highlands NJ House cleaning site info said...

"Love Me Or Leave Me" is a musical gem! It is a very polished and extremely entertaining film in which Doris Day plays 1920s singer Ruth Etting. James Cagney's fine performance of her gangster manager-husband and the vintage songs highlight the picture. It was made in CinemaScope and only by watching it in its original widescreen format can the film be fully appreciated.