Friday, March 25, 2022

Book Review: Bad Penny


By Sara Steven

Penny isn’t the girl she used to be, or the woman everyone thinks she is now. At 19, she bolted for London and never looked back. Nobody there knows who she was - not her care home colleagues, her boss, her clients or even her best friend and flat-mate. Auntie Mags is her only connection to her past, and she’s keeping schtum.

Oli can’t believe his luck. Not only is he about to fulfill his dream of really making a difference (assuming he wins his seat in the upcoming general election), now he’s met the perfect woman. Within a few dates he’s sure he wants to spend the rest of his life with Penny, and it’s all he can do not to shout it from the rooftops.

But Penny has hidden her secret by not shouting from any rooftops. In fact, the quieter, the better. So when Oli’s campaign swings into gear and the reporters start circling, it’s not only her future that’s about to come crashing down.

How can she find a happy ending with Oli when her past will definitely ruin his future, yet living with the lie will ruin their future together?

Then Penny’s past gets out of prison, and he’s about to turn up like a... bad penny. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

I couldn’t help but feel for Penny. There are some legitimate reasons as to why she doesn’t want anyone in her current life, other than her Auntie Mags, to know about her past. She’s done well at turning her life around and moving on–a wonderful career that helps others, coworkers who care about her, and a best friend she lives with. I don’t blame her for wanting to keep her childhood a secret from the world, at all cost. 

Oli and Penny are cute together. Regardless of how much Penny tries to keep up walls and protect herself from ever revealing the truth on who she really is, she can’t help but fall head over heels for Oli, and it’s obvious that Oli feels the same. But I could tell that Penny struggles with that, considering that the person he’s in love with isn’t at all who he thinks she is. At least, not entirely. It really boils down to whether she has any sort of moral obligation to let him know about her sordid past or not. 

Having Oli as someone who is out there front and center and in the public eye was a nice way to add another difficult layer to all of this. If anyone were to find out that he was involved with someone like Penny, the real Penny, it could end up becoming detrimental to his career. But is Penny’s past really her fault? That was something I struggled with while reading Bad Penny, because she admits to her blame in all of it, but I didn’t entirely agree with her sentiments. We often do a lot for those we love, and given how lonely and starved Penny had been for love and affection, particularly from motherly figures, I can see how those lines between right and wrong would become blurred.  

If you really love someone, do you love all of them–the good parts and the bad? That’s what Bad Penny asks its readers. Through it all, I really pushed for the relationship between Oli and Penny, because they both deserved their own happily-ever-after, and when the moment comes where everything comes crashing down, I was just as devastated as the main characters. There was a lot of heart and emotion in this read, making it an easy five-star experience! 

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK

Michele Gorman writes comedies packed with lots of heart, best friends and girl power. She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London.

Michele also writes cozy comedies under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.

Visit Michele online:
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