‘Ohh dear’ is pretty much the phrase I would use to sum up this book, perhaps with an ‘exasperated’ or ‘deflated’ on the side. Seriously, Lindsey Kelk, what the heck happened with this book? Over the past year the I Heart series (of which I Heart London is the 5th book) has become my go-to for when I’m in the mood for something lightweight, fun and romantic that is farfetched but in the best possible way.
Unfortunately, this installment didn’t deliver on any of the above, and instead left me fuming and disappointed. In other words: I has a sad. And an angry. (This will probably be more of a rant than a review.)
Home is where the heart is. Right?
Angela Clark has fallen in love with New York – and it’s starting to love her back. But when she’s summoned home to England, she’s at risk of losing her shiny life to rain, warm beer and bad memories.
Talk about stepping back in time.
There’s Mark, the ex-boyfriend – who she ran to New York to get away from.
There’s Louisa, her best friend, with her terrifying new baby.
And there’s her mum, still talking to her as though she’s fifteen.
Now there’s a wedding in the offering – and everyone remembers how well Angela behaved at the last one…
Can the arrival of boyfriend Alex and new best friend Jenny save her from a re-run of her old self?
Please note: this review does contain some spoilers which are clearly marked so you can skip them!
It seems Lindsey Kelk is one of those authors that when she gets it right, she gets it marvelously right, but when she gets it wrong… oh man, she nose dives, crashes and burns. Like Kelk’s previous novels her writing in I Heart London is basic, and she spends more time describing shoes and Marc Jacob’s bags than she does adding to character depth and forming an intriguing plot – but that’s okay. This genre doesn’t rely on these things as much as others do and are not vital to making a book like this work. What is vital however, is the ability provide some laugh out loud moments and witty observations about everyday life, the ability to make the reader swoon at the romantic interest, and most importantly, you have to be able to get behind the main character and root for them to succeed. These are things that Kelk usually showcases so well but were completely lacking in I Heart London. I think I laughed maybe once, I definitely didn’t feel chemistry with the romance despite Angela and Alex being on of my FAVOURITE drool worthy fictional couples, and I’m pretty sure I wanted to slap the main character within the first three pages and the urge did not distill after I closed the cover… or even 3 hours after I had finished the damn thing!
This book just hit all the wrong notes for me, which I was shocked by because I was looking forward to this installment the most. I thought Angela returning home would be a really interesting and action-packed installment where she would have to confront all the fears and realities she ran away from, but most of this is sidestepped in favour of *drum roll*…
Yepp. This book basically felt like an unentertaining episode of Don’t Tell the Bride, but instead of the groom planning the wedding it was Angela’s turbulent friend, Jenny. This entire book pretty much consisted of the characters sitting around arguing about planning Angela’s trip down the aisle and making lots of phone calls. It wasn’t even about the interesting aspects of planning a wedding! The novel had no point of conflict apart from Angela’s two best friends bickering (which Angela could have prevented if she’d stopped to reassure her friends they weren’t being replaced for like 2 seconds) and Angela seeing her ex. It had a non-existent plot and…
*SPOILER ALLERT* SPOILER ALLERT* SPOILER ALLERT*
This entire book is basically pointless because all the snore worthy wedding planning doesn’t even lead up to anything – at the last minute before guests arrive they decide to cancel it. YOU SERIOUSLY MADE ME SIT THROUGH ALL OF THAT AND THEN YOU DIDN’T EVEN GIVE ME A FLIPPIN’ CHEESY WEDDING AT THE END OF IT KELK, WHAT THE HELL. The final chapter cuts to a ‘3 months later’ where the actual wedding takes place and you don’t get to see any of it. Oh so satisfying. Not.
My irritations about the lack of plot were only irked further by Angela’s constant moaning. She somehow manages to complain and whine her way through the entire story despite the fact that she has created a dream life where she lives in one of the most amazing cities in the world (New York), has the job she has always wanted doing what she loves and is about to get promoted, AND is about to get married to a gorgeous rockstar. It made me want to punch something. On top of that, she regularly lashes out at her parents every time they speak and dare to take even the slightest interest in her life after not seeing her for two years, and all I could think was, you could have parents who don’t care, you could have parents who wouldn’t be willing to pay for your dream wedding, or you could not have parents at all. Take a chill pill and appreciate what you have, because most people aren’t so lucky you ungrateful, selfish person.
It’s safe to say I didn’t enjoy Angela’s character development in this one, she makes the same mistakes she has in all the previous novels showing she clearly hasn’t learnt anything. She spends the whole novel wondering why her friend Jenny is so upset when it is blatantly obvious. She let’s her new best friend, Jenny say horrendous things to her UK best friend, Louisa that are totally unacceptable and doesn’t defend her or do anything about it, which is shocking as they’ve been friends since school whereas she’s only known Jenny two years (come to think of it, a lot of my dislike of this novel comes from how horrifically Angela treats her two best friends and everyone else around her). Jenny is almost as awful, lashing out at others because she’s heartbroken, while Louisa is equally unpleasant as the jealous friend (although for good reason). Meanwhile, Alex was still his same, charming self, but I don’t feel like he was given enough of a storyline.
Overall, it’s safe to say I did not enjoy I Heart London, with Angela acting like a spoilt brat and the basically non-existent plot which spent the whole novel building up to something which turned out to be unsatisfying, this book was a big miss for me, and even though I tried REALLY hard to find something I liked about it I couldn’t, which is why this book is getting 1 star. I hope Kelk will be back to her normal form in the next installment because I really do love this series and I’ve given all of the other books good ratings (Two five stars for starters!) but sadly, I Heart London gets a big thumbs down from me. However, I would recommend this series to anyone who loves far-fetched but fun escapism.
Writing Style: 3/5
Character Development: 1/5
Would I recommend this book? No, but the rest of the series, yes.