Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Review: The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne

Uk book cover of The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne
Why yes, we are still discussing the books I was given for my birthday and yes, they are still the only books I have access to. Thank you for asking. The Vintage Girl was also sent to me by Charlotte - clearly she just has good taste in literature.

Plot summary: When Evie Nicholson is asked to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive the family heirlooms, she jumps at the chance. Evie's passion for antiques means that, for her, the castle is a treasure trove of mysteries just waiting to be uncovered.

But in each heirloom lies a story, and in the course of her investigations Evie stumbles upon some long-buried family secrets. Add handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit gala to the mix and Evie's heart is sent reeling with an enthusiasm that may just extend beyond the Kettlesheer silver... 

I'm picky about my chick-lit (I don't like the term but I don't know what else to call it) - I'm only really interested if there's a twist to it. I don't want 'boy meets girl,' I want 'boy meets girl who has a really interesting job and there are probably some issues around that as well,' or something vaguely similar. Not only does The Vintage Girl fit neatly into that latter category, I also read Hester Browne's The Little Lady Agency years ago and completely fell in love with it.

It made me laugh out loud by the second page, which is always a good start. Frankly, it's a charming, lovely book. It's written very well in a casual, chatty tone that never 'clunks' or makes me cringe and actually emphasises the other plotline - saving Kettlesheer Castle and uncovering the family secrets from a century ago. It's a very nice balance that never made me feel like I was being patronised.

Evie herself isn't your typical fluffy, useless heroine - tripping over her own feet and breaking the china, etc. That said, she's hardly Superwoman either and it's quite refreshing to having a protagonist that I can actually relate to. I couldn't actually tell which of the romantic interests she was going to end up with because they were both nice (which makes a change) so it gave me something to look forward to.

   Along with his suggestive mouth and cavalier way with priceless heirlooms, his hair was one of his redeeming features, being thick and black and tinged with grey, in a sort of rakish Shakespearean-actor fashion. In idle moments, I sometimes pictured him in a doublet and ruff, complaining about the price of lampreys.
   Sadly, the hair and mouth did not make up for the foul temper, the inability to work a credit-card machine, or the biting sarcasm that he liked to think was Wildean but usually made him come across more like a petulant geography teacher.

My only complaint was that the ending is slightly anti-climactic and that certain people didn't really get their comeuppance. I have a Thing about that - when fictional characters misbehave, then they should Have to Learn (it's also the only thing wrong with Pride and Prejudice - damn it Lydia!). Anyway, I just felt that the ending could have been built up a little more or perhaps been slightly more dramatic. 

I now want to read everything Hester Browne has ever written and also reread The Little Lady Agency. I read the entirety of The Vintage Girl in one day just because it made me feel so content and relaxed. It's a lovely unique book - well-written chick-lit with a twist!

This book was:
Visit Hester Browne's website or find her on Twitter.


  1. I really liked this one as well, it's so fun. I can recommend The Runaway Princess, which I enjoyed even more than Vintage Girl.

  2. Okay, this sounds awesome. I have The Runaway Princess, but CLEARLY I'm going to have to start building up a collection of her other books as well. :)

    OOOH on the topic of Pride and Prejudice - do you have the Word Cloud Classics edition of it yet? Pink, blue lettering, kind of flexibound? Every time I stumble across a new classics series I have to check with you in case I've found the mythical beast that is One You Haven't Got Yet.

    1. Uhh... no, I do not. I think you may have stumbled across the Holy Grail there, Ellie! I've never even heard of Word Cloud Classics!

  3. Hi hanna!!
    I am running the Book Blog awards this year and wanted to let you know nominations have been extended and are now open until october 12th. u'res would be great for the new adult'/contemporary category. There are 13 awards up for grabs. You may nominate your own blog or ask your readers to nominate you. Readers vote on November 15th.
    Please leave a comment on my blog or tweet me @emancipatedmimi to get the badge to add to your site. You may use it to encourage your readers to vote for your blog on Nov 15th. The awards are intended to be fun and exciting, and get your blog some exposure as well. Hope you will join =) I'm usually on twitter so tweet me anytime with questions or comments =)
    official announcement video:
    NOMINATE here:
    VOTE HERE on Nov 15:


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