Helen Cox is a UK author. She made her on-screen debut in The Krankies in 1990. Given the choice, her Mastermind topic would be Grease 2 and when someone asks her if she is a god she says 'yes.' Oh, you want to know about her books? Best click some of the links below.
If you follow this blog, you might have noticed I write fiction books about a 1950s diner. When I found out that Samantha Tonge, an author I follow on Twitter, had also written a book featuring a Fifties-themed diner I had to check it out, and I’m thrilled I did.
How to Get Hitched in Ten Days is told from the perspective of two characters: Jasmine, a young business woman with a job offer in New York and Mikey, her best friend who runs the Fifties-themed Polka Dot Diner. When Jazz’s boyfriend Dave gets drunk and issues the least romantic proposal known to mankind, the soft-hearted Mikey steps in to help Dave win back his girlfriend’s affections and get his proposal right.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful and surprising elements of this story are the subtle strands woven in as the plot progresses. Many of us would agree that a drunken proposal without a ring, and one that involved vomit to boot, wouldn’t leave us weak in the knees but, hidden in Jazz’s backstory, there are deeper reasons why this event spells disaster for the central couple.
This, alongside the fact that Jazz is soon to leave for New York, builds a steady tension in the narrative as the reader is kept guessing over whether Dave has what it takes to correct his colossal error before Jazz leaves Britain for good. Moreover, Jazz is a strong character determined to chart her own path in the world and though she clearly loves Dave very much, she isn’t willing to sacrifice her dreams for him. This quality not only deepens the ‘will they / won’t they’ suspense but also makes Jazz a compelling female protagonist on a significant personal journey.
A further strength to this book is the well-rounded portrayal of a believable and sweet-natured gay character. The story explores some of the prejudice and discrimination homosexuals still experience and it was refreshing to see this confronted in a sensitive manner. I feel gay characters are underrepresented in this genre, in culture generally in fact, so it was pleasing to see the author discard stereotype and portray Mikey as the sweet and sensitive human being he is.
Lastly, a special mention must of course be given to the diner setting. The Polka Dot Diner – complete with a juke box and mouth-watering waffles – makes for a deliciously quirky place for the action to play out and is so well-described it takes no effort at all to imagine yourself there.
If you’re looking for a story that will leave you with a wonderful, warm glow inside, this book is definitely for you. After reading this one, I can’t wait to read more of Samantha Tongue’s books – I’m hooked.
I’m awarding a well-earned FIVE STARS to this touching, humorous read that will both uplift and entertain.