Wednesday, July 15

Practically Perfect - Katie Fforde

Interior decorator Anna has a huge and exciting challenge - her sister Laura has bought a broken down small cottage not far from London. All Anna has to do is fix it up for resale - from flooring to plumbing, and creating a stairway that's both sound and fits the interior architecturally and physically.
She didn't expect to acquire a retired greyhound, the perpetually high strung Caroline, and she never thought to contact the local building commission, who turn out to have rather strict requirements. She also didn't expect to find love.
I enjoy Fforde's novels, which tend to gentle English countryside romances, involving young single (or newly single) women who have a task to achieve and romance firmly off the agenda but creeping in anyway, and Practically Perfect was exactly what I expected. The characters are sufficiently three dimensional, the plot is believable and undramatic, the hurdles to romance don't stretch credibility too far, and the odd plot twist keeps things interesting.
Given Practically Perfect was published in 2006 I was a little disconcerted by the level of technological ineptness, demonstrated by the surprise Anna's neighbour and her sister show when discovering Anna set up an email address for herself unaided. She also went on a bit much about the tininess of the cottage, considering her young married neighbours are raising three boys in an identical (albeit habitable) home. These tiny quibbles aside, however, Practically Perfect was not particularly memorable or life changing but an amusing enough diversion. - Alex

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