And when Dominic turns up unexpectedly in search of his dream house, she begins to wonder if home is really where the heart is. But she’s over him, isn’t she?
I chose this book because I’ve read and enjoyed Katie Fforde’s, Recipe for Love, A Perfect Proposal, Love Letters, Going Dutch, Practically Perfect, Paradise Fields and Artistic Licence… to name a few. In fact it wasn’t until I started the list that I realise just how many I’ve consumed in a period of years. That’s part of the beauty and charm of Fforde’s writing. You can be completely absorbed in her world of quaint towns and village life for a few hours then put it down and out of your mind. Therefore each time you pick it up its like rediscovering an old friend.
Fforde’s writing can be rather formulaic at times but that is not necessarily a critique. She knows what she’s good at and more importantly she knows what we won’t which I think why I’ve come back to her over and over without even realising. I confess this isn’t my favourite of her novels despite the fact that it ticks all the boxes. Small town, check. Previous heartbreak, check. Crappy current boyfriend, check. Return of the dashing heartbreaker, check. Task that allows our heroine independence, check. But for some reason, this particular novel didn’t work for me.
Fforde usually portrays strong yet heartbroken women looking for a way to restore their confidence and sense of self worth. But I found Bella a highly irritating. She never seemed to stick up for herself in the face of her boyfriend’s belittling, irritated smiles and quick changing of subjects left me yelling ‘say something!’. She quickly discovers that passive aggression gets you nowhere but strong-armed into an unwanted marriage and home. Nevil is the stock patronising, misogynistic ‘bad guy’ that I refuse to believe could possibly exist. Although I myself am not, and never have been, a man I have always found the male characters in Fforde’s writing to be fairly well rounded and complex, not as much so as the heroines, but enough to be believable. Nevil is nothing but a caricature and Dominic is barely explored.
That being said, it is always possible that my opinion is heavily coloured by my own personality. It is possible that relationships like Bella’s do exist but I could never see myself putting up with the behaviour that Bella does and therefore cannot relate with her. But I love Alice! She is a ray of sunshine! A perfect balance of classic and modern, opinionated yet understanding. She is the figure of the older lady that any young woman would be happy to have in their life. Alice conducts her relationship with Michael perfectly by being open and adventurous yet cautious enough to be sure. What is wonderfully refreshing is that she is independent, unmarried with no children and perfectly happy, there is no sense of judgement.
The Perfect Match is a story about exactly that, be that the perfect house, perfect house-mate or relationship. There are an expanse of truly heart warming relationships displayed throughout the novel to offset the more enraging ones. Katie Fforde is a wonderful way to take a few hours to yourself, get lost in her world and relate to or castigate her characters. I’d recommend you try her novels for yourself to get lost in quiet, quaint towns across Britain.