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REVIEW: Slightly Foxed by Jane Lovering

Dear Ms. Lovering,

What interested me in “Slightly Foxed?” The blurb.

They say you’ll know when you’re in love. What if you don’t?

Alys, a single parent and certified romantic disaster area, is always falling for unattainable men-‘the latest one being the dead author of a "borrowed" book of poetry. When she reluctantly returns the book to its rightful owner, she meets Leo. He’s very much alive, very much attracted to her and, well, it’s love at first sight.

Isn’t it?

After all, she’s a single mum with a boring job in a bookshop and, as her daughter puts it, gravity’s not going to hold off forever. Leo’s got the financial stability she’s been craving and he looks like an aftershave advert. So it must be love.

Mustn’t it?

Then there’s Piers, whose spontaneity draws her like a magnet. But is it love she feels, or just his infectious love of life? Before she can choose, an unexpected source threatens to lay bare the lie she has been living for the last sixteen years.

With happiness close to slipping out of her grasp, Alys is forced to ask herself whether she’s ever really been in love at all.

The question of whether or not a person knows she’s in love. Lots of books feature love at first sight but what if the heroine genuinely isn’t sure? What if a guy is perfect, meets all her criteria, ought to be The One but she’s still not able to convince herself? How will an author work that out?

Another plus for me is the heroine. “Slightly Foxed” is more an adult Chick Lit style with Alys being a 36 year old mother of a 16 year old girl. Hey, I’ll never see 36 again but it’s nice to read about a heroine of that age who’s still attracting attention from men. She has obligatory Chick Lit dead end job working in a bookstore, lives in England – though in York for a change from usual London. Alys two men in her life and leads the reader on a merry chase before finally deciding on who the Right One. I like that she faces some harsh truths about herself and goes into the final relationship with open eyes.

Revealing who Alys finally realizes she’s in love with needs a spoiler to hide who she ultimately goes for. Though of course everyone in her life can see who truly fancies her and who makes her light up in his presence. I had a feeling she’d end up with Piers. After all, most Chick Lit heroines initially go for the man who won’t make the grade while ignoring the perfect man who’s right under their noses. And brave you for going for a May/August romance. Not too many of those in romance novels.

I like that Piers is interested in being Alys’s friend as well as her lover. He cares about her daily life, takes care of her after too much undoubtedly cheap wine and reminds her that if he’d just wanted her body, he could have had her the night when her Big Secret was revealed. Instead he wants her to want him, want sex, want them. And if she’s tempted to question his commitment, he reminds her he’s felt this way, and fought it, for four years. He knows they’re going to catch grief but is ready and willing to deal with it because she’s worth it. How can any heroine not puddle into mush at that?

Since I’m a long-standing cat fancier, I love Grainger, the grouchy curmudgeon in fur, and Casper the kitten stand-in for tissues. Though I cringed to see Alys seemingly abandon them at the end to head off into the sunset with her true love.

The humor had me in stitches such Alys’s views on Devon.

Past? From where to where? On a tour of obscure backwaters which haven’t featured anywhere since the Domesday Book writers rode through and thought, Oh, go on then, might as well use up this ink?

Or her thoughts as Leo kisses her

He grabbed me very firmly by both shoulders and kissed me deeply. I’d got used to being kissed by men who made the event feel as though my face was being attacked by half a pound of raw liver, but Leo-‘well, let’s just say he was hot.

or has to change a flat.

I was glad that Leo was happy to do the macho thing with jacks and wheelbraces while I sat on the verge. I’d thought he was too good to be true. He’d not shown any of the signs that men who wanted to date me normally displayed, i.e., traveling everywhere by bus with a stolen pensioner’s pass. Now he was, whoa, taking his shirt off. There was a sudden, almost reverential, lapse in my thinking ability while I watched a Diet Coke ad come to life in front of me.

And what woman, once she’s seen it, can forget the Diet Coke ad! Grrrrr, yum.

I delighted in the sharp descriptions.

Webbe’s stood at the tail end of one of York’s most popular tourist streets, where all the shops were so old and bent together that they looked like a pensioner’s outing. The bookshop’s walls hung unwillingly towards its next-door neighbour, an antique shop which sold overpolished copper warming pans, and with whose owner Simon carried on a viciously polite war of attrition over pavement space. The entire area was so self-consciously historic that I felt I should tint myself sepia just to work there.

Seventeen years of containment, of a memory dam which had resisted all other forces, gone in one night. Now, it wasn’t so much a question of facing the music, more of facing a full symphonic orchestra with a nuclear string section.
I staggered out of bed, wincing as my feet touched the floor and my legs
straightened. There was a cracking sound from my spine as I reached full height and dragged myself over to the small low window by judicious use of pieces of furniture. I had to lean quite heavily on the sill and close my eyes until the outside world stopped spinning, and I could get a proper look at it.
Oh shit. I mean, really, really shitty shit. With a big side order of fuuuuuuuckkkk.
The view wasn’t familiar. Not exactly. But I did know where I was. Oh God,
someone was going to die for this. It might be me.

Alys’s former husband turns out to be a good egg and not as oblivious as Alys hopes. Which speaks well for her since I hate it when a heroine’s choices in men make her look like a moron. Alasdair will be a good father to his second child as well as continuing to provide for Florrie. Alys’s relationship with her teenage daughter is great. One minute teenage angsting, the next reverting to a little girl’s despair for her aging pet, all followed by signs of the mature young woman waiting in the wings.

I have to ask where Pier’s use of “Ma” comes from. All I could think of were the famous “Ma and Pa Kettle” movies. I have never heard anyone use that term. It’s always Mom, Mommy or, if her offspring are peeved, Mother!

The epilogue…well let’s just say epilogues and I don’t usually get along well and this is a prime example of why. ‘Nuff said. The pace is at times a little slow but I thoroughly enjoyed the overall journey. B

~Jayne

This book can be purchased at Samhain Publishing.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

11 Comments

  1. GrowlyCub
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 14:59:48

    Quick question, what exactly is May/August? I assume it’s her who’s older. Does it just mean some age difference, but not as much as May/December would be?

    Inquiring minds want to know. At least this one does. :)

  2. Jayne
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 18:18:21

    SPOILERS!!!
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    Answer for the question is a MAJOR SPOILER

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    Alys is 36 and Piers is about 23.

  3. Jadan
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 20:29:01

    FWIW, my bf calls his mother “Ma”,course I have a lot of other names I call her, but I digress.

  4. kirsten saell
    Aug 23, 2008 @ 21:12:56

    Oooh. I’d love to be August to some hot young thing’s May then…

  5. SusanL
    Aug 24, 2008 @ 00:01:25

    Sounds like a book I would enjoy – thanks for the review.

  6. Karen Scott
    Aug 24, 2008 @ 04:04:48

    Funnily enough, as I was reading your review, I thought to myself, this isn’t the usual American-type humour, and then I came across the reference to York, and it all made sense.

    I just might buy this one. I like dry Brit wit.

  7. Jane
    Aug 24, 2008 @ 04:39:37

    Thanks, Jayne, for the wonderful review, and for all the nice things you’ve said about ‘Slightly Foxed’. I’m very glad that you enjoyed the story. Incidentally, for anyone who thinks age-gap relationships don’t work, I am twenty years older than my husband, and we’re very happy! Not that the book is based on real life – my cats are far more curmudgeonly even than Grainger…

  8. Jayne
    Aug 24, 2008 @ 07:03:07

    I am twenty years older than my husband

    Jane! You go girl!! That’s awesome.

    I once had a cat who was fine (though demanding, but then she was a Princess) at home but if I had to take her to the vet’s office…whoa boy, she could put the fear of God into the staff there.

  9. GrowlyCub
    Aug 24, 2008 @ 09:02:00

    My husband is 22 years older than me. I love age gap stories. So, keep finding them for us, please!

    I was intrigued by the August/May reference, I’d only seen May/December before. :) With the age difference involved, I’d have to say I’d call it September/May, grin.

  10. stef
    Aug 24, 2008 @ 12:13:10

    Sounds great. Here’s another addition to my wish list. Thanks for the review.

  11. All About Samhain « Jorrie Spencer
    Aug 26, 2008 @ 12:32:42

    […] Slightly Foxed by Jane Lovering B […]

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