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REVIEW: Welcome to the Real World by Carole Matthews

Dear Ms. Matthews,

Welcome to the Real World The irony of your book is that it’s titled “Welcome to the Real World.” I know it’s fiction. I know it’s Chick Lit but you pile so many unbelievable events on top of so many others that I ended up not able to believe any of it. In order for me to buy into swallowing the fictional bits, I need a base of reality. When I stop in the middle of too many scenes and say, “What?!?” well, it doesn’t help me like a book.

Let’s take the heroine, Fern. She’s a wannabe singer eking out a life in London, living in a grotty bed sit while working nights in a pub singing with her best friend, Carl. It’s pretty standard Chick Lit. Then she gets a chance at a day job as a temporary personal assistant to a mega famous opera star. I know CL heroines are supposed to flub up their jobs and not let them get in the way of their pursuit of love but Fern manages to screw up not only that job but her singing one as well. And still not get fired from either. Then she gets a chance to take part in a show similar to American Idol and blows that as well. But still, that producer wants to sign her to a record deal. No way. There are just too many hopeful singers out there for me to believe this. And then, she has another agent hot to represent her despite mouthing off at him and suddenly, before recording a note, she’s being driven in limousines, buying a new huge house in London and sitting on top of the world. Even Britney had to actually release a CD before her millions started to roll in.

Then there’s the hero. Well, he turned out to be the hero but for a while I really wasn’t sure since he and Fern spent so little time together. Evan David is the opera star. He’s such a star that the paparazzi follow him, the Queen is a fan (I thought the Queen of England only cared about horse races), he’s got a permanent staff of 6, multiple houses, his own Lear jet, blah, blah, blah. Don’t get me wrong, I love opera but I don’t even think Pavarotti got treated like this. And somehow, despite the fact that for the entire book he and Fern barely have any conversations or soul bearing moments, he thinks he’s in love with her. You spend lots of time telling us how he’s been burned in relationships before, doesn’t think he’s got time for them yet he’s in lurve. Wishful thinking I can buy, true love, no. Especially when Fern hits the instant big time and I’m expected to believe that two people with high powered careers are somehow going to be able to work out HEA. Nope, I can’t.

Oh, and as an opera singer he’s fanatic about his health and his voice. This you got right. Well, until you have Evan catch a cold, have a doctor tell him he can’t sing at a prearranged charity event, then make Evan suddenly HAVE to go see Fern sing at her pub. Her smoke filled, slightly seedy pub. Then he gets on stage with her and sings! WTF!?! I just simply can not believe this. His voice is his livelihood. No way is an opera star going to risk this. The book barely missed being hurled at this point. My cat jumped up and ran off at my shouts of disbelief. He’s still in a huff about it.

On top of all this, you resort to tons of misunderstandings to keep the story going, have a London cabbie who tells his passenger he (the cabbie) doesn’t know where a place is (London cabbies are famous for their encyclopedic knowledge of the city) and have 83 chapters in the story. OK, I know that really doesn’t affect the actual story but, come on! 83 chapters? Does a Dickens novel even have 83 chapters?

I did finish this book but just barely. D for you.

~Jayne

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.

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