For Love or Money by Clodagh Murphy
Publisher: Balally Books
Publishing Date: 30th January 2020
Source: Received for review purposes.
Number of pages: 381
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Buy the Book: Kindle
Lesley has always fancied herself as an amateur sleuth, a sort of modern day Miss Marple without the support stockings.
So when Al wants to hire her to investigate his elderly uncle’s young fiancée, she jumps at the chance. It doesn’t hurt that the job will involve posing as Al’s girlfriend and joining his glitzy, star-studded family on holiday in Nice.
Stella still can’t quite believe she’s engaged to legendary actor Sir Peter Bradshaw. She accepted what she thought was a deathbed proposal. Now she has a living, breathing fiancé and a wedding to plan.
First, though, she has to get through a holiday in the South of France with Peter’s extended family, who all seem convinced she’s a gold-digger with her sights set on the family fortune.
As Lesley bonds with Stella over shopping trips and bottles of rosé, she thinks she has it all figured out. After all, it’s no great mystery why a young woman would marry a fabulously wealthy seventy-two-year-old with a heart condition, is it? It’s an old story.
And Al may be the nicest boyfriend she’s ever had (even if he is fake), but Lesley believes in instant attraction and there’s just no spark … no matter how fit he looks in his swimming trunks. So there’s no chance he’s going to grow on her.
But people have a way of surprising you, as she’s about to discover …
Sometimes Lesley likes to smarten up and colour her life, and the last fib at the speed dating lands her with the offer of a Private Investigator job – what a coincidence, as Lesley always fancied herself as an investigator, and after accepting the job, albeit a little reluctantly, she immediately gets a lovely file for the case. You have to start somehow, right? What is she supposed to do? Well, Al, the one she has met at the single events, asks her to pose as his girlfriend to unmask a potential gold – digger Stella, who is just about to marry his famous and wealthy uncle. A trip to the Riviera and mixing with some famous actors is thrown in as a bonus and Lesley jumps at the opportunity…
There was a great bunch of characters and maybe because of the huge number I had a feeling that we don’t know them well, that they’re not too deeply described and that their personalities are not so well captured. Except for Lesley actually, I didn’t have a feeling that I know the characters, you know, even Al and Stella were a bit too 2 – dimensional for me. I think the author has tried a bit too much to make Stella like an enigma, full of mystery and secrets – it seemed too forced and the final revelation, when not nice at all, didn’t turn my world upside down. Nevertheless, they were really bubbly and full of life and I liked their life – approaches, they were all so cool and relaxed. And Lesley was a truly exceptional leading character, she was hilariously funny and appealing and you can’t not like her. She was happy, living the moment and altogether enjoying the life. And also prone to accidents, jumping to conclusions and ready to take chances – accepting Al’s indecent proposal just proves it.
I truly loved the interactions between Lesley and Al. Lesley had such a special way with words, she had me smiling more than once, and those two really worked well together.
There are so many different paths in this book, so many subplots, and some of them are truly hilarious, like the YouTube obsessed mother for example, and they were a nice final touch to the story. Yes, you could live without them, but they were so funny so why forego them, right? I, for once, am really thankful for those laugh and eye – roll inducing scenes and events.
Altogether, it is a funny and also touching book, filled with sarcastic humour and brilliant one – liners. The writing style was light, easy and chatty, drawing you into the story immediately.
As a huge Clodagh Murphy’s fan I’ve been waiting impatiently for her new release. “For Love or Money” is a bit different to what I was expecting from this author but it doesn’t mean that it is a bad read, because of course it’s a wonderful, hilarious story full of quirky characters, misunderstanding, few secrets and hidden depth. However, I found it occasionally too long, the humour too forced and the plot not as complex as I’d like it to. And everything was happening oh so conveniently, there weren’t really any twists nor turns, which is a great shame. So as you can see probably see, I’m a bit in two minds about this book, that’s true, but it was for sure an entertaining and amusing novel. Try it for yourself, I’m sure you won’t regret it.
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