When I was offered an advance review copy of this by the publishers, I said ‘yes please’. Whilst I read a lot – I don’t think I’ve ever read a chick lit style book (I know it’s not the most complementary of descriptions – but you’ll know what I mean if I write that) where the main characters are gay. I have to say it wasn’t an important part of the book – the relationship woes were exactly the same as any book in this genre. Here’s the blurb:
“A brilliant, heart-warming and intensely funny story of love, heartache, friendship and family. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary.
Brutally dumped by her girlfriend, Ally is homeless, friendless and jobless… but at least she has Malcolm. Wounded and betrayed, Ally has made off with the one thing she thinks might soothe the pain: Emily’s cat.
After a long train journey she arrives home to her dad in Sheffield, ready to fold herself up in her duvet and remain on the sofa for the foreseeable. Her dad has other ideas. A phone call later, and Ally is reunited with her first ever beard and friend of old, Jeremy. He too is broken-hearted and living at home again.
In an inspired effort to hold each other up, the pair decide to sign up for the local half marathon in a bid to impress their exes with their commitment and athleticism.
Given neither of them can run, they enlist the support of athletic, not to mention beautiful, Jo. But will she have them running for the hills… or will their ridiculous plan pay off…?”
Whilst the book starts with the breakdown of Ally’s long term relationship with her girlfriend Emily, the real story of the book is Ally finding herself again. She’s clearly lost herself in Emily’s shadow over the years – not really thinking for herself at all – but over the course of the book finds herself again. This is with her relationship with her Dad, her old friend from school Jeremy, Jo who runs the local running group, and the women that own the local bakery. Each relationship brings something else to the table and all are really well written.
I loved Ally and Jeremy’s friendship – and how it developed over the book from initially feeling a bit wary and forced back together by their parents – to actually being inseparable BFFs!
Sheffield itself plays a starring role in the story. Having visited the city for the first time last year to visit my cousin, I hadn’t realised it was so hilly (built on seven hills, just like Rome – which I can imagine is a bit like when locals to me say ‘Birmingham, do you know we have more canals than Venice?’) Walking from my cousin’s flat into town for dinner was exhausting – so running round there must be horrific – and so I could really imagine how Ally and Jeremy struggled!
Ally’s relationship with her Dad was also lovely – and evolved during the book. He was a typical old school Dad and found it hard to help Ally – but you knew he had her back 100%.
Overall this was a lovely, easy read and I really enjoyed it.