Women’s fiction

All posts tagged Women’s fiction

Living The Dream – Lauren Berry

Published July 6, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

A funny, satirical, sharp and honest look at modern British life from the perspective of two young women. The launch of an exciting new voice from Virago Press.

Emma Derringer is an assistant at a branding agency in London. Each morning she arrives at the office, types in her password (Fresh_He11) and shoves her jacket under her desk (DEAR ALL, Please keep your coats and bags out of sight and NOT on your chairs as they are unsightly. Thx). Most days Emma wears a mask of indifference that disguises either her boredom, her hangover or both. When her overbearing boss isn’t looking she pursues her career as a writer, sending articles, posting blogs and trying to get noticed for her talent, instead of mistakes on her PowerPoint presentations.

Clementine Twist arrives home from a stint in New York with a hefty overdraft, a crushed heart and a waning confidence in her budding career as a screenwriter. She moves in with her mum, gets a job in bar and spends her days composing emails to agents, producers and anyone who might help her onto the slippery ladder of the film industry.

As their 30s loom and the freedom and fun of their 20s gives way to the adult pressures of job satisfaction and perceived success, Emma and Clem realise it’s time to ramp up their efforts, and think about quitting the day job.

Amid life’s larger questions Emma and Clem have to answer to the daily challenges of big city life on a little budget, as well as inane questions about getting their nails did from their mutual frenemy Yasmin, the phone to increasingly technophobic parents and emails to ever more rejection letters.

Living the Dream is a razor-sharp comic novel of office life, friendship and the search for meaning.

What did I think?:

First of all happy publication day to author Lauren Berry with her debut novel, Living The Dream! Secondly, a huge thank you to Grace Vincent and Little, Brown publishers for allowing me to read a copy in exchange for an honest review. To be perfectly honest, I don’t normally read books within this genre. However, when Grace contacted me and I read the synopsis I was in the mood for something light-hearted and funny so I was happy to give it a shot and was intrigued to read a story about a group of twenty-somethings living the hectic, London life attempting to balance work, friendship, having fun and falling in love.

Our story focuses on two girls of a similar age and personality, best friends Emma and Clem (the latter of whom just happens to have a fantastic name – Clementine Twist). They both appear to have what the other one desires, Emma has the stable job in advertising with a steady, decent wage that enables her to pay her rent on the flat she shares with a friend, go out occasionally and treat herself from time to time if she wanted. Clem on the other hand has just come back from New York where she was studying film, getting involved and then breaking up with an idiot actor boyfriend and trying her hand at writing her own script, still to be commissioned as she touches back down on Earth (aka London).

Both girls are miserable. Emma is desperately unhappy at her job and wants to jack it all in to pursue her real dream – writing, but is terrified of making that big jump and losing that guaranteed wage that she has become accustomed to. Clem is attempting to set up meetings with directors and people interested in her script with varying degrees of success but is having to live with her mum and stepfather and is completely broke, forced to take up bar work just to get some money coming in. Living The Dream looks at both girls lives as they attempt to navigate the scary adult world of budgeting and chasing your dream whilst realising the grown up experience might not be everything it’s cracked up to be.

As I mentioned before, this isn’t the genre I would normally go for and, as a result, I didn’t fall head over heels in love with this novel. However, it does have some terrific things going for it and in the right pair of hands would be highly enjoyable I’m sure. I did sympathise with the plight of both characters and enjoyed the strong friendship between the two although also appreciated that the author wasn’t afraid to take the story to darker places on occasion, something I wasn’t expecting. I also liked that this novel didn’t harp on about “finding the right man,” which was a breath of fresh air in this genre and focused more on the interactions between friends than the dynamics of male-female relationships. I don’t really want to criticise the novel as I believe it’s purely a personal preference why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped to and there are no stand out writing flaws or character quirks that I out and out disliked. So even though I may have not been the perfect reader for this story, I can still appreciate the positive aspects of the narrative and am certain there is a strong readership out there who will love it.

Would I recommend it?:


Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Confessions of Two Bibliophiles #5

Published April 5, 2014 by bibliobeth

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I’ve been analysing my reading recently and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just don’t enjoy chick-lit as much as I used to. As you know, it used to be pretty much all that I read. I’m not knocking it, I have read so many good chick-lit books, but I’m wondering why I don’t enjoy it much anymore. I’ve only found one author that I continue to adore. My old favourites are no longer favourites anymore! Do you think it’s because I’m reading more widely and opening my mind to new genres?

Now, I know that you really detest chick-lit! I want to know what it is that puts you off it so much? I know I don’t read it as much as I used to, but have you ever given chick-lit a chance?


Oh dear, I just knew this chick-lit question was going to come up sooner or later! For anyone that doesn’t know my sister is slightly more of a fan than me of this particular genre and we enjoy teasing each other about it. I am quite surprised that you aren’t enjoying chick-lit as much as you used to but I have just a teensy tiny smile on my face as I hope that I have opened your eyes up to some exciting new genres! I think this is probably why you aren’t enjoying it as much as you did, that used to be the only thing you would really read – were you scared of trying something new and did you prefer to stick with your comfortable chick-lit that you knew you would always enjoy?
For me, chick-lit just doesn’t float my boat. I have no problems with people who do read it as I think people should be encouraged to read whatever they like. As long as people are actually reading books who cares what the subject is? Why do I have a problem with chick-lit. Well…. (braces herself)…. I just don’t think it has much “substance?” It always seems to be the same old story, and I just don’t think there’s enough excitement or thrills in there to get me going. I have read some Cecilia Ahern and enjoyed it, and one of my favourite authors is Jojo Moyes, do you think they are classed as chick-lit? What does the word chick-lit mean to you?
I would certainly always give a book a chance (even if you see me screw up my face at a particularly slushy cover), do you think there’s a chick-lit book out there you could recommend that I could possibly enjoy?

I think you’re right, it is because I’m reading more genres. It just feels a bit sad to not enjoy it as much as I used to. I definitely need to find a good recommendation for you out of the many chick-lit authors I’ve enjoyed. You need to try one! I’ve tried Stephen King… it’s your turn now… Mwahahahaha!

I think some chick-lit can be a bit samey and happily ever after. But there are some exceptions to the rule.

I define chick-lit as something that is aimed towards females. I definitely think Cecelia Ahern fits into that mould. I’m not so sure about Jojo Moyes. I know Goodreads defines her as ‘women’s fiction’… well isn’t that chick-lit? Maybe there should be a new sub-genre…chick-lit-with-depth. She’d fit into there nicely.


I now set you a challenge! You must recommend to me a chick-lit book that I promise faithfully that I will read and then let you know my opinion. Do you accept this challenge? I may have proved you wrong with Stephen King maybe you will prove me wrong with chick-lit?
I agree that chick-lit is something that is aimed towards women, although don’t you think that’s such a sexist category? Like we could only read those types of books otherwise our brains may implode?! And what’s the difference between women’s fiction and chick-lit anyway? Maybe the former appeals to women but isn’t necessarily as easy to read as chick-lit?
I totally accept your challenge. I must now think hard about the book that I’m going to recommend you.

I’ve never really thought about it before, but you’re right, it is a sexist category. I’m sure both sexes would enjoy a lighter read.

I always assumed that woman’s fiction and chick-lit were the same thing, but I’ve recently seen it categorised as two different things. Maybe woman’s fiction might be more directed towards those that don’t fit into that Young Adult age range and as you say it’s not as easy to read as chick-lit. I kind of have a problem with putting an age limit on books though. Adults enjoy young adult and i’m sure some Young Adult fans like chick-lit. Again, why should it be easier to read if you’re a ‘chick’? We’re not stupid, and it feels like that term is dumbing down our reading choices.

So I don’t know the official distinction between woman’s fiction and chick-lit, but our chat has given me lots to think about.


So now it’s over to you! We’d love to hear some of your comments and ideas about chick-lit, are you in my camp or Chrissi’s? Am I totally wrong about chick-lit and if so why? Please feel free to join in our little debate.