Paperback: 463 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Orion Books UK 2012
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentence: 'At the age of thirty, Katie Lavender believed she was better equipped than most when it came to receiving bad news.
Review Quote: With marvellous writing, eccentric characters and a great plot, this has it all. (CLOSER 2012-08-11)
My Opinion: Great Escapism
Erica James is an author I have been a long time fan of, since 1996 in fact when I read A Breath of Fresh Air. The Real Katie Lavender makes the thirteenth novel of hers that I have read. After having not read any of her books for a few years this is the second in the last few months, great escapism just what I have needed recently. Her novels might not be literary but they are always well constructed, this latest one is no exception, with lots of secrets revealed.
The biggest secret of all is revealed to the heroine of the title Katie Lavender by a solicitor a year after the death of her mother. It is not a spoiler to tell you about this big secret as the reader knows all about it from the start of the novel. Katie is the recipient of a large trust fund that has been built for her by her birth father, a great shock to her that the man she called Dad was not her biological father but a man named Stirling Nightingale. Curiosity gets the better of her and despite her initial reactions to this news she decides she wants to find out more about this man. Her clandestine enquiries lead her to discover that she is part of what from the outsider's view point appears to be a very successful and happy family with a perfect lifestyle! In fact the family turns out to be plagued with problems, some of the characters are very stereotyped and you find yourself sympathising with some and irritated beyond belief by others. Katie becomes embroiled in the life of the Nightingale's and their complicated family relationships as they all seem to lurch from one family crisis to another. A good mix of romance, drama and humour that will keep you reading to find out how all will be resolved.
In conclusion then if you are looking for contemporary fiction that is pure escapism then Erica James will satisfy your requirements.
I have reviewed some of her earlier novels on the blog. They are Tell It To The Skies, It's The Little Things Hidden Talents. and The Hidden Cottage.
I am having trouble posting videos on the blog but here is the link to Erica James discussing the novel on YouTube. The Real Katie Lavender
Erica James, née Sullivan was born in 1960 in Surrey, England, UK and she grew up on Hayling Island, Hampshire from the age of 4. Now divorced, with two grown-up sons, Edward and Samuel, she divides her time between Cheshire, UK and Lake Como, Italy
She began writing after attending a creative writing course at the Arvon Foundation, and published her first novel in 1996. In 2006, her novel Gardens of Delight won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award from the Romantic Novelists' Association. Erica James is the author of sixteen best selling novels including her most recent, The Real Katie Lavender.
Apparently she has an insatiable appetite for other people's business and will readily strike up a conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. She finds it is the best way to write authentic characters for her novels, although her two grown up sons claim they will never recover from a childhood spent in a perpetual state of embarrassment at their mother's compulsion.
The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the author's publicist and following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.
Goodreads - Author Profile Erica James - Official Author Website Facebook Profile
Amazon - Author Profile