The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood

"Life is too blummin' short not to have a giggle while you can." 

Title - The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance
Author - Kirsty Greenwood
Publication Date - April 9th 2015 
Publisher - Pan
Format - Paperback (Provided via author)
Pages - 400

The blurb

Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she's been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother. 

Things aren't going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage payments staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras! 

When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads - by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady. 

The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda's guides still work. It's going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off...

Becca's thoughts

I am speechless. Absolutely, honest to God, 100% speechless. I have no idea of where to even begin with my review of The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood. There's so much I want to say, so many gorgeous things that I want to comment on, and I'm almost certain that the majority of my thoughts will come to me once I'm away from this review and my laptop, gah! So, bookish beauts, I'm going to try my best to convey my utter, utter adoration of this book to any would-be readers out there in the big wide world, although whether it will make sense or not is another matter entirely. 

Before I really get into my review, I want to say a huge, incredibly grateful thank you to the author Kirsty Greenwood, for sending me a beautiful, beauuuutiful proof of The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance in the post. I've said it before and I'll say it again, NOTHING BEATS BOOKS IN THE POST! What makes it even better is when the book in question just happens to be one that you've been seriously looking forward to. Of course, in typical Becca fashion, my to-read pile is about 47957 times the size of me, and it took me a while to finally reach it, but my GOD, was the wait (even though it slowly killed me) worth it! 

The cover for The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance is stunning, is it not? I love a bit of "vintage fashion" at the best of times, so the polka-dot red dress and the flower in the hair really worked for me. What I loved even more about the cover though (and yes, typical modern-day girl), is the fact that the lady on the cover (who is the perfect cartoon depiction of Jessica Beam) is holding a mobile phone, which clashes so fantastically with the whole vintage theme of the story within, I can't help but to grin stupidly when I look at it! The blues, the whites, the reds, the font! The whole package is to die for, just indescribably perfect... But, despite all of the gushiness over Kirsty's cover, and despite it becoming one of my favourite covers EVER, it doesn't, not even slightly, hold a single frickin' flame to the story within... 

So, it took me about fifteen pages, twenty tops, to come to the conclusion that Jessica was, without a doubt, one of the most charmingly funny, ridiculously endearing and entertaining characters that I have ever come across before. I just couldn't help but to adore her and her crazy, onesie-wearing ways! She was bubbly, sometimes a little clumsy, and made me smile and laugh right the way through this book. Jessica Beam is one of those characters whose lives you think about long after you turn the final page of their story, because not only are they alive within the pages of the book, but they're completely alive in your mind, too. Vivid and bold and dancing around in your imagination. Jessica Beam, to me, instantly became the sort of character who I wanted good things to happen to, I wanted her to come out on top, I wanted her to be loved, not only by me, but by the thousands of would-be readers out there in the world. I wanted Jessica to be known by every chick-lit fan, to be talked about long after the book's publication date, and I'm sure, after reading countless reviews from fellow book-bloggers, that this has happened. In the lead-up to writing my review, I've seen Jessica Beam's name everywhere, and as crazy as it sounds, it makes me smile to know that she's just as loved by other readers as she is loved by me. 

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance follows Jessica Beam's story, beginning at the point where she and best friend Summer traverse to a popular London publisher who has shown an piqued interest in their joint blog, Summer in the City (although let's be real here, Jessica is the one who does the real work when it comes to their blog, Summer just takes the pictures and looks pretty). After a few choice words after their visit, Summer throws Jessica out of their shared place, and Jessica is left homeless, money-less, and destination-less. By chance, Jessica stumbles across the fact that she has a grandmother out there somewhere, known as Dorothy Beam, so turning up on her grandmother's doorstep, Jessica's plan is to borrow some money (after all, grandparents live for their grandchildren, right?) and hot-foot it to somewhere far, far away. Unfortunately for Jessica, Dorothy Beam has other plans, plans which work beautifully alongside her previously published work, which are 1950's Good Woman guide books. In order for Dorothy to finally have the chance to get her work back out there in the big, wide, world, she has to prove that the Good Woman guides can still work in today's modern society, where women no longer simper and coo at their male companions, and who better to play the 1950's Good Woman role than her unruly, rebellious, outspoken granddaughter Jessica Beam? Jessica's goal is to capture the heart of playboy Leo Frost, not as herself of course, but as a 1950's Good Woman

I'd heard people talking about how freakin' good this book was, but I truly had no idea until I ventured into Jessica Beam's world for myself. It had everything, and I mean everything, that a chick-lit/romance reader could dream of, and then so much more. I can tell you now that there wasn't a single thing that was out of place in this book. It had me grinning, it had me frowning, it had me screaming, it had me swooning... I was all over the bloody place! Seriously, I had no idea that the author was capable of making me feel this way about a fictional character and her circumstances. 

It was quirky, sophisticated, girly, romantically funny and true joy to lose myself within. My only grumble is that Jessica Beam IS NOT REAL! I want to know this woman, I want to annoy her with my chatter while she's trying to go for a morning run, I want to see exactly how she looks after her vintage make-up, and I would do anything, ANYTHING, to see her face once this absolutely PERFECT BOOK comes to an end. There needs to be sequel. THERE NEEDS TO BE A MOVIE. There needs to be SOMETHING MORE FROM JESSICA BEAM, because it's been days now, days I'm telling you, and she hasn't left my head. I hope she's happy (weirdest thing ever, isn't it?) and I also hope that I get to be reunited with her, and the fantastic characters she's surrounded by, one day in the future, because the thought of never being in Jessica Beam's world again saddens me so, so much.

Kirsty Greenwood, I cannot begin to tell you how chuffed I am that you sent me a copy of your book. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't yet read your first Yours, Truly but after this bombshell of a book, I'll definitely be venturing into another world of yours sometime soon. It terrifies me that I could have missed the chance to live alongside Jessica, and I so thankful that I didn't. I cannot recommend this book enough to EVERYBODY. It is outstanding. It goes without saying how many cupcakes this baby's getting. 



1 comment :

  1. WOW! I am speechless after your awesome review... *clicks to add to TBR*