Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge

Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge
Series: Doubting Abbey #1
Published: November 10th, 2013
Publisher: Carina
433 pages (ebook)
Genre: Chick lit
Acquired this book: From the Ontario Library Service
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin – I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke!

The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion.

So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m just Gemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward.

Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…

Doubting Abbey is one of those books that’s fun to read in between serious, heavy books where you don’t want to use a whole lot of brain power or experience many ups and downs emotionally. It was light, funny, and fluffy, with a few touching moments thrown in, especially toward the end.

Gemma Goodwin’s best friend and roommate, Abbey, is well-educated and from a good family. When her family enters a Million Dollar Mansion reality TV show, they need her help, but she promised her boyfriend she’d go to Africa on a mission to help orphans. Well, as it turns out, Gemma and Abbey just happen to be nearly identical, so Abbey and her aunt cook up a scheme for Gemma to pose as her, go to Applebridge Hall, her ancestral home, and help the family win the competition. I liked the idea behind the story and thought it was a fun premise. I haven’t read many books with a reality show premise. Gemma had to think about how the public would react, what they might want to see, and also be careful about appearing ladylike and not tarnishing her friend’s reputation. 

I’d love to visit (or live in) a place like Applebridge Hall. It was easy to picture, and I enjoyed the bits of history we learned about the place and its former inhabitants. There were some good side characters in the book, but my main issue was the main character and the love interest. Gemma could be really annoying. Her speech drove me crazy at times. Everything was ‘mega’ or ‘amaaazin’’. There was a part of me that liked her and understood why she did certain things, but then the other part of me thought she was absolutely ridiculous. But then maybe that was the point? I think that's why a lot of chick lit gets a bad name, unfortunately. Heroines who are silly, ridiculous, and act like bumbling idiots. Then there was Edward...the journal entries from his perspective drove me bonkers. They were completely unnecessary and didn’t add anything to the story. I’ve blogged for almost half my life in some form or another, and new to it or not, nobody would blog the way he did, with the conversational additions like ‘um’, ‘er’ and all the ellipses and stumbles and bumbles. Plus whenever something happened, he’d say in a vague way that he had to sign off, but if I heard a gunshot on my property, the last thing I’d do is wait until I’d finished typing about it and hit send on my blog before going to investigate. I had trouble getting invested in their relationship, mostly because there was little chemistry and Edward seemed so back and forth and hot and cold.

Doubting Abbey was light and fun. It wasn’t exactly realistic and there were parts that were way over the top, but sometimes those books are exactly what you need. I think I’m curious enough to read the second book, From Paris With Love, especially because it’s set in Paris. This one had as many pros as cons for me, but overall I enjoyed it and it was a nice break from some of the heavier books I’ve been reading lately.

Have you read Doubting Abbey? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you enjoy chick lit? Let's talk here or on Twitter

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, I actually enjoy chick lit occasionally but this one doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Still, I am curious why the two look like each other. Is that explained?


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