On the last day of the blog tour, I’m really delighted to share my review of A Wish For Jinnie by Audrey Davis: published on 22nd June, this lovely book is now available both for kindle and in paperback via Amazon in the UK and US. Many thanks, as always, to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for providing my e-copy for review.
I was so thrilled when I saw that Rachel was running this tour! I had the great pleasure of meeting Audrey at a Leeds #TBC event in March last year, when I also won a signed copy of The Haunting of Hattie Hastings. Look – here we are…
I know Audrey was looking forward to seeing what I thought of it – it’s still there, on my “special signed books” shelf, but I’m really rather ashamed that I still haven’t got round to reading it. But I have now, at long last, had the joy of reading one of her books – and it was just wonderful. Let’s take a closer look…
What if wishes really could come true?
When Jinnie Cooper is dumped by her fiancé, and exiled to a job in an antiques shop in a sleepy Scottish village, little does she know a battered old lamp is about to shake up her life.
Genie Dhassim grants wishes. But he also wants a few of his own to come true. Letting him explore the outside world proves nerve-wracking as Dhassim has an uncanny knack of putting his pointy-slippered foot in it.
As Jinnie grows closer to her employer Sam, Dhassim discovers his time on earth is running out.
Can both Jinnie and Dhassim find true happiness? Or are those wishes that cannot be granted?
A genie that grants wishes – that doesn’t sound like my kind of book at all, does it? But oh my goodness, it most certainly was – I enjoyed every moment of this gorgeous read, and I’m really kicking myself that it’s taken me so long to discover Audrey Davis’ quite wonderful writing.
Jinnie’s had a really rough time – a boyfriend who really didn’t deserve her, a traumatic break-up that’s done little for her confidence, and a forced move to a village outside Edinburgh where she hopes to make a fresh start. At first sight, things don’t look too promising – the high street boutique is full of crimplene, most of the residents seem to be of the age that wear it, and the employment opportunities don’t really look any too great either. But life looks up when she finds a part-time job in Sam’s antique shop – and the fact that the man himself is also rather pleasing on the eye might just see life looking up a bit for her. But she hadn’t really hadn’t bargained on Dhassim becoming part of her new life – but I guess that’s what can happen when you pick up a shabby looking lamp and decide to polish it up.
He’s a wonderful character, and their relationship as he brings a touch of magic into her life brings so much of the humour in the book. His wish-granting abilities might be a tad questionable at times, but his take on the modern world and the time they spend together are just so much fun (his passion for Jennifer Aniston and the Spice Girls, his new attachment to comfy trackie bottoms – and you’ll never believe what he can do with a rug…!).
But the genie thread is really only a part of the story – and although it was so wonderfully done, there were other elements to the book that made me enjoy it even more. I really loved Jinnie’s character, her warmth and generosity, her self-deprecating humour – and she also has a wonderfully supportive family that feature heavily, and those relationships are handled quite perfectly. One of her family in particular provides so many opportunities for laughs (and a few surprises), but there’s an added touch of welcome poignancy too.
And then there’s the whole community of the village of Cranley, every individual with their own story – and that really gives the whole book an unexpected depth and richness, along with a few additional stories that I enjoyed every bit as much as Jinnie’s own. I particularly liked the way the book dealt with some quite serious issues without ever allowing them to weigh the story down, keeping that essential lightness of touch while dealing with the emotional side of things wholly realistically.
There’s Ken and his son Ed, down at the pub where Jinnie gets a few shifts, struggling with the progression of his wife’s dementia; the lovely Jo at the cafe/bakery who’s everyone’s friend and confidante, but her loneliness takes her to the edge of doing something she really rather shouldn’t; Angela is a recovering alcoholic, on the verge of losing everything; even Sam has his own secrets, a sadness in his past, slowly revealed after a few misunderstandings. And every single character, no matter how peripheral, is so superbly drawn, fully rounded, real people facing real situations – in fact, they’re all people who could really do with a small touch of Dhassim’s magic.
This is a book filled with hope and tremendous warmth, a really feel-good read from beginning to end – there’s a focus on what’s really important, the small things that make a difference, and finding what makes you happy. I loved the whole concept of the story, and I really loved the way it was delivered – it was a joy to read in a single sitting, I escaped from real life for a while, adored the cast of characters, and laughed frequently and loudly. You can’t really ask for more than that, can you?
Well, except for another visit to Cranley maybe, because I’d love to get to know Jo at the cafe a bit better, see if she gets her happy ending… and I do know where she can find a lamp that might only need another gentle polish…
About the author
Audrey Davis is a Scottish-born former journalist, now resident in Switzerland. Her newspaper career saw her cover events in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, as well as working for a London-based movie magazine writing reviews and carrying out interviews.
She self-published her debut romantic comedy novel A Clean Sweep in June 2017, following an online Open University course in Writing Fiction.
Audrey followed up with a short, darker prequel A Clean Break before beginning work on a rom-com novella trilogy with a ghostly twist – The Haunting of Hattie Hastings. Again, reviews across the board were excellent, and it was combined into a standalone novel in November 2018.
A Wish For Jinnie is her third standalone novel.
Apart from writing, Audrey enjoys travel and spends a lot of time in Edinburgh. She is an avid cook, watcher of scary movies and reluctant gym-goer.