It’s really far too long since I read a book from Katey Lovell, so I’m delighted today to share my review of her latest, Nothing New for Sophie Drew. Published today by Bloodhound Books, the first in a planned three-book series, this lovely book is now available for kindle (free with Kindle Unlimited) and in paperback. My thanks to Katey for inviting me to read this one, and for providing my advance reading e-copy.
Katey writes quite beautifully. I remember thoroughly enjoying her lovely Meet Cute series of shorts (way back in 2015), and wrote about them a couple of times – here and here – and Katey wrote a wonderful personal post here about the series and her hopes for the future. And because I enjoyed her writing so much, I even broke my usual rules and read and reviewed One Night in Los Angeles, her foray into erotic fiction – hot and steamy, but a story with warmth, tenderness and a heart, and I really rather enjoyed it (you’ll find the review here). Since then, Katey’s produced four full-length novels and a short story – you’ll find them all on her Amazon page – but although she did pay a visit to talk about the third novel, Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown (you’ll find the post here), I just haven’t managed to fit in the reading. But today, at long last, I have – and I was really looking forward to seeing if I’d still enjoy Katey’s writing as much as I previously did…
Who ever said life was easy?
Sophie Drew is thirty, single and stuck in a dead-end job; convinced everyone around her has their lives in order as she’s stuck muddling through.
When a final demand from the bank makes her realise how dire her financial situation is, Sophie becomes determined to pay off her debts and take back control.
During her reinvention, Sophie meets attractive charity worker Max and things start to look up, but her best friends have other plans. With spendthrift ex Darius back on the scene, she finds herself in a dilemma.
Will Sophie fall back into her old ways, or can she find the confidence to make the right decisions and find happiness?
Nothing New For Sophie Drew is the perfect read for fans of books like Bridget Jones’s Diary as well as for readers of authors like Sue Roberts, Marian Keyes and Sarah Morgan.
Sophie’s been running away from her debts for a while – the expensive nights on the town, the designer wardrobe, the facials and manicures, the spending beyond her means all have to stop. She could ignore the credit card bills when they were still being delivered to her parents’ address, or tear them into pieces and pretend they didn’t exist for a while – but the realities finally catch up with her, and she knows she needs to face up to her situation. But when her friend Tawna has gone totally bridezilla, planning a wedding to outdo all other weddings, with her hen night plans involving a stay in New York way beyond Sophie’s limited means, things are destined to become even more difficult.
Her love life’s a bit of a disaster area too – her ex Darius might have been a bit of a waste of space, but she loved him, and misses both him and his young daughter Summer. And it doesn’t help that Tawna’s future husband is his best friend, so their paths keep crossing, with every meeting reminding her of what she’s lost and making her heart beat a little faster. But an unaccustomed visit to a charity shop brings the lovely Max into her life, with the possibility of moving on with a man in her life who’ll treat her rather better.
I will admit that that this book did sometimes made me feel my age a little – the perfect reader would be someone a little younger who could perhaps more closely identify with Sophie’s situation. But much of the book’s focus is on female friendship, and that’s universal – and the relationship between Sophie and her two closest friends was very realistic and beautifully handled, particularly those moments when some the simmering resentments finally boiled over. There’s a really nice focus on family and community too – the author does a lovely bit of scene setting early in the book that introduces the diverse cast of characters, and they all play their various parts in adding to the texture of the story.
The Newcastle setting is particularly well drawn – and I really liked some of the set pieces, particularly the outing to the football, the night watching Dirty Dancing, and the romantic picnic. And when the action moves for a while to a quite different location, that’s vividly brought to life too. There’s a bit of betrayal in this story that really makes your blood boil, because you’ll have taken Sophie to your heart as I did – again, really well handled. But I particularly enjoyed the slow burn developing romance – they’re two people who were really meant to be together, but the path to love is never a smooth one, and I did despair at times that Sophie just couldn’t write Darius out of her life once and for all. And the writing really is excellent – the author has a perfect emotional touch, but there’s also plenty of humour (often centred on the wonderful Tawna and her excesses), as well as some moments of drama and real sadness.
This is the first in a planned three book series, and the author has certainly created a character in Sophie who’ll be more than strong enough to carry a developing story – by the book’s end I was totally in her corner, and I do so hope her life goes well. The book might not have been quite the perfect match for me, but I very much enjoyed it.
About the author
Katey Lovell’s feel-good novels are about people overcoming everyday challenges with the support of their friends, family and local community.Previously published by both HarperImpulse and Quercus, she has also penned a series of coffee-break romances and a hot romance novella for Tirgearr’s City Nights series.
Originally from South Wales, Katey now lives in Sheffield with her husband and son. When she’s not writing she’ll most likely be found watching musicals, enjoying live music or reading anything and everything she can lay her hands on.