I’m really delighted today to be launching the blog tour for The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (aged 39½) by Caroline Grace-Cassidy: out on 12th August from Black & White Publishing, it will be available both as an ebook and in paperback (and if you can’t wait, you could always pre-order now). When Janne from Black & White got in touch about this one (and a big thank you to her for all her support with this post!), it was a book that immediately appealed to me, although Caroline’s an author who’s evaded my radar until now (but I’ve now spotted The Week I Ruined My Life and The Importance of Being Me, and like the look of those too…). I was delighted to offer my support by sharing a post though – go on, take a look, see if it appeals to you as much as it did to me…
Lexie Byrne is perfectly content approaching forty, as a singleton. After all, she can watch Dirty Dancing on repeat while eating cheese and onion crisp sandwiches in bed. She’s had a ring on it, then a ring off it, and unless it’s Johnny Castle who merengues into her life, she is never settling again. Her ex-fiancé Dan, cheated yes, she was flattened yes, but she picked herself up and in hindsight, had a lucky escape.
Lexie’s best friend is Annemarie, who, at forty-two, has settled for Tom, desperate for a baby. But when Lexie meets Adam and she feels a chemistry that almost makes her head explode, Annemarie strongly disapproves. Annemarie says everything is moving way too fast and insists on flying with Lexie when she goes to visit Adam, despite the fact that she thinks she might finally be pregnant.
When they arrive at Adam’s, Lexie soon discovers that he has a very complicated past, and an even more complicated present. But through all the drama, Lexie realises that with him, she is having the time of her life. Until the tension that’s been brewing between Lexie and Annemarie finally erupts and, as her unexpected love story unfolds, it is only trumped by a very unexpected arrival.
Funny, entertaining and delivered with a delightful lightness of touch, perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Sophie Kinsella.
So I’m sorry, no review today – but it’s a real pleasure to welcome Caroline as my guest…
I thought I’d make a little introduction to the main characters of The Unexpected Love Story of Lexie Byrne (Aged 39½) by way of a dream cast wish list.
When I write a new book, I always build a little dream cast of the main characters in my head as I develop the story. It’s great fun and it helps me visualise their individual journeys and the relationships between them. And, of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have a wish list to hand should the book be made into a film some day!
Lexie Byrne: BILLIE PIPER
Billy Piper is an outstanding actress. She brings dept and realism to every character she plays. I think she’d make a great Lexie for her honesty, and physically I love how she looks and dresses. She isn’t your typical leading lady, and neither is Lexie. In fact, Lexie says in the opening chapter that she is no raving beauty, and that she feels sorry for raging beauties if she’s honest, as it’s so hard for women in society to age without having the extra work of losing amazing looks.
Billy is a real woman, inside and out – as is Lexie.
Adam Cooper: JAMIE DORNAN
Jamie would bring the deepness of character to Adam. He has the brooding good looks and the tone of voice to woo over the audience and let them see why Lexie falls in love so hard and so fast.
Jamie plays his roles with a lightness of touch and that is how I wrote Adam. Adam isn’t your normal run of the mill guy – he’s got something special about him – a deeper understanding of the world. A lot of this has to do with his job, he sees things others never see, which makes him appreciate life.
And well, Jamie’s eyes also help!!
Annemarie Rafter: KATE WINSLET (Lexie’s best friend)
Apart from the novel being a true love, romantic story, it’s also a true love best-friend story. Annemarie is incredibly loyal and honest, and she takes no prisoners and goes after what she wants.
I always thought Kate Winslet would be a great best friend to have! She has all the qualities of one. Kind, loyal, no nonsense despite her hugely successful Oscar winning career. Her face is so open on screen – so raw – her eyes do all the acting.
Kate would absolutely be the perfect Annemarie!
Tom Dunne: JAMIE BELL (Annemarie’s husband)
Tom is the type of guy who is so laid back he’s horizontal! Jamie Bell has that feel about him, too. That life is easy breezy!
I adore the work Jamie Bell does – his Billy Elliot still to this day stands out as a masterpiece to me.
I think he’s a perfect Tom! Physically, Tom’s into skinny jeans and pointed shoes – when I wrote Tom’s character, I very much had the visual in my head of Jamie Bell.
Tom isn’t a macho alpha male – he’s quite tender and a little insular, and I think Jamie would portray Tom so well!
Martha: KATE BECKINSALE (Adam’s ex-wife)
The first thing Lexie notices about Martha is her stunning good looks. Very delicate – unlike Lexie.
Martha is quite bitchy, and I think Kate excels at playing that type of role really well. She has great physical ability to steal the screen and a scene, and that is exactly what Martha does in the book, trying to make Lexie feel awkward and uncomfortable.
Kate would be perfect for Martha – incredibly beautiful, but with a subtle edge. She definitely has a game plan of her own…
June: SHARON HORGAN (Lexie’s ex-colleague and good friend)
Even though June thinks she’s a powerful person and has the upper hand on Annemarie and Lexie, she’s very much a flawed character. There is a lot of physical comedy in June – from her dress sense and extreme love of jewellery to her eccentric mannerisms.
Sharon Horgan is a genius comic actress with sublime timing. June has a nasty side, but it is mainly rooted in insecurity. A great actress like Sharon can show the vulnerability in June. Sharon has such depth to her acting emotions – she would be able to turn June from a real piece of work into a complete softie and make it completely believable.
Sharon is also Irish and it’s great to have an Irish actress in there! In Sharon’s hands June can be saved.
Maíréad: MAGGIE SMITH (an elderly lady Lexie helps out)
This was an easy one. Maggie Smith is the grand dame of the movies!
Mairead is a lonely old lady who society has cast aside. Even though we feel sorry for her, she’s far from done yet! She may be old and homeless, but she’s not quitter – she’s an absolute fighter!
Physically, Maggie Smith is everything I imagine Mairead to be – someone who has seen many things and experienced a lot. Someone with a life well lived. She also comes across as feisty and not someone who suffers fools gladly. Exactly like Mairead.
Maggie Smith is an outstanding actress, and she was my obvious choice – those eyes! You believe every word. She would play Mairead with such strength and be able to convey her inner pain behind all her tough exterior.
Caroline, thank you – I love your choices, and that’s a film I’d love to see! I do hope I’ll be able to catch up with your book before too long… wishing you every success.
About the author
Irish writer and actress Caroline Grace-Cassidy is the author of seven novels. Alongside her husband Kevin, they own Park Pictures, a film and television production company, with whom she has written and directed seven short films. She has been a regular panellist for The Elaine Show on Virgin Media One since 2012. She can often be spotted in dark sunglasses and a cap at the bottle bank – but mostly she is a very proud Mammy to Grace & Maggie Cassidy.