After reading many horrors and crime thrillers, I fancied a change and have been reading chick-lits/romantic comedies for a more uplifting feel. Yesterday I reviewed C.J. Pinard’s ‘Boots Beneath My Bed (Miranda’s Story)‘, book 3 of her Duty & Desire series, which was an absolute pleasure to read and a great deal of fun.
And carrying on that chick-lit feel for this weekend I have Milly Johnson’s ‘An Autumn Crush‘, which I thought was just perfect to fit in before the end of November due to it’s seasonal title.
Author: Milly Johnson
Genre: Chick-lit, contemporary romantic comedy
Publishers: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Length: 417 pages
Blurb: In the heart of the windy season, four friends are about to get swept off their feet…
Newly single after a bruising divorce, Juliet Miller moves into a place of her own and advertises for a flatmate, little believing that, in her mid-thirties, she’ll find anyone suitable. Then, just as she’s about to give up hope, along comes self-employed copywriter Floz, and the two women hit it off straight away.
When Juliet’s gentle giant of a twin brother, Guy, meets Floz, he falls head over heels. But, as hard as he tries to charm her, his foot seems to be permanently in his mouth. Meanwhile, Guy’s best friend Steve has always had a secret crush on Juliet – one which could not be more unrequited if it tried…
As Floz and Juliet’s friendship deepens, and Floz becomes a part of the Miller family, can Guy turn her affection for them into something more – into love for him? And what will happen to Steve’s heart when Juliet eventually catches the eye of Piers – the man of her dreams?
An Autumn Crush is a real fun, girly read with humour that put me in the mindset of Helen Fielding’s ‘Bridget Jones’. There are some real laugh-out-loud moments that make this a refreshing, feel-good read, although there are also some scenes that are a little more sombre which make for a complete storyline.
Beginning in late Summer, working it’s way through to November, it captures the season perfectly. And whilst there is a clear change in season, there are also some major changes happening in the lives of these characters. Juliet has recently moved into her new place and is seeking the perfect flatmate (who she finds in Floz), Floz has an ‘old flame’ contact her after eighteen months of nothing – not even a reason for ending his contact, Guy is about to buy his own restaurant and Guy’s best friend, Steve, is hoping for some attention from across the Atlantic with his professional wrestling.
From the offset, An Autumn Crush very much follows Juliet and how she seeks the perfect flatmate, which her friend Coco helps with. Although suffering from a divorce and adjusting to her new place, Juliet seems to be coping well and it is clear that she is fondly thought of by her family and her friend. The reader also has an insight into Steve’s feelings for her, but to Juliet he was always no good, despite him helping her brother, Guy, in his time of need. Instead, Juliet’s mind has focused on her employer, Piers, who is very attractive, sophisticated and wealthy, and most probably in demand from every woman who crosses his path!
Guy has had his fair share of dark moments, which he is trying to leave behind him. But when he first sets eyes on his sisters new flatmate, as well as falling head over heels for her she does resemble a person from his past that he is trying to move on from. He cannot get Floz out of his mind and works himself up so much that every time he sees her he makes a fool out of himself. His nervousness, awkwardness and mix up of words creates a great deal of the fun, that only Steve is really aware of (and, of course, the reader).
Floz is my favourite character as she has a much more upsetting current situation than the others, and at times it felt like she was the main focus of the novel, even though Juliet appears to be initially. Floz has no idea of Guy’s affections towards her, and feels that he dislikes her as he is always short and sharp with her and then disappears. But her mind is also very focused on a secret she doesn’t share with the others: she has been in touch with an old online friend/love interest from Canada, and although it was their dream once to meet – they never did. Now back in touch, they exchange e-mails from a different perspective, but not all is as it seems, and Floz is most likely going to be very hurt.
The dialogue between the characters is strong and keeps momentum with the humour and pace. And with references to modern day celebrities, such as Simon Cowell and Louie Spence, it adds realism so that the reader can easily identify with the characters and their conversations. In addition to this, there are also many awkward moments, especially with Guy, which displays his flaws, making him more human and believable. These moments create even more humour.
One of my favourite aspects of the story is that each character has their own challenges, as opposed to just one main character. They have all had bad experiences, and sometimes use these to judge each other. They then end up at times not seeing eye to eye, and yet not knowing the full picture of the others’ actions or behaviour. There are many instances of ‘will they/won’t they’ and this adds to the suspense and excitement.
Any chick-lit or romantic comedy fan above 15yrs will love this novel. It is an enjoyable read that will leave you feeling good. It has certainly made me want to read more of Milly Johnson’s books!
Although a stand alone novel, An Autumn Crush, is one of four ‘seasonal’ novels from Milly Johnson. The other three being A Spring Affair, A Summer Fling, and A Winter Flame.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker