Title: Laura’s Handmade Life (A Novel)
Author: Amanda Addison
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group
Genre: Chick Lit
My Rating: 3/5
When Laura Lovegrove has to move from London to rural Norfolk (due to her husband being transferred), she finds herself at a bit of a loss what to do without her busy social life. On top of feeling like she doesn’t belong, her college boyfriend’s presence adds to her confusion. Laura decides to join a sewing class to learn some skills and meet new people. When others start complimenting her on her handmade items, Laura has to make the decision whether or not to try creating her own business, selling her items.
I picked this book up as I have an interest in both Norfolk (where I was born), and sewing.
While this book was predictable in the way ‘chick lit’ usually is, I found that in other ways it deviated from the genre enough to keep me interested and wondering what would happen. I didn’t particularly connect with any of the characters, as they just didn’t seem believable to me, and I think that hindered the book massively – obviously we’d rather read about someone we can relate to in some way or other.
As you would expect in a ‘chick lit’ book, there is the other man. In this case it’s Chris, Laura’s boyfriend at Art College, and as handsome and charming as he’s always been. So Laura is juggling her family, her sewing, and her desire for Chris. Needless to say, this becomes so overwhelming that she starts to question whether they should have moved at all.
The blurb on the back of the book implies that Laura learns to sew and immediately starts making things for others. However, if I hadn’t known that before starting to read the book, I wouldn’t have realised there was anything about sewing until at least halfway through. It seemed to go from not mentioning it, to it being the only thing she focuses on. This made it difficult to know what exactly is happening when, and keeps the sewing very separate from the rest of her life, making the character seem so two dimensional that she is only capable of thinking about one thing at a time, rather than being a cohesive being.
One thing I especially liked about the book was that each chapter opened with an explanation of a type of stitch – admittedly I didn’t always follow what it was trying to say, but it was a nice touch to add in a novel about sewing.
Overall, this book wasn’t as good as I was hoping for. While there were some interesting moments, and once or twice I became invested in finding out Laura’s next choice, it was lacking in believability. The characters, as well as the setting of a rural village, didn’t really relate to the real world. It was a pleasant enough read, but there are many better books out there.