I have to admit that having read and enjoyed quite a few novels from author Carole Matthews before my blogging days began (Let’s Meet on Platform 8, The Chocolate Lovers Club and All You Need is Love spring immediately to mind) I was really excited to be offered a copy of Wrapped up in You to review.
Through Janie’s clients in the ‘Cutting Edge’ salon we get to know about her love life … and how she feels about romance. Having listened to all her regular clients about their love lives she asks herself ‘Is there really such a thing as perfect love?’
We find out that her seven year relationship with ex Paul lit no passions for her and her best friend Nina’s marriage with Gerry leaves a lot to be desired. The awful blind date that Nina sets up ends in her being stalked. The male stability in her life comes from neighbour Mike whose wife has left him. He is predictable, kind, always on hand – and hints of dating!
The reader comes to the conclusion that Janie is a ‘plodder’. She likes stability, predictability, routine and has to be in control.
The key turning point is when ex Paul tells Janie he is getting married with a daughter due to be born in March. Regular client Mrs Silverton has already laid the foundations with her photos of being on safari and leaving a brochure. Janie acts totally out of character – booking a holiday in Maasai Mara. Dominic is her personal Maasai warrior in camp, there to protect her. Their feelings for each other are there from the very beginning. Making a return trip over Christmas, reality hits when Janie meets Dominic’s tribal family and sees/takes part in some of their customs. Can this relationship work? Is love enough in the face of reality?
I did wonder how Carole Matthews would take us away from a holiday romance into every day life and I wasn’t disappointed. I thought she portrayed a mixed race relationship really well. Not only the misunderstandings due to cultural differences but also how friends and colleagues might react. I must admit to being saddened at some reactions but loved the way her village in Buckingham reacted to Dominic! Plenty of incidences to make you smile J
And there’s Mike. Dependable, lovable, non-judgemental Mike. Literally the ‘boy next door’ whose love is gentle and warming.
One of my favourite parts in the story was the Sno!Zone outing with everyone from ‘Cutting Edge’. Nail biting tension had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Would the challenge be met or would there be broken bones?
Wrapped up in You for me was about watching Janie’s emotional journey unfold … Janie flowering from a woman who had never experienced passion in life on any level and playing it safe to a woman who took life with all its passions of highs and lows and felt every single nuance of feeling (and not just in love relationships!) She ends up swimming in the sea rather than paddling in the shallows! She embraces life, which leads her to the start of emotional maturity. The reader experiences the whole gamut of feelings alongside Janie – despondency, excitement, betrayal, love, passion, tears and laughter.