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  • Hannah Fielding - Romance Novelist

From the blurb:

Erinn Wolf needs to reinvent herself. A once celebrated playwright turned photographer, she’s almost broke, a little lonely, and tired of her sister’s constant worry. When a job on a reality TV show falls into her lap, she’s thrilled to be making a paycheck–and when a hot Italian actor named Massimo rents her guesthouse, she’s certain her life is getting a romantic subplot. But with the director, brash, gorgeous young Jude, dogging her every step, she can’t help but look at herself through his lens–and wonder if she’s been reading the wrong script all along…

I found this to be a refreshingly different book in the romance genre.

The writing is sharp and intelligent, and ideal for those who are wordsmiths and delight in literary references. For example:

“Reader, I fired him,” Erinn said.

This is also a book for people who, like Erinn, are wordsmiths. Erinn is an old-school grammarian, which leads to frequent corrections of her contemporaries’ English, often to comic effect:

“Anyway,” said Jude. “I didn’t mean to freak you out.”

“You didn’t freak me out. I’ve just momentarily lost my composure.”

And…

And what did he mean, she had a “snarcastic” attitude? This was some urban hybrid of “snarky” and “sarcastic” that was supposed to send her reeling. If she hadn’t been so annoyed, she might have even admired the compound.

I enjoyed this focus on the written word, and found it grounded the character of Erinn as a credible once-celebrated playwright who is now struggling to write. As a writer, I also found the exploration of Erinn’s writing side fascinating:

“I’m a solitary creature, I truly am. I sometimes wonder, did I become a writer because I’m solitary, or am I solitary because I’m a writer?”

But two elements of the book outshine the others, for me: the backdrop to the novel and the love story.

First, the backdrop. I have never come across a novel following television producers and directors before, and I found this to be both refreshingly different and also very interesting – I feel I learnt a lot through the reading!

Then, the love story. ‘Unconventional’  is the word I would use to describe it. Certainly, at the outset I couldn’t remotely see a future for Jude and Erinn, with she presented as a somewhat fuddy-duddy, old-before-her-time, hermit and he as young, hip, cool guy. But I loved the way through the course of the book the boundaries blurred and a meeting of souls and minds emerged beyond backgrounds and external images.

For me, the one area of the book that perplexed me at times was the seeming presentation of Erinn as ‘old’. The greying hair at the start and her general superior and aloof demeanour made her feel quite aged, and I had to keep reminding myself she was only forty-three, which really in today’s world isn’t old at all, especially to fall in love. But then I think that is the author’s point – she does not present Erinn as old, Erinn presents herself as old, and therefore sees the younger Jude as a long way from her age. But once Erinn comes out the shell into which she has withdrawn, as a reader I felt like the years fell away from her, allowing her to contemplate being Jude’s equal.

An interesting, light read with an ending to put a smile on your face.

A Comedy of Erinn is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.

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