From the blurb:
Livi Callaway has fled back to London after a reality TV disaster in New Zealand. Safely anonymous in the big city, she’s determined to stay under the radar from now on. But her attempts to build a new life are complicated by unexpected visitors from her old one, and new dangers and temptations lie in wait.
Late one night, she meets a mysteriously sexy American on the Underground – and the events that follow take her from Pooh Bear to the golden lights of Paris, via a trail of rock stars dead and alive. A family in disarray, a determined Swede, a crazed Australian, and a childhood friend (who might yet be more than that) have her all over the place as she tries to discover the American’s secret – while keeping her own.
With help – and occasional hindrance – from her friends, what she eventually finds is something unexpected . . . sometimes, running away can lead you to exactly what you didn’t know you needed.
All Over the Place is a riot of twists and turns as we follow self-confessed ‘country mouse’ Livi Callaway’s exploits when she unexpectedly seeks out love far away from home. Serena certainly knows how to twist stories together to make a satisfying whole.
The book starts with Livi finally feeling happy in her new life in London, having escaped from a broken engagement and national humiliation back in her home country of New Zealand. With a new job, a new home and a collection of glamorous friends, Livi is finally settling down. However, a chance meeting with the mysterious and handsome American Ryan, on a crowded and sweaty London Underground train, leaves her with a battered old satchel and a mystery to solve – and an adventure for the reader!
Encouraged by her flatmate, Cas, Livi determines to return the satchel to the American. With no name or address to go on, Livi and her friends set to deciphering a series of clues as to the whereabouts of the man, taking them from Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre wood to the romance and sophistication of Paris. Sweet-natured and kind-hearted, Livi must also cope with unwanted romantic overtures and a family drama which reaches out from the other side of the world. Along the way we learn about Livi’s past and why it is she fears that she cannot return home.
All Over the Place is a fun romance novel. Livi’s character is instantly likable, and she is someone to whom we can all relate. From her neuroses to her secret shoebox of chocolates, Livi is the best friend that we would all wish we could be. It is a strong testament to the realism of Serena Clarke’s writing that the reader can feel such an attachment to her, and I was desperate for things to work out for the best in the end. Serena’s writing perfectly captures the realities of living in a city such as London, from the drabness of the daily commute to colourful descriptions of the Notting Hill carnival and the elegance and high culture of the National Gallery. We also get a taste of the downsides and camaraderie of working in a glamorous Soho salon.
Within the book, Livi is in the enviable position of being almost assailed by offers from handsome, eligible men – from her former fiancé Rob, to the kind-hearted translator Matthias – and it seems at times that Livi is batting them off. However, it is the attentions of two men in particular that catch the reader’s attention, and this forms the major romantic thrust of the novel. Both men are well written and encapsulate all of the best elements of the spectrum of perfect leading men, leaving Livi with that most delicious of dilemmas – should she choose the mysterious and exciting Ryan or the bookish good-guy and childhood friend, Cam? Suffice it to say that the ending does leave the reader satisfied, but also wondering what happens next.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There are some books that call out for a sequel and All Over the Place is certainly one of those!
All Over the Place is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.