Review: Little White Lies by Bernadette Strachan

little white lies bernadette strachan Review: Little White Lies by Bernadette Strachan

Little White Lies is Bernadette Strachan's fourth novel, and while it's presented as fluffy and whimsical, it's a novel that actually has quite a lot to offer. Strachan's strengths are in witty repartee and in creating characters with whom it's very difficult not to empathise, and she certainly makes the most of them throughout the novel.

When Billie receives a letter from Great Auntie Babs asking that she temporarily take over her small-town wedding shop whilst Babs gallivants off to Australia to meet an internet beau, she's torn between taking up an opportunity for a new start, and her utter loathing of weddings. Billie is a recently jilted bride with a rather cynical attitude towards love and marriage, and on the face of it, she's not the most likely candidate for the role. However, desperate to escape the 9-5 grind in a job that's about as appealing as walking down the aisle again, and rather liking the idea of getting away from her lunatic family of would-be actors, Billie heads down for a year of small-town bliss.

It should be a rude awakening: the wedding dress shop is a dingy affair full of taffeta nightmares, her shop assistant is an airy hippie with a penchant for rescuing rodents (not the least of which being her misogynistic boyfriend Jake), and her new home is a beach hut sans all the mod cons'even a bucket-style makeshift toilet. Billie, though, under the spell of a seachange, finds herself warming to her new and simple lifestyle, and despite her disparaging approach towards all things romantic, she manages to transform the wedding dress shop into something rather more representative of the demands of the big day than it had been previously. A range of fascinating (and mostly utterly mad) characters flit in and out of her life, and Billie finds herself making all sorts of new and important friendships: notable characters include crazed fudge-maker Zelda, snarky children's book author Sam, and sweet old Annie, who despite being a widower of many years, has been putting aside money for a wedding dress'just in case.

Of course, any good chicklit novel has to be choc-full of conflict and disaster, and Little White Lies certainly does not shy from this. Poor Billie finds herself designated mediator in all sorts of strange social situations including brides so vicious they have stepped up from Bridezilla and into the world of Bridenstein or Briden & Hyde, a potential murder with bonus cannibalism subplot, a tryst with a fireman nicknamed (with good reason) Treacle, and a staff member whose crass and vulgar manner'not to mention her money-filching ways'are enough to scare away the most tenacious of would-be brides. Interestingly, through all of this, Billie keeps up a tentative email dialogue with her ex-fiance, and while this does seem a little odd at first, it's a neat thread that both helps tie the past and the present'and ultimately the future.

While Little White Lies does run on a little, and some of the plot points (such as the human-flavoured fudge), and the epilogue, feel extraneous, overall Strachan has created a delightful novel with characters that really shine. It's incredibly over to the top, of course, with some of the characters being little more than hilarious caricatures, but it's all part of the fun of the novel. Whether you're a cynic looking to be converted, or you're a sucker for romance and friendship like me, you could certainly do worse than to pick up Little White Lies.

200px 3.5 stars.svg  Review: Little White Lies by Bernadette Strachan

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Other books by Bernadette Strachan you might like:

How to Lose a Husband and Gain a Life, Diamonds and Daisies, The Reluctant Landlady, Handbags and Halos

The BookDepository Review: Little White Lies by Bernadette Strachan

The Book Depository Review: Little White Lies by Bernadette Strachan

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