I received a copy of this book from Net Galley in return for a review.
The Romance Readers Guide to Life
Neave and Lilly Terhune couldn’t be more different. Lilly is a beauty who runs through men like water. Neave, having been told at an early age by their mother that she will not be able to get by on her looks, always has her head in a book. Her favorite is The Pirate Lover, a romance novel about a young woman who refuses marriage to the highest bidder and instead escapes to the high seas where she meets the love of her life.
During WWII, when the men are gone, both sisters start working. But when the servicemen return and take back their jobs, Neave and Lilly are left with few options besides marriage. But they have other ideas. They start to build a makeup business (think Avon in its early days) and soon have a hit on their hands. But just as their business is truly taking off, Lilly disappears and Neave must figure out what happened. Luckily, she has Lilly’s assistance helping from above, even if she doesn’t know it quite yet.
Alternating between the sisters’ story and that of Neave’s beloved Pirate Lover book, Sharon Pywell shows how all romantic relationships have dark undercurrents, how even the most cerebral amongst us can enjoy a swashbuckling, page-turning romance, and how sometimes the guiltiest of pleasures might contain essential kernels of truth.
The title of this book may lead you to think that it is simply a romance story. There is romance, but that isn't all there is. In fact, there is more than one romance in this book. First of all there is story from Neave's Pirate book, a straight forward traditional love story. Then there is the romance from the main story line. Along side all of this, is the question of what has happened to Lilly and why. Really though, this book is about Neave and Lilly and their ability to make something of their life, despite it being a man's World in the 1950's.
I loved the many elements of the story line. I wanted to know what would happen to Electra in the Pirate storyline. I wanted to know how Neave would cope once her sister was no longer there. Both story lines kept me turning the pages, trying to find out what would happen next.
There were some elements that were a little unusual. I wasn't entirely convinced about the role their one time family dog played in the story line. It was a little strange and to be honest, pushed the boundaries a little too far towards the end.
On the whole though, this was a fantastic read that I really enjoyed. It was very different, without being different for the sake of it. I found myself unable to put the book down and enjoying every second of it. It really wasn't what I was expecting when I picked it up, but I certainly wasn't disappointed.