Sorry, Jessica, this is what I really meant.... A Review of Searching For Steven by Jessica Redland.

Posted on 5th July, 2015

Have you ever read a book that gave you a "wow" moment? For me, Searching For Steven by Jessica Redland was just such a book. Let me explain.

Earlier this week, I tweeted that I had thought I was reading a light-hearted romance, but it now turned out to be a serious love story. Jessica tweeted me back to ask, "Is that a good thing?"

And that was when I realised my tweet could be read two ways. It could be taken to mean, "I wanted light-hearted and I got stuck with serious. Grrr," whereas what I meant was, "Wow - just see how this plot has developed."

So here I am now, explaining myself properly. If you'd asked me early on in the book what I thought, I'd have said:

Jessica's debut novel is a feel-good, humorous romance, based on an intriguing premise. Her writing is fluent and the book's strong sense of place makes you feel how lucky Sarah, the main character, is to have her roots in Whitsborough. An equally strong sense of friendship adds layers to the plot, as different aspects of friendship are explored, including how it feels when your two best friends can't stand the sight of one another. The plot is amusing without ever descending into silliness and Sarah is a likeable character whom I was rooting for from the outset.

That's what I'd have said to start with.

Then came my "wow" moment.

Partway through the book, a charcter turns up from Sarah's past and suddenly everything is cranked up by several notches. Jessica's writing goes from engaging to downright compelling and the pages positively crackle with romantic tension as the book goes from touching, light-hearted romance to full-blown, compelling love story. Already at an emotional crossroads, Sarah finds herself in the grip of a complex and utterly believeable dilemma.

It's difficult to say more without giving away spoilers, so I'll stop. Except to say two things:

- Sorry, Jessica, if my tweet gave you a wobbly moment; and:

- Congratulations, So Vain Books, on such an attractive paperback production.

What about you? Were you ever enjoying a book and then, quite suddenly, became gripped by it? What are your recommendations? And, if you've already read Searching For Steven, what did you think?

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Comments (4)

Thanks for dropping by, Jen. It's not easy to come up with a book with a "wow" moment - I think they are few and far between. Searching For Steven is definitely worth adding to your teetering TBR pile.
I hadn't thought about a 'wow' moment in reading in this way, Susanna. Thanks, as always, for making me think! Whilst I don't have a book to share, 'Searching for Stephen' sounds a fabulous read and will be added to my ever growing TBR pile.
You're most welcome, Jessica. I'm glad to set the record straight after my ambiguous tweet. I loved reading your book and I'm looking forward to the rest of the trilogy. xxx
Hi Susanna, I've just had my own "wow" moment reading this. What a wonderful review. Thank you so very much. It's fascinating hearing/reading what people make of my writing and the journey it takes them on and this is music to my ears. I've got a huge grin on my face now :-) xxx