Friday 24 November 2017

Lorraine Courtney breezes through Amy's light and fluffy new novel

Amy Huberman is famous for various reasons. She writes, acts and then there's her role as the wife of rugby hero Brian O'Driscoll.

Huberman took a social science degree at UCD before landing a part in the RTÉ series On Home Ground. Since then she has notched up a list of television credits ranging from RTÉ's The Clinic to Comedy Central's sitcom Threesome, as well as having her first novel, Hello Heartbreak published in 2009.

That novel performed well, topping the bestseller list for three weeks. It told the tale of heroine Annie, who wasn't entirely thrilled at the prospect of getting married. Annie's boyfriend got down on one knee but it only made her question "what her heart's greatest wish really is".

The whole caper was wholesome and sweet, leading one critic to describe it as "Mills & Boon with knickers on". I Wished For You is Huberman's second book and she's back with another dizzy female protagonist, a romantic trajectory and a rather improbable plot.

Grace, named after Grace Kelly, is a stylist in an upmarket store. She has a passion for fashion but isn't fulfilled by her role of "stuffing middle-aged women, like sausage meat, into tubes of turquoise taffeta".

She isn't exactly happy in her relationship with Robbie either, is desperate to get to the altar and frets that Kate Middleton "got in there at 29".

Things falls apart and a clichéd chick-lit plot is born. Enter Verity, an ex-Hollywood costume lady and fairy godmother type and our heroine's redemption begins.

The book romps along splendidly. Huberman has an effervescent, giddy style, some lovely turns of phrase and there are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments.

She has a beady eye for the absurdities of the SoCoDu and fashion worlds.

Take Carly, who is always in tears. "She gets weepy after eating carbs. It's the guilt. She has no self-control."

And then there's Andy, who is upset because "only today I saw the pair of D-and-G boots I bought last week for full price on sale with fifty per cent off. So, you know, there's a lot of misery floating around."

Offsetting the laughs are some darker episodes, describing Grace losing her job and her love affair going wrong. But despite forays into a harsher realism, the overall mood is light-hearted.

Ultimately, there's very little going on. This is a skittish swirl of superficial characters and values and it never quite manages to be a Ross O'Carroll Kelly for the girls.

Considering the watch-it-coming ending -- your Ray Bans would have to be very dark indeed to stop you seeing it coming -- the book itself is more conventional than satirical.

However, if you're on a long-haul flight it will while away the hours painlessly, a very easy and very fluffy read

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