From Notting Hill With Love… Actually – Ali McNamara

In what might be a case of nominative determinism (scarily big words), Scarlett O’Brien followed in her mother’s footsteps and became obsessed with movies. Her mother named her for the film character she resembled, but abandoned her a couple of years later. Scarlett’s father did a good job of bringing her up alone, and in her twenties she’s on the verge of marrying a suitable man. David is a little on the sensible side, but he’s from a wealthy family whose chain of cinemas could really help her family popcorn business. Scarlett’s downfall is to daydream about movies- and what better way to prove to her father and fiancé that it’s not a silly obsession than to house-sit in Notting Hill for a month, right where all her favourites are set. In addition she can get some distance from her frugal fiancé, and make sure she’s making the right choice- a choice complicated by her new neighbour Bond, Sean Bond, as well as the eerily movie-inspired turns her life then takes.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Scarlett’s Dad comes out with all the clichés for why she should settle down and stop dreaming; filling her head with silly ideas, soppy films, head in the clouds etc, but really he’s just worried about her making the same mistake as her mother and regretting her choices. Fiancé David is clearly the Wrong Man; even though he’s caring, he’s desperately conventional and not at all suited to lively Scarlett. Her temporary life in London brings with it some entertaining new friends, namely instant GBF Oscar and his friend Ursula who also happens to be the sister of… Sean. Sean begins life as a curmudgeonly neighbour, and turns into a supportive friend who ends up helping track down Scarlett’s mother. But is he as suitable as David?

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Our heroine is young and still finding herself, but she’s adamant in her belief that the magic of movies is real and can be found out there- and she proves it. Scarlett makes all the mistakes you would expect from a young woman living in a rom-com world, but you can’t say she doesn’t know how to create a dramatic finish to the tale!

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– The book captures the feel of its main influences- the movies Notting Hill, Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’ Diary, as well as some american movies, mainly of the Nora Ephron variety, in addition to Pretty Woman and the classic An Affair To Remember. I must confess to a love-hate relationship with Richard Curtis’ movies; Bridget and Four Weddings were fabulous, but them I got tired of the ‘insert random American into a movie with a bunch of posh Brits’ format. But other that that I’m such a movie lover that I enjoyed all the references. Even if you’re not, it works as a frothy read on it’s own and shows London in a good light.

Evaluation of your eBook?– So, not just for movie lovers, but you’ll get more out of it if you get most of the references. It’s a sweet tale, the outcome of which was not a complete surprise, but the journey was fun, it even included a drunken trip to Disneyland Paris! The characters of Scarlett’s friends were easy to love, David was easy to… dislike, and Sean was something of an enigma, I kept thinking that a big secret was being hinted at, but he was a lovely chap. Recommended for rom-com lovers of all ages, especially if you know your Hugh Grant from your Colin Firth- someone that does know this is my lovely mate Jackie who pointed me at this book, so thanks! I’m a bit behind the times with this author; there is a sequel already, From Notting Hill to New York . . . Actually which I look forward to.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £4.56, although a couple of weeks ago it was £2.99, so do check.

US: Amazon for approximately $10.09 but click for the latest, or $7.99 on Kobobooks.