Title: Living Dangerously
Author: Katie Fforde
Genre: Contemporary romance
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Polly Cameron is happy being thirty-five and celibate, living in a small Gloucestershire town with a possessive cat for company and a Rayburn for comfort. After all, a relationship would only complicate things…
But Polly’s life is already complicated. In addition to her job in the Whole Nut café and her part in the ‘Save Our High Street’ campaign, there’s her pottery career to get off the ground. Not to mention dodging the efforts of her friends and mother to find her a husband…
I was in the middle of a reading slump when I read this book. I thought, “Hey, Katie Fforde’s books are always easy to read, and its romance and the setting always makes me dream and wish I was there. But of course, I also have qualms about it too. Because in January, I’ve read a couple of Katie Fforde’s books, one after another, in an attempt to finish all my Katie Fforde books that I binge-buy. After reading so many Katie Fforde’s books in one go, the plots feel so familiar and tired, and I’m afraid it won’t be able to hook me.
But I was wrong.
I can’t help but like the book from the start, because it was already so amusing. The main character is Polly Cameron, while in the midst of escaping a dinner party hosted by her school friend, Melissa—whom she had just gotten re-acquainted with—had accidentally left a door open, causing Melissa’s cat to escape too and “mated” with a random cat on the street. Melissa is a high class, rich woman, and so was her circle of friends at the dinner party, so Polly had felt like a fish out of the water. And add in her feminism. The second chapter was amusing to me because a) she accidentally triggered a car’s alarm when she leaned against it while looking for her key, and b) Melissa had just said she wouldn’t let her cat mate with just any cat, and in the end, her cat was banged by a stray (please excuse my language).
The first two chapters hooked me, and I managed to hang on till the end, even if it took me two days to finish this book.
I must confess, I kind-of have a love/hate relationship with the main character, Polly. I love her. She’s a feminist, and a strong character. She’s 35 years-old and single, and she doesn’t need a man to live happily. Or if not happy, than content with life. She’s sarcastic sometimes, and she knows how to take control, and works her way with teenagers. She’s also kind, as shown during her interaction with Patrick, David Locking-Hill’s youngest son. We also have one similarity, which is fear of height. But I dislike that she’s using money as an excuse not to marry David when he proposed. Also, I think she’s a fool for going out with Tristan just because she decided to “date” again after years of not doing so, despite Bridget’s (her best friend and colleague) disapproval (kind-of).
Unlike the other Katie Fforde books that I like, the reason I like Living Dangerously is because of the humor, and Polly’s interactions with the other side characters. Polly and Bridget’s friendship is really fun and amusing to read. She’s so close to Bridget that she also has an easy friendship with Alan, Bridget’s husband, and her three children. Those kids love her, and she loves them too.
It was also fun reading about Polly and Patrick. The first two times they interacted with one another, Polly had somehow saved Patrick. Although Polly’s and Patrick’s interactions in the book is brief, but I love it. I think, Patrick is probably my number one favourite character, even though he only appeared four times. Polly didn’t treat 17 year-old Patrick like a child, and didn’t try to mother him, or chastise him for dropping out of school, and in return, Patrick respects her, and can’t help but like her too. In the final interaction between Polly and Patrick, the teen managed to make Polly stop being a fool. He was just so wise during that moment. He also helped with his father’s business when his father went AWOL at the end, which made me respect him. And him wanting to take Psychology in college is a plus.
I don’t really like the romance in this book. It just felt too rushed to me. David Locking-Hill, a widower, a tad bit older than Polly, and a rich wine merchant is Polly’s love interest. They met in the first chapter. He was introduced to Polly at the dinner party by Melissa. Polly and David talked during the dinner party, and there was sarcasm, but it didn’t really give me the “I like you” vibe, romantically or as friends. By the third meeting, which was the second time Polly helped Patrick, Polly and David had sex. That was also the first time Polly had sex in years. To me, I felt like they just jumped into it too quickly. And soon after, the proposal came. Like what? How can you propose without even going out on a date? Yes David, you had sex once, and Polly saved Patrick twice, and is really good at handling him, but still… Too fast! You can’t know things about another person just by having sex with them.
In conclusion, while I don’t “love” this book, I think I like it enough to read it again after some time. Despite how I felt about the romance part of the book, I love all the characters, especially Bridget and her family, Patrick, Beth (Polly’s colleague), and Monica (David’s housekeeper). I would definitely recommend this to people who wants something light and amusing to read.