Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Book review: Finding Colin Firth by Mia March


My edition: Paperback, published on 7 November 2013 by Pan Macmillan, 385 pages.

Description: At home in Boothbay Harbour, Maine, Veronica Russo loves to lose herself in watching Colin Firth movies and baking pies filled with good thoughts. Pies that can bring you happiness, hope, even love (everything she feels when Colin Firth is on the screen, in fact). But Veronica is not so in touch with her own feelings and has deeply buried memories of that one heart-breaking summer, when she was just 16...

In Boston, college graduate Bea Crane has received an earth-shattering letter. A year after the death of her wonderful mum, she reads that she was adopted at birth and that her biological mother lives not that far away, in Boothbay. But is she brave enough to find out more?

Gemma Hendricks has come to Boothbay not to find something, but to run away. She’s accidentally pregnant, suddenly unemployed and under pressure from her husband to give up on her career and settle down, away from her beloved New York City. With all this on her shoulders, Gemma would rather watch Bridget Jones' Diary with a bowl of popcorn rather than face the truth. But she can't hide away for ever.

With Colin Firth in town to shoot a new movie, all three women find their lives become closely entwined. They might be looking out for Colin Firth at every turn, but they’ll also find new and important friendships along the way.


Rating:



Last year I read the excellent The Meryl Streep Movie Club (find my review HERE) by Mia March and it was a book that I kept thinking about long after and recommending it to my friends, so you can imagine I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that the author had a new novel coming out this year. And not just any novel, but one titled Finding Colin Firth which has an image of the actor in his acclaimed role of Jane Austen's Mr Darcy on the cover - cuteness overload!

The novel focuses on three different characters - Veronica Russo, Bea Crane and Gemma Hendricks - who are strangers at the start of the story, but through a series of events their lives, and with that the storylines, become intertwined. A crucial part of their connection is the actor Colin Firth who is rumoured to be filming in the town where all the action takes place and the characters on more than one occasion cross paths while Finding Colin Firth.

Veronica lives in Boothbay Harbour in Maine and works in a diner. Two of the things she loves most in the world are baking her special elixir pies and watching Colin Firth films. But for all the love and happiness pies she creates for her customers, Veronica has not yet been able to find love herself as no-one seems to be able to get closer to her heart than the fictional character of Mr Darcy, as portrayed by Colin Firth of course.

A year after her mother's death, 22 year-old Bea receives a letter which changes everything she's ever know about herself. In contrary to what she'd been led to believe all her life her father and mother, now both passed away, are not her biological parents. When she calls the adoption agency for more information she's given the details of her biological mother with an address in Boothbay Harbour and with that comes the hard decision whether Bea wants to contact this meet this person or not.

Finally there is Gemma, a career woman at heart she lost her job as a journalist in New York and she is now under increasing pressure from both her husband and her mother-in-law to give up on her passion as a writer and instead move closer to her in-laws and start on creating a family of her own. When she finds out that she is pregnant she sees all her grand plans of being hired by a major news outlet fly out of the window, and to escape the pressure from the people around her and to be able to clear her head before making any rash decisions, Gemma takes a short break in Boothbay Harbour.

Finding Colin Firth was INCREDIBLY good. I already really liked The Meryl Streep Movie Club, but with this novel author Mia March brings it to a whole new level. The running theme throughout is that of family; single parenthood, unwanted pregnancy, loss of a parent and adoption are just a few of the elements that come to the surface. The topics are handled very sensitively and through Gemma's research into Hope Home, a centre for teenagers who need support during their pregnancies, the reader discovers the various, heartbreaking stories of these young women who struggle, often by themselves with little to no support from their family, with the decision whether to keep their child or go the adoption route.

But don't let this make you think that this is just a very sad novel, because for all the very realistic problems that are covered in a moving way there is also a whole lot of fun. The hunt for Colin Firth by the villagers was certainly an aspect that I enjoyed greatly and I loved revisiting some of his great (and sometimes not so great) films through the eyes of the characters who were watching the films throughout the story.

Something else that I loved reading about were Veronica's pies. She makes elixir pies to order where during the baking process she thinks about something or someone in particular (for instance her beloved grandmother, who passed away when she was a teenager, when making a pie that makes you feel closer to someone you want to be closer to) and she asks the recipient to also think of something or someone that can evoke the same emotion while eating the pie. Because of the combined hope, or prayer as you will, put into the baking and eating of the pie it will have the effect you desire, which while not magic or voodoo (as she gets accused of) is certainly something very special.

Also, while this novel is a stand alone and can be read without any previous knowledge of March' work, those who have read The Meryl Streep Movie Club will be happy to know that not only does the book once again take place in the idyllic town of Boothbay Harbour, but characters from the first novel make a reappearance too. We see what happened to June and Isabel, and to a lesser extent Kat, after the events of the previous book and a large part of the story takes place in The Three Captains' Inn, where both Bea and Gemma stay during their time in the town.

And of course once again there is a movie theme running throughout the story, which unsurprisingly considering the title and cover image, is Colin Firth. But instead of the characters analysing the films after weekly film evenings at the Inn, his back catalogue of work is instead of inspiration to the three main characters in a different, more individual way - which is equally effective from a storytelling point of view.

If my VERY long review (apologies for that, kudos to anyone who's read this far...) didn't already make it clear, I absolutely loved Finding Colin Firth. Based on the fabulous cover I expected a fluffy kind of chick-lit, but what I got was a moving and heartwarming story of family, loss and love. Though there was plenty of adorableness as well of course, and I am totally okay with that.

You can purchase your copy of the novel from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Website: www.miamarch.com

Facebook: facebook.com/MiaMarch.author

Twitter: @March_Mia


Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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