Several weeks ago I went on vacation and made the mistake of only bringing one book with me. I of course finished that book within a few days and suddenly wished I had another book. Thank goodness I wasn’t camping and was near a Barnes & Noble.
Obviously, I wanted to buy two books instead of one, but thought better of it and only got From Notting Hill with Love … Actually by Ali McNamara (title links to Goodreads).
If I had to sum up this book with one word it would have to be cliche. You can probably guess from the title alone that the book is a romantic comedy of sorts set in England. Girl needs to spend some time away from fiancee to ‘find herself’, meets new friends, which includes a handsome guy who happens to be her new temporary neighbor and drama and some comedy ensues (but not much).
The writing was good, but not spectacular. It got the job done by telling the story, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The writing was maybe not as descriptive as I would have liked in some parts of the book, but McNamara’s writing still did a good job weaving the story together.
Unfortunately, I found the main character, Scarlett to be on the annoying side, but that could mainly stem from the cliche-ness of her and the story. She works with her dad, but doesn’t seem to love it – she only loves the movies and replaying them in her head. She seems selfish and is constantly annoyed at the fact that no one ‘understands’ her. There’s her fiancee, David, who seems like a typical businessman, but I didn’t really get a feel for him or what McNamara wanted him to be. It’s very clear that Scarlett doesn’t even love David.
There’s Oscar, a friendly neighbor that Scarlett meets in the Notting Hill area of London, who is a stereotypical gay man. I liked Oscar, but he bounced in and out, so I didn’t really get a feel for him beyond him being a stereotypical flamboyant gay man. There are a couple of other friends that come and go who seem perfectly find characters, but none really stood out that much.
Then there’s Sean. The supposed irritating neighbor of the house Scarlett is house-sitting. But really he’s only irritating for one meeting and then he instantly becomes charming. I simply knew from the blurb how this whole story was going to go down.
Scarlett loves the movies and is constantly daydreaming about her favorite ones or favorite scenes. It starts to irritate her fiancee, David, her loving single father, Tom and some of her friends to the point that they all suggest a month by herself, which aligns perfectly when the opportunity to house-sit for friends in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London, the setting of one of her favorite films, comes up. She meets new friends, which quickly includes Sean, the neighbor. She secretly wishes she could live in the movies, which she find herself living a romantic comedy pretty quickly when she finds herself attracted to Sean while suddenly embarking on a quest to find her absentee mother. Everything is romantic comedy cliche right up to Scarlett’s wedding day near the end of the book.
What I Disliked
For all the cliches of this book, it was still an entertaining read which is exactly what I was looking for at the time I bought this. The only thing is that because it was cliche and stereotypical, I pretty much knew what certain things were going to happen, which kind of takes away some of the fun, especially with this book when there weren’t really any surprises thrown in.
So, considering it’s summer and you might be looking for that fluffy romantic comedy to keep you company on vacation, From Notting Hill with Love … Actually just might be the book for you. But there also might be better options.