Thursday, August 31, 2017

Book Review: 'Snowdrops and Stardust' by Sue Lilley

British author Sue Lilley offered her debut novel ANOTHER SUMMER that introduced her into that popular realm of Chick Lit books. She comes by her observational talent and writing naturally, being a daydreamer and a compulsive people watcher. She and her artist husband live in the north east of England, and she enjoys a satisfying marriage from which she can relate to concepts of relationships that are not as secure as hers – fodder for novels about love and lust and coming together. Or as she phrases it, ‘My fast-paced stories have realistic characters who all have hopes, dreams, temptations and dilemmas. Oh, and men to fall in love with!’ And now she moves well into SNOWDROPS AND STARDUST, very short but pungent novella.

Sue has found that line between erotica and literary romance writing and uses that to her advantage. From her first chapter she offers glimpses into the at times distorted life of aura of rock stars and the manner in which they adjust to off stage life – ‘Aiden Delaney jumped from the truck and slung his scarlet guitar over his shoulder. The driver tossed down his battered holdall. It thumped into the fresh snow, already drifting along the hedgerows. “You sure about this, mate? We’re in for another blizzard any minute, I reckon. If you want to hang on, I’ll get shot of this load and we’ll be back on the motorway in time for breakfast.” “Right here’s just fine,” Aiden insisted. “Thanks for the lift.” As the truck moved off with a hiss and a grinding of gears, Aiden had a moment to wonder what he was doing. But three full days of freedom beckoned, a luxury he hadn’t experienced in a long time. The guys had grasped the chance to fly home. But Aiden had nowhere he wanted to be. “Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home…” He hummed the tune as he surveyed the snow-shrouded valley. But the sentiment thudded in his guts. Lately it had started to bother him but he hadn’t worked out what to do about it. One thing he did know. He’d had enough of limos and private planes and it was time to do something real. He’d given his hawk-eyed manager the slip and hitched a ride north from London, with no idea where he’d end up.’

But on to the story – ‘Was he on a promise or just so used to girls falling at his feet he couldn’t tell the difference? Lust at first sight was more his thing than good old-fashioned love but she was stirring something forgotten. Who doesn’t dream of being the girl he gives it all up for? Flame-haired rock-god Aiden Delaney has it all. But three days before his sell-out headline gig, he takes off alone, disillusioned and on a quest for inspiration. Fame and fortune was never meant to be such a senseless treadmill. Where does he go from here? In his recurring nightmare he’s trapped beneath the stage in a padlocked crate, frantically battering the sides. A few feet above him the show goes on, louder as he hammers for help. Nobody misses him. It’s time he got the hell out. But nobody jumps ship without a life raft. Is it fate he gets snowed-in with beautiful country-girl Marianne? But can he admit to feeling lost and scared of the future? He’ll sound like a lunatic. She could be his muse or his salvation but she doesn’t even own up to recognising him. They have three days alone in her cottage, miles from the city. Three magical days which will surely change their lives.’

Solid character building, enough Eros to satisfy, and a touch of couple binding philosophy reinforces Sue’s steady climb into the Chick Lit realm. Grady Harp, July 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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