BOOK REVIEW: My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon

In the summer, my cat makes me sit outside where I can’t get any WiFi. Apparently she is too scared to stay in the garden by herself, and just feels safer if I’m there.

I suppose I could spend my enforced no-WiFi time doing Yoga and meditating on how I became so devoted to such a demanding creature, but it’s really a great chance to catch up on some reading. It’s like relaxing on the beach with a good book, only with cat babysitting thrown in, and lots of purring.

My Sweet Revenge was written under the furry supervision of author Jane Fallon’s diva moggy Ollie (she’s a girl) Fallon-Gervais, so it’s only right it should be read while under the paw too. Let me explain: Ollie has her own Twitter account (37,000 followers) and my familiarity with her social media antics clued me in that I would love Jane’s world. Not that Jane writes Ollie’s Tweets, of course.

So I really have to thank Olls – because this isn’t the kind of book I’d grab off the shelf; I know it’s not necessarily a popular term, but ‘chick lit’ isn’t generally for me. (Fair play to all such writers out there –  I know I would never have the talent to write it.)

As expected, Jane Fallon’s work (she is now the author of seven best-selling books) has far too much drama and deceit to be fluffy or girly. It’s like chick lit written by a secret evil genius with a blonde ponytail.

Jane’s latest heroine, Paula, works in a bakery (hence that mouthwatering jacket cover) and her idea of getting back at her (apparently) cheating husband isn’t just to fling a cream pie in his lying face.

See? That would be the plot of my own romantic revenge novel.

Paula and her husband Robert met at drama school; his acting career took off, hers didn’t. Robert’s not exactly Benedict Cumberbatch famous, more like second-billed lead on a soap (or ‘long-running drama’) famous, and beloved by the nation’s grannies. The couple’s teenage daughter Georgia is the only celeb sprog on the planet to not be an aspiring actress/photographer/model, and has her heart set on medical school instead.

Their life is shattered when Paula makes a discovery leading her to believe that Robert is having an affair with a gorgeous co-star named Saskia, who is married to a producer on their show Farmer Giles (!). Paula doesn’t confront her husband, deciding instead to execute a scheme for retribution that will make him fall back in love with her, while scuppering any chance he has of happiness with Saskia.

The story is mean, addictive, and about as unlikely as a sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, calorie-free pastry ever tasting good. But Jane Fallon was a producer for shows like EastEnders and This Life, and is a famous-adjacent person herself. With her powers of observation, she’s made this book really authentic and insightful. Paula is a great main character – likeable and with enough gusto to keep the reader engaged.

I honestly could not see the twists coming. The book has been an absolute joy and a great vacation read.

Verdict: I haven’t enjoyed a story partly-set in an eatery so much since Pushing Daisies folded.

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