Like an old friend, I didn't want to say goodbye and read the final page as I'd had a great time reading it. I nearly passed out with joy when Rosy Thornton emailed me asking if I'd read a copy of Crossed Wires and post a review here. I was even more delighted when I found out she was a fellow academic writing chick lit (Cambridge no less!). This is one in the eye for anyone who uses the term chick lit with a sneer, thinking it's fluffier than the fluffiest marshmallow. As an aside, it maddens me that some people think that 'girls' are drawn to chick lit and need talking down to with simple plot lines, monosyllabic prose and huge font. Rosy has a unique voice, peppered with anecdotes from academic life and deals with touching emotional concerns. She's also done two things that I previously thought were impossible: -
- come up with an intriguing plot line around car insurance claims
- spun a fictional story from her academic area
Crossed Wires is a tale of two lonely single parents from very different places, backgrounds and dare I say it, classes. Mina and Peter, despite the surface differences come together after an accident of geography and find they have common ground, emotionally. I like the subtle drama - I was constantly wondering how their paths might cross again. What I was most touched by was their ability to trust a stranger, to open up to each other when they were closed to everyone else in their lives.
Being a nosy psychologist, I loved the way Rosy's knowledge of human geography has helped her craft characters and settings. Knowing the demographics of an area is a fantastic way of thinking about the sort of lives people might lead, which makes me wish I was studying geography again!
Rosy's style is unique because you feel as though you're learning something, without being lectured - fiction is great for expanding your perspectives and getting a glimpse into different lifestyles. Rosy has a sub genre of her own - self improving, but without the heady boring tome-style that some authors insist on dumping on us in the name of education! I'm off to amazon to seek out Rosy's other two novels because I'm so thrilled that chick lit has an academic pioneer!