Judy Astley! I feel as though I've been reading her books for ever and looking back through her back catalogue, I see that it's almost 20 years ago that her first novel was published. We've all got a little older, and maybe a little wiser (or not!), but Judy Astley's books have always been there as a comforting friend. Amazingly, I Should Be So Lucky is her seventeenth novel - it was published by Bantam Press /Transworld on 3 January this year.
Not only does the title make you hum 'that' tune every time you pick it up, and a bit of Kylie is always a good thing, but the cover design is beautifully sunshine yellow, which in the dead of Winter is almost as good as a session under one of those light boxes.
This is such a great read. Viola, the lead character is 35 and recently widowed. Her first husband Marco 'turned gay' and her second husband Rhys was a total waste of space. Rhys was a minor celebrity with a part in a hospital soap opera when he and Viola got married, just a few months after meeting. The marriage was a mistake and a disaster from day one. Rhys was killed in a car accident just over a year ago just after informing Viola that he was leaving her for the love of his life. Viola never found out who this woman was although Rhys had his fair share of stalkers and obsessive fans. It was these fans that forced Viola and her teenage daughter Rachel from their home. Viola has decided that it's time that she and Rachel started again, she's going to move back to her cottage and she's going to accept every invitation that is offered to her.
There is a good smattering of grown-up romance in this story, life is not all plain sailing and Viola seems to make a habit of totally misunderstanding the most obvious signs of interest - this adds so much to her story though and there were times when I actually snorted with laughter. There are serious issues covered too, young Rachel is discovering older boys and Viola's sister and mother both have some major secrets that have to be dealt with and are going to have a major impact on Viola.
Judy Astley really is a master in witty dialogue and creating realistic, likeable and quite sparkly characters. Never overdone, never cheesy, this is a real pleasure to read.
Find out more about Judy Astley at her website here, or follow her Tweets here