Title: Alison Wonderland (Amazon, Goodreads)
Author: Helen Smith (Amazon, Goodreads, Website)
Publisher: Amazon Encore
Genre: Mystery, Fiction
Source: Author sent a copy for review.
After her husband leaves her for another woman, twentysomething Londoner Alison Temple impulsively applies for a job at the very P.I. firm she hired to trap her philandering ex. She hopes it will be the change of scene she so desperately needs to move on with her shattered life. At the all-female Fitzgerald’s Bureau of Investigation, she spends her days tracking lost objects and her nights shadowing unfaithful husbands. But no matter what the case, none of her clients can compare to the fascinating characters in her personal life. There’s her boss, the estimable and tidy Mrs. Fitzgerald; Taron, Alison’s eccentric best friend, who claims her mother is a witch; Jeff, her love-struck, poetry-writing neighbor; and—last but not least—her psychic postman. Her relationships with them all become entangled when she joins Taron for a road trip to the seaside and stumbles into a misadventure of epic proportions! Clever, quirky, and infused with just a hint of magic, this humorous literary novel introduces a memorable heroine struggling with the everyday complexities of modern life.
My first reaction when I finished this book was ‘Huh?’ I wasn’t sure what I had just read or why. The title intrigued me and if I had come across it in a store with the new cover I definitely would have picked it up myself. However, after reading this, I’m not sure if I should recommend it or not.
The characters are definitely interesting. Each character has its own quirks and adds to the story, but what is the story? That seems to be the biggest question. There is no real conclusion to the story, nor is it written to lead to a sequel. I feel as if Smith started with a great story and yet distracted by random tangents along the way. The ‘end’ with the sheep hybrid and the farmer who cares for it didn’t seem to fit in and feels like a gratuitous ‘eww’ moment so there is something memorable about the book. Although it’s not memorable for a good reason.
I’m not sure who I would recommend this to, but if you’re expecting a little PI mystery mixed with some chick-lit like events, this is not the book for you. I feel that Smith has a way with words and could write a wonderful book, perhaps her others are more like that, but this one just isn’t it.