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12 May 2013

Review: 'From Notting Hill to New York... Actually' by Ali McNamara (2012)

Scarlett O’Brien, utterly addicted to romantic films, has found her leading man. She’s convinced Sean is Mr Right, but the day-to-day reality of a relationship isn’t quite like the movies. With Sean constantly away on business, Scarlett and her new best friend Oscar decide to head to New York for the holiday of a lifetime. 

From one famous landmark to the next, Scarlett and Oscar make many new friends during their adventure - including sailors in town for Fleet Week, a famous film star, and Jamie & Max, a TV reporter and cameraman. Scarlett finds herself strangely drawn to Jamie, they appear to have much in common: a love of films and Jamie’s search for a parent he never knew. But Scarlett has to ask herself why she is reacting like this to another man when she’s so in love with Sean …

Somehow I didn't know anything about this sequel to Ali McNamara's 'From Notting Hill With Love... Actually'. Don't ask me how, because I absolutely LOVED that novel and I had been secretly wishing and hoping for another book about Scarlett for quite some time already. So, imagine my surprise and excitement when I walked into a book shop last year and suddenly saw a familiar title jumping up at me. I remember even squealing and perhaps jumping up and down a bit, out of pure excitement, then and there (I also remember my boyfriend's sigh because I was getting so excited about 'just another book'), because I simply knew this novel would not let me down. I couldn't wait to get lost in Scarlett's world again, and find out which movies and celebrities would cross her path this time around... And let me tell you, the sequel certainly didn't disappoint!

Scarlett O'Brien seems to have it all: she has found the love of her life in the form of Sean, with whom she is living together in his lovely Notting Hill mansion and the family business is thriving like never before. However, Sean is a busy man and away on business a lot, which results in Scarlett starting to feel like something is missing from her life. When Sean suggests a trip to New York, Scarlett can't wait to pack her bags and within no time she and her best friend Oscar are on their way to the Big Apple. During the trip, Scarlett meets several interesting people, such as reporter Jamie with whom she has an instant click, and quickly finds herself starring in another celebrity-filled romantic adventure which she had not seen coming...

This novel already has a great basis, because of the same lovely characters that were introduced in the first book: Scarlett (whom I just love as the heroine of this series), Oscar (who plays a bigger role as Scarlett's BFF and managed to crack me up continually with his behaviour and comments), and Sean (who is just the perfect match for Scarlett, a real Prince Charming!). Yet, the several new characters that are introduced such as Jamie, Max, and Peter bring their own special something to the table. I already loved the scene setting at the start of the novel, Notting Hill, but New York obviously brings another level of excitement and fabulousness to the story. I've never been to New York myself, but with this novel it really felt like I was there, visiting all the landmarks and doing the sightseeing. My desire to visit NYC someday has only grown! Next to the well-written characters and the fantastic scene setting, Ali McNamara once again managed to add some fantastic classic romantic movie scenes to the story (from 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' to 'You've Got Mail') and some great celebrity appearances (ladies, be prepared for some entertaining scenes with some seriously good-looking famous men!). Next to all these great elements, the plot itself is really entertaining with not just romance and humour, but also a bit of mystery in it here and there.

If you're a fan of chick lit novels and/or romantic comedies, you must pick up this novel because it is a definite must-read! No worries if you haven't read 'From Notting Hill with Love... Actually'; Ali McNamara gives enough background information to understand the story without having read the first novel. However, I highly recommand starting with the first one, simply because it is also a great novel you don't want to miss out on. Trust me, you will not want to put it down! Some readers might label this book as 'cliched' or 'obvious', but I have to disagree. I think with most chick lit novels you can sometimes slightly predict what is going to happen, but in this case it definitely didn't ruin the story for me. To me, the novel had a certain sparkle, a touch of magic, which resulted in me simply not wanting to put it down and not wanting it to end. Talking about endings, this novel has to have one of my favourite endings of all time... It's quite spectacular! So, overall, an amazing read which has left me with one burning question: when can we expect a third novel?


1 comment:

  1. I was really excited with your review of the first book, so I'm even more excited to hear that there is a second one as well!!! I'll be adding this to my wish list as well, thanks Jody!