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30 June 2014

Review & Interview: 'Cupid's Way' by Joanne Phillips (2014)

When Evie Stone's grandparents enlist her help to save their home in Cupid's Way, Evie is happy to oblige. On the cusp of her thirties, and still disappointingly single, Evie's so-called dream job with a firm of architects has been driving her crazy for months. What she needs, even more than a new man, is a challenge. But saving Cupid's Way won't be easy. A perfectly preserved Victorian terrace, surrounded by modern estates and retail parks, the street is a proud oasis of quirky characters, cobbled pathways and communal gardens. Unfortunately, it also sits on prime development land worth millions Dynamite Construction have the deal in the bag, and soon the residents of Cupid's Way will be forced to sell up and ship out - CEO Michael Andrews, charismatic and super-successful, has certainly never let sentimentality get in the way of business. At least, he hadn't until he met Evie Stone.

Several weeks ago I was contacted by author Joanne Phillips with the question whether I was interested in reviewing her novel ‘Cupid’s Way’, which was released on the 27th of June. I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with Joanne’s previous work; she’s written novels such as ‘The Family Trap’ (2013) and ‘Can’t Live Without’ which was an Amazon top 20 bestseller in 2012. I immediately really liked the sound of ‘Cupid’s Way’ and I never mind being introduced to a chick lit author I’m not familiar with yet. I’m also really excited that Joanne took the time to do a short interview for my blog; so, if you are interested in reading more about Joanne’s work, her future plans and ‘Cupid’s Way’ itself, be sure to scroll down!

Evie Stone is set to give an important talk at an event, but of course it is one of those days where everything just seems to go wrong and she’s running late. Thankfully, a handsome stranger named Michael is there to help her out and Evie immediately feels a connection between the two of them. However, Evie has other things on her mind. Her grandparents Mavis and Frank have lived in a Victorian street named Cupid’s Way in Bristol for many years, but the council has decided to knock all the houses on Cupid’s Way down. The residents can’t believe they are about to lose the place they love so much and where they made so many memories. Evie wants to do anything she can to save Cupid’s Way, but when she discovers the enemy, the CEO of Dynamite Construction, is a familiar face, things start to get tricky...

I can’t believe it took me so long to be introduced to Joanne Phillips’ work, because I adored this novel and fell in love with Joanne’s writing style. The book has a great storyline which I thoroughly enjoyed and a lovely leading lady, Evie, whom it was incredibly easy to warm to. Evie is on a mission to save her grandparents’ house on Cupid’s Way and I was really curious to see whether they would eventually be able to save Cupid’s Way from the hands of the council or not. Next to that, Evie has her own troubles, resulting in enough different aspects to keep track of which resulted in me not wanting to put the book down.

Next to Evie, the novel is filled with a brilliant mix of secondary characters. There’s Michael, the handsome and charming stranger Evie meets at the beginning of the book; Evie’s grandparents Mavis and Frank who you can’t help but develop a soft spot for; and all the other neighbours on Cupid’s Way with their own story to tell. Joanne Phillips has managed to write a thoroughly enjoyable book with a great storyline and a lovely cast of characters, and I already look forward to reading more of her work. Overall, ‘Cupid’s Way’ is a charming, captivating and simply amazing read which I definitely recommend to chick lit fans; you’ll love it!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Author Interview with Joanne Phillips

Can you tell us something about your novel, ‘Cupid’s Way’?
A cute Victorian terrace – Cupid’s Way – is under threat from developers, and Evie Stone is on a mission to save it. Only trouble is, she hadn’t banked on falling for Michael Andrews – CEO of Dynamite Construction, the developer behind the plan to demolish Cupid’s Way ...

Is the book in any way based on personal experiences or is it completely fiction? If so, how did you come up with this idea?
It’s completely fictional, although there are always elements of personal experience in any novel, I think. The inspiration for the street itself came from a Victorian terrace in Milton Keynes which was saved from demolition years ago when the residents got together and formed a cooperative. This real-life street gets a mention in the book. 

Can you tell us a bit more about the main protagonist, Evie?
Evie is single, frustrated in her career and in her choice of men thus far – a story I could definitely relate to back when I was approaching thirty! She has shaped her life around the stories of a father she never knew – an eco warrior she has idealised over the years. She’s been accused of having a ‘rescuer complex’ (something else I relate to), and is eager to dive in and help the residents of Cupid’s Way with their fight against the planners. But Evie is a passionate woman, and throughout the story has to struggle to reconcile her personal values with her strong attraction to Michael Andrews.

There’s a great cast of supporting characters in the novel as well. Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I love all of them, which sounds a bit lame but it’s true. My favourite two are Mavis, Evie’s gran, who is just the way I want to be when I’m older – sparky and funny and eccentric, but also wise and caring, and Stig, the old man with a penchant for rooting around in dustbins. I also loved writing Michael – it was a real challenge to make him sympathetic as potential love interest when he is, in many ways, the ‘baddie’ of the story.

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans? Are you perhaps already working on a next novel?
My next romantic comedy is 75% finished and is called You Are Here. It’s about a woman who leaves her husband and goes off in search of her teenage love. After that will be the next Flora Lively mystery – it’s a busy year!

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Read like a writer, noticing what works and what doesn’t work and asking yourself why. Write – this sounds obvious but it’s surprising how many things writers can do to avoid actually writing. Expect to write crap stuff, and learn early how to edit well. One bit of advice that resonated with me was: Write for yourself and edit for the reader. Follow that and you can’t go wrong.

What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
Cauldstane by Linda Gillard. Linda is an amazing writer, and this book had me gripped from beginning to end. She is a master of the craft. 

Which book could you not live without?
In order to answer this question I went around my house and looked at all the books I own, imagining which one I’d grab if I had to leave in a hurry and could only take one book. And – funnily enough – it would be my first novel, Can’t Live Without. That book represented so much for me – it was the realisation of a life-time’s dream and just holding it in my hand reminds me that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. 

And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Cupid’s Way’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
Warm, fun, engaging.

Thanks so much, Joanne! :)


  1. Thanks so much for having me on Spoonful of Happy Endings, Jody - and I loved doing the interview, your questions were awesome. I'm so happy that you enjoyed Cupid's Way xxx

    1. Thanks so much, Joanne! And thank you for sending me a review copy, I really loved the book! :)