Review: 'Dispatches of the Dating Zone' by K.T. Valentine (2014)
Having exhausted all the conventional ways to meet her 'Mr Right' (and because now she really is a little bit desperate), Fleur Summers turns to her well-meaning, but eccentric friends and family for help. From 'Man Mountain'; an engineer who eats everything in sight and tall dark handsome Tom with big hands but no idea how to use them, to the mysterious and brooding Henry Austin. Follow the trials and tribulations of Fleur's journey as she works her way through a number of eventful blind dates, all in the name of finding true love.
Last year I was contacted by author K.T. Valentine with the question of whether I'd be interested to read and review her debut novel, 'Dispatches from the Dating Zone'. I immediately liked the sound of the novel, which promised a diary account of a woman's dating adventures, and I also really liked the cover. The pink and black look great together, I love the way the title has been displayed and I think the cover as a whole will easily attract chick lit fans. However, you can't judge a book just by its cover, so I looked forward to sitting down with the book and be introduced to K.T. Valentine's writing!
Fleur Summers is a thirty-something single mother who is taking care of her son Tobey alone after her divorce. The time has come for her to get back in the game as she feels she is ready to meet a new man. She decides to trust her family and friends, who know her and know what she is looking for in a guy, and lets them pick out several men for her to go on a blind date with. It is clear Fleur doesn't know what she's in for when she starts her search for true love, as this is the start of quite an eventful journey within the world of blind dating...
'Dispatches of the Dating Zone' is written in the form of a diary which gives the reader the chance to follow the main protagonist Fleur's dating adventures from up close. I personally really enjoy books written in diary form, especially since it adds a personal touch to the story and provides the reader with a chance to experience the character's thoughts and emotions. The storyline is told from day to day and the chapters are quite short and quick to read. While I do like a good fast-paced story, in this case it did sometimes miss a bit of cohesion and I missed the link to the main storyline every now and again.
Fleur is a fun, likeable and realistic heroine who has her flaws. I also really liked how her son Tobey played an important role as well; it's clear he plays a crucial role in Fleur's life and this also comes back in the story. The focus lies not only on the blind dates (some of which are quite disastrious and hilarious), but there are also other elements including several secondary characters such as the school playground mums. Occassionally, the humour in the novel was a bit too obvious and too much; it felt like the author was trying really hard to be funny at all times, which was definitely not necessary for the story to stay enjoyable. Overall, 'Dispatches from the Dating Zone' is a quick-paced and light novel about the sometimes quite disastrous but entertaining world of blind dating; not entirely my cup of tea, but still a fun and enjoyable read!