Review: 'Holding Out for a Hero' by Victoria van Tiem (2016)
The problem with first love is that it never truly dies. Libby London fell in love in with the 80s, came of age in the 90s, and now, in the 21st Century, she's completely falling apart... Her New York City fashion sensibility is more 'vintage tragedy' than 'retro babe' and might just be what's holding her back in all matters of life and love...
At least that's what her well-meaning friends think. They've staged a #80sIntervention in an effort to bring Libby bang up-to-date. But how do you move forward when the one you love holds you in the past? Between her dreaded birthday party, friend's madcap ambush, and being forced to relocate her Pretty In Pink thrift shop, Libby's nearing the end of the rope... If her therapist isn't quick, it could be a literal one.
Over the past year or so I've been meaning to check out a relatively new author within the chick lit world; an author I've heard many positive things about, namely Victoria van Tiem. Her novel 'Love Like the Movies' was released in 2015 and it looks like the kind of novel I'd absolutely love. For some reason I still haven't picked up my own copy of the book, but when I was provided with the chance to review 'Holding Out for a Hero', Victoria's 2016 release, on NetGalley, I got excited and saw it as the perfect opportunity to finally check out some of her work. After some problems with the review copy and my Ipad I finally managed to get a readable copy of the book and sat down with it a few weeks ago.
Thirty-something Libby London loves everything about the 1980s. From the fabulous music to the big hairstyles and, especially, the colourful clothes. Libby even turned the 80s into her career with her very own vintage 80s shop in New York City called 'Pretty in Pink.' While Libby doesn't feel the need to step out of the past, her friends decide it is time for an intervention to not only get Libby back into the modern day and age but also back into the dating pool. However, there is a reason Libby prefers it back in the 80s and she isn't quite sure whether she is ready to leave everything she so dearly loves behind just yet...
While I was born in the late 80s myself, I guess I was too young to really experience the decade because I've never really had a specific click with it. That being said, though, I really liked the idea of a protagonist being 'stuck' in a specific time and her friends staging an intervention to get her out of it, which is in short what 'Holding Out for a Hero' is all about. Libby gets a make-over and in the lead-up to her 33rd birthday her friends set her up on dates that are inspired by the characters from 'The Breakfast Club.' At the same time Libby is struggling with keeping her vintage store open, so there was definitely enough going on to keep me, as the reader, captivated and curious until the end.
At first I had a bit of difficulty with Libby because she is quite self-centred. However, as the story progresses it soon becomes clear that this isn't just a fun read, but one that also deals with a serious topic, namely depression. I won't give too much away, but author Victoria van Tiem deals with this in a commendable way. It did mean, though, that the book wasn't really the fun romantic comedy I expected it to be and I feel the cover and book description do not really match the inside. I personally had really high expectations of this novel because of all the praise I've seen for the author, and I think that's my fault and also why I didn't end up loving this book as much as I initially hoped I would. However, 'Looking Out for a Hero' is a bitter-sweet and fast-paced read that's a convincing combination of fun and emotions with a good dose of 80s added to it all which I'm convinced numerous readers will enjoy. Not quite what I expected, but certainly enough to already have me curious about Victoria van Tiem's next work.