I'm a bit ashamed to write this next bit, as it is judgmental and full of preconceived ideas that are totally wrong. When I found out that the author was someone in the public eye (Giovanna is the sister of TOWIE's Marco Falcone, wife of Tom from McFly and an actress/columnist in her own right) I was put off. I don't tend to like books written by celebrities and so Billy and Me languished unread for seven months. I kept seeing it there, goading me, but I'd already written it off. It was only when fellow bloggers were compiling their books of the year and Billy and Me kept recurring in the lists that I decided to give it a try, and I'm glad I did-it has been a lovely book to start the year with. Touching, sweet and romantic, Billy and Me pulled me in from the start. So I'd like to say a heartfelt sorry to Giovanna and that I have well and truly learnt my lesson not to judge a book before reading!
Billy and Me is a gorgeously romantic debut novel about the redemptive power of love by actress, journalist and blogger Giovanna Fletcher.
Sophie May has a secret.
One that she's successfully kept for years. It's meant that she's had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop.
But then she meets the gorgeous Billy - an actor with ambitions to make it to the top. And when they fall in love, Sophie is whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy's glamorous - but ruthless - world.
Their relationship throws Sophie right into the spotlight after years of shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? And most of all, is she ready for her secret heartbreak to be discovered and shared with the nation?
Charming, heartwarming and utterly romantic, Billy and Me will completely capture your heart.
Well, as I said earlier, I really enjoyed this book.
Firstly, the characters were well constructed. Sophie was immediately likeable and easy to empathise with, whilst Billy is the big name star. They balanced each other out beautifully and gave the book depth. However, Sophie's friend Molly and the other minor characters, such as Sophie's Mum and Colin, were also easy to relate to.
The locations were great too-a simple country lifestyle in Kent juxtaposed with the pace and glamour of London highlife.
The plot itself could have been out and out fluff and glamour given the subject matter, but actually Billy and Me is as much a book about bereavement, self esteem and realising what is important in life as it is about celebrity relationships. Ultimately, it is about seeking what makes you happy. Reading this book over new year was especially poignant as I was already in that mode of reassessing hopes and dreams and this book pushed me on to think about exactly what I want out of life.
There was only one minor point that irritated me slightly whilst reading, and that was the abundance of exclamation marks. I tend to read with quite a lot of emphasis and intonation and found myself wishing there weren't so many as it disturbed the flow. That said, I am aware this is purely personal preference and it definitely didn't deter me from reading on.
If you love chicklit, romance and dreaming of celebrity heartthrobs, this is an absolute must-read for you.
I'm looking forward to Giovanna Fletcher's next offering and won't be leaving it unread, languishing on my bookshelf for months, that's for sure!
Billy and Me is out now, published by Penguin.