The Cupid Effect, by Dorothy Koomson

>> Saturday, September 10, 2011

TITLE: The Cupid Effect
AUTHOR: Dorothy Koomson

PAGES: 342

SETTING: Contemporary England
TYPE: Chick Lit

There’s something magical about Ceri D’Altroy . . .

After leaving London to follow her heart’s desire to become a psychology lecturer, Ceri D’Altroy vows to leave her matchmaking ways behind her for good. Unfortunately, all she seems to do is inspire the new people she meets to change their lives.

There’s Ed, who’s decided to declare his love to a woman who is way out of his league; Mel and Claudine, two long-term friends who are now tempted to start an illicit affair; and Gwen, the chain-smoking head of department who has a deep, dark secret she only wants to share with her new employee.

No-one who comes into contact with Ceri is ever the same again. Could this unsuspecting young woman be modern-day Cupid?
Ceri D'Altroy has a perfectly good life in London. Her professional life is stable and successful and she's financially secure. Her personal life, however, is not up to the same standard. Not just her love-life (although that's not going too well, either): Ceri is the sort of person people tend to confide in, but in her case, they do so to a ridiculous extent. She's tired of being everyone's Agony Aunt, while not having anyone who really cares about her problems.

She needs a change. Ceri's dream has always been to become a psychology lecturer, and so she decides to give up on her life in London and go back to Leeds, where she went to university, to pursue that dream. Yes, it means she'll have to go back to being a lodger, when she's used to having her own flat, but it's a chance to have a clean start. No more Agony Aunt Ceri, she's going to mind her own business. But as you might suspect, it's not as easy as that.

This is Koomson's first book, but it doesn't really show. Her writing is assured and her plotting smooth. The one thing that makes The Cupid Effect's place in her bibliography clear is the tone. Koomson's books have got progressively more heart-wrenching and angsty, so in comparison to My Best Friend's Girl and Good Night, Beautiful, this is positively light-hearted. The level of angst is more akin to the fabulous The Chocolate Run: i.e. more chick lit with a heart than women's fiction that leaves you flattened.

Ceri is a lovely character, very much an Emma figure, whose efforts to help her friends often result in chaos. It was a lot of fun to see her deal with all the new people in her life and come to terms with herself. The book doesn't have a dominating central plot, and can sometimes feel a bit meandering, but I enjoyed Ceri so much that I was quite content to go along for the ride.

The cover I link to above is the edition I've got, but the one to the right seems to be the most recent one. I quite like both (much better than this ugly one, which seems to want to hide the fact the heroine is black) but this one probably reflects the amount of romance in the book better. Ceri does get her happy ending and her romance, but it's not the focus of the book. It didn't disappoint me, but I think it would be best to come into the book not expecting a romance novel proper.



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