Bidding For Love
I think I’ve read this book a couple of hundred times before. It just had a different name and author. A girl gets a chance at a new life, moves to a new town completely out of her orbit, makes friends and enemies, finds a guy to play with and a guy to fall in love with, all the while Discovering Herself. See? I bet you’ve read this one, too. Romance gets a bad rap for being formulaic, but I think it’s Chick Lit that suffers from this affliction more. While Bidding for Love is at times unbearably cute and refreshingly not written in first person, I just couldn’t feel for these characters or their plight.
Flora Stanza just inherited 51% of the auction business Stanza and Stanza, situated in the cozy English countryside. Since she hasn’t found any passion in her previous jobs, London bred Flora decides to give the auctioning business a shot. Her business partner and Extremely Distant Cousin Charles and his straitlaced fiancée Annabelle greet her on her first day. It’s not a very warm welcome, as Charles and Annabelle take one look at the pretty, blond, and stylish Flora in her skimpy summer dresses and strappy sandals and write her off as a ditz. Flora knows the impression she gives off and puts on a bright smile as they do everything in their power to not make her feel welcome so she will sell her shares to Annabelle and fly on back to London.
Flora still wants to give it a go and immerses herself in the business, finding she likes it, and discovering ways to enhance the currently unprofitable Stanza and Stanza. Meanwhile, she is plagued by the stiff-collared Annabelle, who uses her to spiffy up her own style, while at the same time berating her for being an idiot. Charles loves the auctioneering business and he and Flora form a small bond due to that, along with his affection for Flora’s new kittens. We can all guess what happens next. Too bad it took 400 loooong pages to get that point.
I really don’t know if I like Flora or not. Possibly because I just didn’t care about her. She’s cheery, upbeat, and rather dense at times. She couldn’t see past Annabelle’s motives or speak up when it really counted. I was very disappointed in her during one of the climatic scenes with Charles when she acts like a spineless ninny.
Charles, well, he had the makings of being a lovable hero. I do love my uptight men who end up relaxing a little when they meet their special someone, but Charles never filled those shoes completely. He keeps his stiff upper lip for far too long, only showing very brief glimpses of the man he would become. One of Flora’s friends describes him as “Mr. Darcy in need of an enema.” Hit the nail on the head with that one.
This is very much a British book and, though I consider myself well versed in British slang and phrases, there are many here that flew right over my head. This is not really a complaint, but more a warning for those who have a low tolerance for London-speak.
If this is typical Katie Fforde I don’t think I will be checking out her future books. Her writing is good, but the plot was inane. Bidding for Love is nothing new in the world of Chick Lit and I can’t honestly recommend it.