It took me quite sometime to get into this book. The Nell who worked in the Council offices rubbed me up the wrong way and at first I could not tolerate her. But then Nell went off to San Francisco and the character changed and I found myself really liking her. By the time I had finished reading this book I really liked Nell and was routing for her.
The story is about Nell, who, at the start of the book, works in a council office. Her character felt really annoying to me and I didn’t relate to her at all. She has an on/off relationship with Aidan, who also works at the council. Aidan indicates one morning that he wants to see her in private and Nell is convinced that he wants to get back with her. She tells her best friend Vicky about Aidan wanting to see her – Vicky also works at the council.
But Aidan does not ask Nell to get back involved with him, instead he tips her off that the council are about to make people in the department redundant. He asks her to keep quiet as the announcement is imminent and those involved are about to find out anyway. Nell hates having to keep quiet but she has promised she will stay quiet.
Nell leaves work after the shocking meeting, where half of the staff are paid off. She ends up in an estate agent and uses most of her redundancy money to fund a trip to San Francisco. Her cousin Lizzie lives there and Nell cheekily asks to use the phone to contact Lizzie to arrange for her to stay with her for the duration of her stay.
As she is broke she has to move back home to her parents’ place just before she jets off to America. Aidan is desperately trying to get in touch with her, trying to win her back despite being the one who tips her off about losing her job whilst he got to keep his. Nell feels betrayed by him so ignores all of his messages and emails. She goes off to San Francisco confused and very much disheartened with her life.
San Francisco is a revelation for her and as a character Nell becomes nicer and more relatable, well, for me anyway. The story has a wonderful depth to it once we follow Nell to San Francisco. In fact, the story is very enjoyable once we get to San Francisco and I went from not being sure at all about the book to absolutely loving it!
I loved how the writer changed the character once she was away from England. I did worry that I would dislike Nell once more when she returned but it seemed San Francisco changed her and she certainly did not revert back to the Nell we first get introduced to.
This is a wonderful story, full of engaging characters – some you will like, others you will hate – and a very good description of the sights of San Francisco. I did not expect to like the story but once Nell had left England I enjoyed it so much. It is very well written and very well researched. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Definitely recommended. 5 stars *****