Title: About Last Night
Author: Catherine Alliott
Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin)
The funny, enthralling and heartwarming story of a woman who gets a second chance in life – but will she have the courage to take it?
Molly has moved from London to rural Herefordshire chasing the Good Life. Swapping the tube for the saddle, she is living the country dream. Apart from it isn’t really her dream. It’s her husband David’s. And David is, well, rather dead now. Then a distant relative of her late husband kicks the bucket, leaving a London townhouse in her possession, and Molly dares to consider chucking it all in. Quitting the Good Life and going back to her good life.
But there’s a problem. A rather tall, handsome problem. In the shape of a man already living in Molly’s new house. And when a face appears from her past, Molly is more confused than ever. Will Molly’s London dream replace her muddy reality? Do any of the men in her life really have honourable intentions? And has she said goodbye to country life too soon?
About Last Night is the third book I’ve read by Catherine Alliott. The other two – The Secret Life of Evie Hamilton* and Wish You Were Here** – I enjoyed and gave 4 stars to. I had high hopes for About Last Night, but it didn’t quite live up to the others for me. It’s entertaining and has some funny parts which made me laugh, making it a fun read – but it really hugely impress me, for a number of reasons.
The characters are quite fun, though some – including, at times, the main character Molly – were a bit irritating. I liked her to begin with and felt for her, but as the story continued I got a bit annoyed with her decisions and actions which were, at times, ridiculous. Quite a few of the characters in this novel felt overly simplified and not particularly convincing; I didn’t feel like any of them were really people I’d either know from my own life, or could conceivably imagine running into on the street, at work or…well, anywhere really. I do feel that I have to either empathise / like the characters, or feel just feel strongly about them (even really hate them) in order to engage with the characters and therefore the story, and I didn’t feel either of these things with this book’s characters unfortunately.
I found a lot of this story humorous and entertaining, and bits really made me laugh. There are some comical scenes and some amusing thoughts and utterances by Molly. The way she interacts with her kids, and her kids interact with her, can be really funny; their despair over their mother when she’s embarrassing or confusing them really did make me laugh. However, the story felt like it dragged on a bit at times, focussing too much on small details or dialogue, and so I found myself wanting to speed read through big chunks. I guessed quite a lot of what was going to happen beforehand, and so the fact that it then took ages to get to those parts frustrated me. The ending was positive and wrapped everything up nicely, though, which is always what you expect from a summery read like this.
Overall I feel that this is an enjoyable novel that will no doubt entertain and amuse readers; it did both for me but sadly the characters fell a little flat, and in my opinion the narrative could have been cut down by about a third. However I’d still recommend About Last Night if you’re after a fun and light-hearted read.
Many thanks to Michael Joseph for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.