It's The Little Things
By Erica James
I bought this book as a birthday present for my sister, because I have realised these are the sorts of stories she liked. However, as fate would have it, I ended up reading it first (No, I am not one of those people who buy things for people so that they can make use of it themselves; at least I am not usually this way), and I am now thoroughly convinced that she will love it.
As titles go, It's the Little Things does not impress me. It seems obvious somehow; but it is also a title that immediately alerts the reader to the genre of the book - which I would tentatively say is Romance. It certainly achieves what it set out to achieve, so I will give it a 5/10.
We follow three, and then four characters - Dan, Sally, Chloe and Seth, as they navigate the minefield that we call being in a relationship/ being in love. I can't say the plot is anything I haven't come across before, or that it is particularly ingenious, but it is certainly a well woven tale. It is a story about normal people, living normal lives and making mistakes that change what would perhaps have been the natural course of their lives. I would give the plot 7/10.
I have read Erica James before - The Queen of New Beginnings (which is a title I love, probably because it reminds me of the song - King of Wishful Thinking...). James certainly has a knack for creating real characters. They are characters that do things that exasperate you and have you wanting to give them a knock on the forehead. Their struggles are struggles you may very well have experienced yourself. You can hate them or love them but you are forced to empathise with them. So I would give the characters a good 8/10.
'She pitied anyone who had never experienced even a fraction of what she was feeling. At the oddest times, she would catch herself looking at people around her - in a meeting, in a shop - and wonder how they could bear their safe, dull little lives.'
The writing of James and the way the story unfolds is engaging. She draws you in without you even realising. I didn't think it would turn out to be a book I was loath to put down, but I was reading it at every opportunity at work. I needed to know what would happen to the characters - especially Sally; I needed to know. 9/10 for the writing that is also so superbly British.
All in all James, is a writer to take the time out to read.