I thought I’d try something from one of the leading lights of the chick-lit genre. This is Fiona Walker’s 11th and it is a real doorstop of a book. First off, admiration, this is a comic novel and for a writer to sustain humour throughout a novel of this length is a great achievement. Walker has managed this by producing a tautly plotted tale. Slapstick and farcical situations a-plenty but there is also an intelligent almost in-joke humour of word-play and literary and cultural references which really does mean that with this broad scope of comedy there really is something for everyone in this novel. I am sure Walker (who I have not read before) has honed these skills in her previous ten books and so is able to produce a bit of a comic-writing masterclass in this one. There’s literary secrets, a festival in a country house and secret identities within a well-drawn Devon coastal setting. Although it often put a smile on my face I did not laugh out loud but the author’s stamina is to be applauded for keeping it all going over 660 pages. There were some memorable characterisations but I often have a problem with the lead female character in this type of novel and this was no exception. There’s a danger of the reader becoming frustrated with Allegra’s ineptitudes and incompetencies. For me this devalues the book a little. I know I’m not the target audience for this type of book but do women readers enjoy being driven mad by the actions of the main character? – I doubt it. Anyway in the three years that have passed since the publication of this novel Fiona Walker has put out another two novels. On the strength of this one I am sure I will give her output another go. Any suggestions?