2007, Chick Lit
NAL, $12.95, 355 pages, Amazon ASIN 0451220528 Part of a series
A Rather Lovely Inheritance provided me with a delightful read, tapping into my love of European travel and girl sleuths, as well as my fondness for unusual chick lit.
Penny Nichols is on a film set in Cannes; she provides historical research to the producers of historical sagas and her current project is a movie about Josephine. Her stay is interrupted when she receives word from her parents that she must travel to London to represent her family, who live in the U.S., at the reading of her Great Aunt Penelope's will. Upon her arrival she meets up with Jeremy, a lawyer and distant relative she hasn't seen since she was nine and the two spent a summer together playing secret agents.
According to her aunt's will, Jeremy has been left a villa in France, while Penny gets the garage and all its contents. Penny's mother inherits a gorgeous London townhouse, which she instantly turns over to Penny, thus making her a wealthy heiress.
As they work through the inheritance, Jeremy gets information that changes everything he believes about himself. While he goes into a temporary – and completely believable – snit, we don't get any long term angst since Jeremy is not a man to hold onto his problems endlessly, nor is Penny a woman to put up with an angsty man.
Penny has a slew of mysteries to uncover. She learns that all of aunt's jewelry is missing and one night wakes up to discover a mysterious man searching through her aunt's belongings. Then there are the nasty relatives clearly looking for something. Penny leaps into unraveling these and other mysteries quite naturally. As a child, she was teased not only about her silly name, but also because her parents wrote a series of picture books featuring Penny Nichols, Girl Detective.
As is the case with chick lit, this is Penny's story, told from her perspective. I found her to be a delightful heroine. She has exuberance for life, taking joy in simple things such as racing up the stairs, rushing to beat Jeremy some place. I enjoyed how she gets lost in the history of her aunt, spending hours looking through old photographs and clothes. Her love of history, and historical artifacts at times lent the book the feeling of a 1940s romp.
The author provides wonderful descriptions of Cannes, London, and other European settings. They made me feel as if I was right there with Penny, through all her adventures.
This isn't a book that will suit all romance readers. There's no sex involved, and only a very gradual, sweet romance. And if you long for a meaty, complex read, this definitely isn't the book for you. However, if you think that all chick lit involves heroines who live for shopping - and you enjoy a light, sweet romance - you will be pleasantly surprised by A Rather Lovely Inheritance. I found it to be completely lovely.
-- LinnieGayl Kimmel
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