The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch, therefore I am
By Louise Wise
5 out of 5
Valerie Anthrope is a cut-throat business woman and happy being alone.
She answers to no-one. She's The Boss.
But enter Ellen in the guise of her fairy godmother wanting to make the
world rosy and smelling of marshmallow. How can Valerie cope with this burst of
sunshine? It gets worse, Ellen has a nephew who's equally chirpy, but he thinks
it's Valerie taking advantage of Ellen and sets out to take her down a peg or
Valerie Anthrope is content with her life. It's logical, and ordered, and has no soft edges. She doesn't need her time wasted with friendships, she'd much rather spend it improving her business.
Long time do-gooder Ellen Semple has decided to be Val's self-appointed fairy godmother and make her life better; with a little help from Lex, Ellen's nephew, who just so happens to be the most eligible bachelor around.
Ok, so the prologue was a little unexpected. We get to meet Valerie as a young girl, get a glimpse of her family, and get a little psychological background. But then there's a rather scary lady, and all I could think was - you can't say that to a kid!
Then we get into the main section of the story, meeting Valerie in her mid-twenties, making her monthly visit to the graveyard where her parents and her brother are resting. Which quickly and efficiently sets the scene for Miss Anthrope.
We are treated to a quick review of her employees at work, the hard-working and faithful Tim; and the waste of office space Paul. They have worked for Valerie for a few years now, but she has always maintained a maximum distance from them, refusing to socialise, or allow any familiarities.
Which is a shame. Because as the story goes on, it's really sweet how Tim has long seen Valerie as a daughter, he understands her need for independence, but still cares for her.
Ellen may be getting closer to retirement age, but nothing slows her down. After years of travelling the world, helping the poorest people, she know wants to help people closer to home. She's quirky, confident, and full of a bubbly energy that is as irritating as it is lovable.
She thinks she has found an easy solution, as she assumes that Valerie's struggles are all financial; so she drags in Lex, who happens to run a large department store that's thriving, to make up a contract with Val's company.
But money isn't an issue. It turns out that Valerie is just on emotional lockdown.
This story held no surprises in way of romantic plot, it plays out exactly how you think it'll play out: emotionless bitch + lothario = rocky road leading to happy ending.
It was fun following Val and Lex, the flirtations and the magnetism between them.
I have to say I was a little disappointed how quickly Lex changed from keeping an emotional distance from the women he screwed, to suddenly proclaiming that he was in love with her. But he made up for it by his actions later in the book.
That was all ok.
What makes this better than ok was the supporting characters. Tim was a star throughout, and I was so glad for his own little happy ending. Then there was Paul and his wife, who are portrayed with casual disdain to begin with, but turn out to be really sweet.
I would have liked Gemerald to be in a little more, she seemed a pretty wise character.
And of course Boots, so tiny, yet played such a big part in making those first cracks in Valerie's tough façade.
And then to make it great - when I picked this up, I thought it was going to be a fun, light read. And it was. And then you got caught up in the characters, caught up in Valerie's journey, and before you can back out, you are living the emotions along with her.
This book appealed to me because I will be the first to admit that I am an emotionless bitch; so I was shocked by exactly how much this hit a nerve with me, and I do admit to actual crying!
If that isn't worth 5 stars, I don't know what is.