The Guestbook – Holly Martin
When people get to know that the owner of Willow Cottage, a seaside resort, is called Annie Butterworth, they assume that she will be a grandmotherly figure who loves serving her guests home-made tea and lemon cake. They are pleasantly surprised to know that Annie is quite young, in her 30s – in fact, she is a very beautiful, young widow. Annie loves Willow Cottage, and loves making her guests comfortable. One of her ideas to go about doing this is to have a guestbook at the reception, wherein every guest can write their heart out. Guests can write about their plans for the day, suggestions and complaints, or about their family or themselves. The guestbook is very much a public book, but that doesn’t prevent guests from writing anything and everything in it. That’s how the story of Holly Martin’s The Guestbook takes shape, through entries in the guestbook of Willow Cottage.
I picked up the book because the premise sounded quite different and cute. And, yes, the book did turn out to be cute. It is chick-lit, yes, and no literary masterpiece, but a fun read. I was quite charmed by the descriptions of Willow Cottage, Annie and her guests, her eccentric friends, and the sea. I doubt any real-life guest would write quite so much in the guestbook of a resort that he/she is staying in, but I chose not to dwell too much on that.
If you can ignore that little thing, The Guestbook is quite an entertaining story, well told at that. Grab this book if you are looking for a fun, breezy read, which is not disgustingly dumb.
Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found – Sophie Blackall
You meet a stranger on an elevator, and exchange glances with him/her. You find him/her extremely interesting, but don’t initiate any conversation apart from, maybe, a ‘Hi!’. The elevator door opens at a certain floor, and the person gets out. Soon, you reach your destination, too. You aren’t able to forget the stranger, though, and regret that you didn’t talk to him/her. Maybe the other person had the potential to become a great friend or lover? The story is now, however, over. Or is it? Well, if you really want to pursue and find out if you two are destined to meet, you can advertise on a forum like Craigslist’s Missed Connections. If the other person reads the advertisement too, you have a second chance at meeting and talking to each other! And who knows what stories might come out of that?
I found the concept of these Missed Connections fascinating, as did Sophie Blackall. In a way, it is incredibly romantic, isn’t it? And I am a sucker for such real-life romance stories. Sophie Blackall found these personal advertisements so charming that she decided to convert them into colourful illustrations, and give a new life to them. That’s what the book Missed Connections is all about. I have Ramya’s Bookshelf to thank, for getting to know about this book.
I loved the sound of the book, and began reading it immediately, as soon as I got my hands on it. I finished it in two days, reading it off and on, and LOVED the experience. The ‘missed connections’ that Sophie has chosen are quite interesting, and makes one wonder what happened after the advertisement was placed. The illustrations are wonderfully done.
Check this out, as an example…
Image Source: Here
… or this one…
Image Source: Here
I have no complaints with the book at all. It is a piece of art – a collection of many beautiful pieces of art, actually. A book collector’s item, for sure. Quite a quirky and unique book, I would highly recommend it.
If you wish to know more about the book, I would suggest you visit the author’s blog on the project.
Have you read any or both of these books? What are your thoughts on it/them?