If a charming, witty, light-hearted read is what you’re after, look no further than Zoë Foster’s new romantic comedy, The Wrong Girl. Dedicated to “whoever it was who invented peanut butter” (I hear ya, Zoë), this novel confronts some of the complexities of relationships, and the value of friendships, and all while having you giggling out loud along the way.
Our heroine is Lily: almost-thirty producer of the cooking segment at The Daily. After a big mistake – that can only happen with a few too many wines in tow – Lily decides she’s had enough of selfish and inconsiderate men. So, she and her gorgeous swimsuit model housemate and close friend, Simone, agree to a saBOYtical: a much needed, three month break from men.
Lily’s man detox is right on track…that is until Jack Winters, The Daily’s new TV chef, walks into work. Lily can’t stop thinking about this tall, laid-back, ute-driving dish from the country. Only, just as she realises she is completely into him, she discovers that he’s seeing someone – and none other than her gorgeous wild child housemate, Simone. Lily is forced to make some difficult decisions about where her life is headed, in love, at home, and at work.
The Wrong Girl is my first Zoë Foster novel, and it did not disappoint. I must add that this is my first chick lit read set in Australia, a fact that had me a bit wary going in – after all, I’m a big fan of your typically British romantic comedies in the vain of Jenny Colgan and Helen Fielding. But, it was actually utterly refreshing to read a novel of this genre painted with a stroke of wit from a little closer to home.
There is an underlying down-to-earth, real-world tone in Foster’s writing, and in her comedy. Comments like “she also seemed to have accidentally worn a singlet instead of a dress with her knee-high boots” had me fervently nodding and thinking “my point exactly.” Woven throughout The Wrong Girl is some beautiful, well-crafted writing, such as Lily sitting with “a cardigan of wine-based spite hanging loosely across her shoulders” (an item of clothing we all have lurking somewhere in the back of our closets – you know the one). And it is moments like these that allow certain chick lit – and its author – to stand out in a sea of novels of the same genre.
The Wrong Girl enjoyed a wonderful cast of characters, all of them with their own quirky nuances giving them appeal. Lily is your typical, likeable protagonist, making mistakes and trying to do better, with some hilarious and, at times, cringe-worthy results. Her housemate, Simone, is torn between the life she wants to lead, and the fun she has when she’s not leading it. Both characters are well rounded and believable, as is their friendship, giving just the right amount of a tug on the heart-strings. As for Jack, well, just at the moment, I happen to be living not far from where he comes from, and I can say with absolutely certainty that his portrayal is accurate: the country boy moving to the big city, and the particular brand of appeal that has, is spot on. The supporting characters, from Lily’s friend and workmate, Alice, to Lily’s mother, Mimi, are wonderfully fun and utterly enjoyable.
Foster’s characters are interesting, ones you’d want to get to know; her plot is plausible, and takes a few unexpected twists and turns along the way. All in all, this heartfelt story of city girl meets country boy is a must for anyone who enjoys a good girly modern fairytale.
For more information about the author, read Emma’s interview with Zoë.