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Main page » Fiction literature » Asking for Trouble: A Novel by Elizabeth Young

Asking for Trouble: A Novel by Elizabeth Young


Young's first novel is a silly and harmless yarn set in modern England concerning guess what the romantic tribulations of a self-deprecating 30-ish woman. Like Nick Hornby's About a Boy, it is predicated on a white lie that spirals out of control. Sophy, a charmingly sarcastic London recruiter on "the cutting edge of human-resource management," is in no rush to get hitched and only mildly disheartened when her long-standing boyfriend dumps her. Her fretting Mum believes that "an unattached daughter who's just hit thirty is a Serious Worry," so to keep her happy, Sophy fabricates a handsome, attentive, successful suitor named Dominic. But when younger and prettier sister Belinda decides to marry, Sophy is forced to produce her new bloke. Ever resourceful, a desperate Sophy hires Josh from a London escort service to play the part of Dominic and accompany her to her sister's wedding. Predictably, within hours of meeting her paid companion, lusty Sophy finds herself attracted to him. Lies are piled on top of lies as the duplicitous Sophy suffers the "strain of spending a whole evening and night with a man I fancied the pants off while pretending I didn't (to him), while at the same time pretending I did (for the family)." Despite Sophy's near inability to tell the truth, she's charming and the author does a fine job of conveying her appeal. Readers who enjoy the wisecracks, parenthetical asides and flaky characters that are the bread and butter of contemporary British romantic comedies will be happy to drag this breezy book off to beaches or onto planes. But the hard-to-follow tangle of falsehoods, giddy banter that all somehow winds up sounding the same, and contrived plot twists will exhaust everyone else long before the novel's end.

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Tags: ASKING, TROUBLE, comedy, traditional, charm