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Posts Tagged ‘love triangle’

About 30 (!) years ago, my mum and I went to the cinema to see Dying Young, a film starring Julia Roberts, still a major star riding high on the success of Pretty Woman: and Campbell Scott, a beautiful young man on whom I developed an instant huge crush which endures to this day. Roberts played Hilary, a streetwise, tough-but-vulnerable city girl from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’, who takes a job as a nurse for Victor, a well-educated young man from a wealthy family, who has terminal leukaemia. Ordinarily their paths would never cross, but they inevitably fall in love and discover that they have plenty to teach each other. Yes, it’s Pretty Woman with the prostitution removed and a timebomb of an illness added. I rewatched the film a few years ago, and despite its obvious flaws, I still enjoyed it.

Anyway…this book by Marti Leimbach is the story which the film was based on, and this was my first time reading it. For anyone else who has seen the film, be aware that I am playing fast and loose with the words “based on.” The story was transplanted from rural Massachusetts in the book to San Francisco, and in the book Hilary is a persistent shoplifter, while Victor is cruel and unkind most of the time – in the film there is no sign of either of these traits.

In the book, which is told entirely from Hilary’s point of view, Hilary and Victor have already moved away to Hull, a small town where everyone knows each other, to get away from Victor’s father, who wants Victor to continue his treatment for leukaemia. Victor meanwhile has decided to give up all treatment and just enjoy what time he has left. He and Hilary fight a lot, and she has an affair with a local man named Gordon. As if this isn’t complicated enough, Gordon and Victor become friends. Hilary is torn between her love for these two very different men as well as being wracked with guilt, and all three of them have some big decisions to make about their respective futures.

Honestly I am not sure what to think about this book. It’s certainly an interesting situation, and it was an easy undemanding read, despite the subject matter. However, the main problem is that I didn’t feel that any of the characters were particularly well fleshed out so it was hard to get a read on them. I did feel more for Victor; he could be unkind, but it seemed fairly clear that it was an angry reaction to the hand that life had dealt him, although he lashed out (verbally) at Hilary – she being his only available target – which was unfair.

The story was fairly slow moving, which was fine, and almost felt like a series of vignettes strung together, rather than a continuous narrative. I don’t mind this style of writing, but it might not appeal to some readers.

I won’t give away the ending, suffice to say that I found it downbeat and somewhat unlikely. Overall I have mixed feelings and I’m unsure whether or not I would read anything else by this author. However, I applaud her for not taking the easy route with this situation and for writing characters, who ordinarily readers would want to side with, but who in this case are not always easy to like.

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This is the third instalment in the cosy ‘Murder She Baked’ mystery series. Melanie Quinn opens a bakery opposite Hannah’s own bakery and the two women become rivals not only in business, but also possibly for policeman Mike’s affections. As viewers of the previous two films will know, Hannah has an unfortunate habit of finding dead bodies and when she discovers Melanie lying murdered, Hannah herself is in the frame for the killing!

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Year of release: 2016

Director: Kristoffer Tabori

Writers: Joanne Fluke (novel), Teena Booth

Main cast: Alison Sweeney, Cameron Mathison, Barbara Niven, Gabriel Hogan, Michelle Harrison, Roark Critchlow, Anne Marie DeLuise

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Genre: Mystery, cosy murder mystery

Highlights: I finally worked out who was Mike and who was Norman!! (Hannah’s two potential love interests look too alike to me), these films are just generally comforting and undemanding viewing, if entirely unbelievable. Alison Sweeney is eminently likeable.

Lowlights: Entirely unbelievable!!

Overall: If this is a genre you like, then I recommend these films. If you like your films gritty and hard hitting, maybe give these a miss. I will say that I thought this was the best one in the series so far.

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