It Felt Like A Kiss – Sarra Manning

Date read: 26th January 2014
Publisher: Random House UK
Release Date: 30th January 2014
Length: 570 pages
Format: E-book
Source: I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

It Felt Like A Kiss

Goodreads description

Meet Ellie Cohen, one of the most perfect girls in London.

Ellie manages a swank Mayfair gallery, but it’s her life that’s a real work of art. Great job, really good hair, loyal friends, loving family. It’s only her succession of lame duck boyfriends that ruin the picture.

Oh, and the world-famous rock-star father she’s never met, who won’t even acknowledge her existence.

Then Ellie’s perfect life is smashed to pieces when her secret is sold to the highest bidder and her name, face (and pictures of her bottom) are splashed across the tabloids. Suddenly everyone thinks she’s a gold-digging, sex-crazy, famewhore.

Enter David Gold. Charming and handsome David Gold. On paper he’s even more perfect than Ellie, if only he wasn’t her father’s ruthlessly ambitious lawyer whose job is to manage the crisis – and her. He certainly doesn’t think that Ellie’s the innocent party and she doesn’t trust him at all. So why is it that every time they’re alone together, damage limitation is the last thing on their minds?

My review

Oh, Sarra Manning, how I love you and your writing. Ever since reading the Diary of a Crush columns in the back of my J17 magazines in secondary school, I’ve sought out her writing, whether it’s young adult or contemporary romance. Something about it, in much the same way as Jennifer Crusie’s writing, speaks to me, and keeps me reading when I should be doing other things. Like cooking. Or cleaning. You know, the optional things in life.

I need to read this book again – work last week was rather stressful, hence it took me about a week to read It Felt Like A Kiss, which I don’t think did it any favours as I never gave myself a chance to get swept away and to love Ellie and David. I really didn’t get to grips with why David was able to completely shut the part of himself off that had feelings for Ellie when dealing with the crisis, and also why his relationship with his parents was ignored after Ellie meeting them in less than ideal circumstances. However, his first meeting with Ellie? I loved it. I loved the whole section set in Glastonbury – I definitely want to stay in a luxury yurt – I don’t do camping (nowhere to plug the hair straighteners).

Although I didn’t like all the characters – see below for more – I thought they were all well-drawn and distinct from one another. I have a pet peeve about side characters, namely that a lot of authors seem to focus only on their main characters and then the friends, family etc get shunted aside and given only one characteristic to define them – e.g. ‘Emma worries about her weight’, ‘Jeff likes computer games’ etc. I like the world to which I’ve given myself to have characters that are more than a cardboard cut out of what someone thinks the zany ‘friend’ character should be, and It Felt Like A Kiss definitely has that. Although there are characters who, in theory, should be vastly annoying (in particular, Ellie’s co-workers at the gallery) – somehow they’re real, even though we don’t spend too much time with them in the novel. And the fact that I can’t identify how Manning does this is a good thing, as it means it’s done subtly yet well!

I didn’t find the main character Ellie the most likeable of characters – but I need to take a step back here and say that I think this is coming from my personal circumstances more than the way the character is written. I have the unfortunate pleasure of being in a very similar situation (without, thankfully, being outed in the tabloids and having pictures of my bum splashed across websites. Nobody wants to see that. And my dad’s not a rock star).

But I have been the secret daughter. And my reactions to the situation I found myself in diverge from Ellie’s quite dramatically. I love Ellie and Ari’s attitude of ‘us against the world’ (I love Ari full stop. She’s an awesome mum, and the team of her, Chester, Tom and Tabitha bringing up a child sounds pretty close to perfect) but I don’t agree with some of the choices Ellie makes, or her attitude at times, because they’re not the choices I would have made. I won’t go into too much detail, as I’m thinking about things that happen towards the end of the book and I don’t want to give anything away. But I want to stress that how I feel has absolutely nothing to do with Sarra’s writing – it’s because I’m too close to the situation and need to read the book again to take a step back and look at it with a more objective perspective, not to think “Well, I wouldn’t have done that” at various stages.

I have to say, I loved the fact that a couple of characters from Manning’s previous books make appearances – I won’t say who, for fear of spoilers! But I really appreciated the mentions 🙂

It Felt Like A Kiss ended a bit abruptly for my liking, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Grace and David make another appearance in a future Sarra Manning novel.

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