Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted @ Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time!
I haven't done one of these for a great while, but the author of this series just published number four (happily unexpectedly! :) which I am currently reading and which also made me want to reread the original trilogy (which I proceeded to do). I had so much fun, I decided it was high time I recommended it to y'all. Fun, right? I sure think so! So let's get to it, shall we?
The highlight of this series is Lauren herself. This girl lives on coffee and Jane Austen. I think we'd be best friends were she real! (Well. You know. Except for the coffee part. Make that tea and then we'll talk! ;) But seriously, she's watched Pride and Prejudice so many times that she has it memorized and prefers to quote it with a British accent. She lives on coffee. (To the point that she finds it awfully hard to function without it.) And chocolate! She talks a mile a minute and makes friends everywhere she goes. She doesn't know a stranger and her skill with sarcasm? Brilliant. (Is any of this reminding you of someone? Ding ding ding! Yes! She's remarkably like Lorelai from Gilmore Girls.) In short? She's awesome. And even better? She has an incredible group of people she's surrounded with.
From her co-workers to the people at the coffee shop she frequents to her sister and brother-in-law, the girl has a knack for knowing fabulous people. And also people who can be talked into helping her with her matchmaking. Because Lauren can read people. Quite well, in fact, and her track record with knowing two people who are meant for each other is pretty much unmatched. (Ha! See what I did there?) (Yes. I know I'm ridiculous.) Whether she's "unexpectedly" throwing them together, setting up blind dates with other people so they can see who they're truly meant to be with, or following along with their dates in disguise. And if they reach the moment of "Will you marry me?", you can bet that she'll be there somewhere making sure the moment is as romantic and perfect as possible! (Plus she just likes to see proof of her genius.) The only struggle she has is potentially finding her Mr. Right when she's been planning to stay single her entire life. What a bummer, right?
Mixing her days with her photography job, drinking multiple cups of coffee, setting up her co-workers, saving her sister from Eenie, Meanie, Mienie, and Moe (who are geese, by the way), watching Pride and Prejudice for the millionth time, agreeing to help lead a bible study with 13 year olds (scary stuff!), pretend to date her co-worker's brother-in-law (who's making her heart beat a little faster), and eat more chocolate than is good for her, Lauren is a busy gal.
The point I'm trying to make is that these books are hilarious. And fun! I laugh my way through each book no matter how many times I've read them. Ms. Mangum knows her characters well. But even better is that they're far from perfect. Lauren makes plenty of mistakes, but she realizes it and does what she can to make it better. I can relate so much easier to a character who feels real. And Lauren and her friends feel like people I'd love to hang out with. Where we'd spend the majority of our time laughing and at the end of the evening we'd all be making plans to meet up again the very next day. Aren't these the sort of characters you'd like to meet? :)
My mouth is full of Oreo, ice cream, fudge, and Cool Whip, so I just nod. This is heaven. I'm moving into one of their guest rooms.
"So, Laur, do you want to come with us tomorrow? You can help me plan out furniture while Nick and Ryan dig for grubs," she says, licking her fork.
"Can we keep the rest of this dessert?"
She grins. "Sure."
"Then I'll come."
She watches me put another bite in my mouth and close my eyes. "You're pitiful."
"No, just a chocoholic."
She shakes her head. "Same thing."