Hart presents us with Imogen, a meek 22 year old with low confidence. Overlooked and treated as a dogsbody by her family, she finds hope with her elderly neighbour, Di, who encourages Imogen to live in France to pursue her hidden dream of becoming a chef. It’s not long before Imogen becomes a well dressed, happier and confident woman meeting new friends such as Bunny and Faustina and potential new lovers. One thing that Imogen dreams of is finding love, being swept off her feet. She gets her wish at a Valentine’s Day party; when playing Blind Man’s Bluff she receives the perfect kiss. Problem is, she doesn’t know who kissed her! For the rest of the story, Imogen tries to work out who this mystery man was, as well as juggling her career aspirations, family demands, and the complicated love lives of her new friends.
There are times when the story shows great promise but as it goes on, the hunt for the mystery man becomes more and more frustrating, and when their identity is revealed, it feels like a disappointment. The mystery man hardly factors in the story and the author hasn’t really depicted him well as a character that as a reader, I was indifferent to him being revealed as the mystery of the man. Also, whilst I respect Imogen’s new found freedom, her frequent urge to strip off whenever near the water is bizarre, and the way she connects love with physical desire doesn’t make sense. She only knows this man through their physical connection and nothing much about the man himself, which is quite insensible.
What I did like was the friendships that Imogen forged and the way she gained the respect she never had in the UK, which was inspiring to read. Dmitri and Bastien were also highlights in the first half of the book (which I thought was stronger), and the rivalry they shared was interesting but this wasn’t a largely important point of the book and it was rendered pointless as the book reached it’s later stages. The supporting characters also had fascinating stories too, such as Daphne, Mitch and Faustina.
Whilst there were some good parts, the ending of the book was disappointed and after I finished it, I felt irritated, which is never a good sign. 2 stars.
Originally written 20/03/2012