I read Monday to Friday Man, by Alice Peterson, while on my family holiday. It was a rare and unprecedented moment when both my kids were occupied by my husband and I had an indeterminate amount of time to myself. It was an opportunity not to be missed, so out came my ereader to search my favourite fiction section.
For just £1.99 I wasn’t really expecting it to be more than an afternoon filler while I soaked up some sun; what I got was a wonderful little romantic comedy that had me hooked from the beginning and left me unable to put the damn thing down…much to the despair of my long suffering husband.
As the story begins we find our heroine, the extremely relatable Gilly Brown, as she bumps into her ex-fiancé and his new bride-to-be. At 34 years old, having been jilted two weeks before her wedding, Gilly has found herself living alone in London with no career, no fiancé and no real direction. She fills her time working in her friends antique shop and walking her faithful dog, Ruskin while she contemplates leaving the city altogether.
It is only when someone suggests that she get a lodger that she starts looking into finding herself a ‘Monday to Friday man’ to rent her spare room during the week and leave her in peace at the weekends. Cue the devastatingly handsome, charming and exciting, Jack Baker as he (almost literally) knocks Gilly off her feet. It is only the newest member of Gilly’s dog-walking group, Guy, that hasn’t fallen for Jack’s charms, and as he and Gilly become close friends you can kind of see where the story is heading, but it doesn’t matter by this point.
Alice Peterson has done such a wonderful job of creating characters that you want to be friends with that, even though this book has been described by some as “shallow and predictable”, you really don’t care. You want to read on, you want to know what happens to Gilly and Jack, to Gilly and Guy, even to the secondary characters, Gilly’s brother and sister-in-law and her dog-walking friends. And that, as far as I’m concerned is the only thing that a book of this genre needs to do; to captivate you with characters that you can fall in love with and relate to.
The underlying story-line of Gilly’s disabled younger sister, Megan, and the breakdown of her mother is played out well between scenes in the main story, cutting through the “shallow”-ness and complimenting the whole book with some genuinely deep and wonderfully moving moments that only serve to enrapture you even more as a reader.
This really is a lovely piece of literary escapism. It may not be intellectual or gritty, it may not ask more questions than is answers or promote any food for thought, but it is what it is; a light-hearted, feel-good, curl-up-on-the-sofa read that you wont regret reading…and let’s face it, who doesn’t need that from time to time.