Monday, January 6, 2014

Book review: Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

Finding Colin Firth by Mia March
Chick lit
Paperback/eBook, 336 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books

From the author of The Meryl Streep Movie Club, a “heart-warming, spirit-lifting read just in time for beach season” (Kirkus Reviews), comes a new novel about three women, connected in secret and surprising ways, who are in for a life-changing summer when rumor has it that actor Colin Firth is coming to their Maine town to film a movie. 

After losing her job and leaving her beloved husband, journalist Gemma Hendricks is sure that scoring an interview with Colin Firth will save her career and marriage. Yet a heart-tugging local story about women, family ties, love, and loss captures her heart— and changes everything. The story concerns Bea Crane, a floundering twenty-two-year-old who learns in a deathbed confession letter that she was adopted at birth. Bea is in Boothbay Harbor to surreptitiously observe her biological mother, Veronica Russo—something of a legend in town—who Bea might not be ready to meet after all. Veronica, a thirty-eight-year-old diner waitress famous for her “healing” pies, has come home to Maine to face her past. But when she’s hired as an extra on the bustling movie set, she wonders if she is hiding from the truth . . . and perhaps the opportunity of a real-life Mr. Darcy. 

These three women will discover more than they ever imagined in this coastal Maine town, buzzing with hopes of Colin Firth. Even the conjecture of his arrival inspires daydreams, amplifies complicated lives, and gives incentive to find their own romantic endings.

Three women. Three stories of life, love and friendship in a quaint Maine town, along with the wish to meet the iconic actor who made Mark Darcy a worldwide sex symbol. I read Finding Colin Firth while on vacation at Lake Kezar with my family which greatly enhanced my reading experience by being in Maine and seeing for myself the wonderful charm of small-town life and of community (which is a huge component of the book). 

Gemma is a journalist recently out of work and desperately needing a change of scenery from her fast-paced city life. Pregnant, she's doubts her maternal instincts and isn't sure she
wants to move to her husband's suburban town  to start their family. The thought of having a baby and becoming a stay-at-home mother frightens this career woman. When she hears Colin Firth is in town, she believes interviewing him could help her land a job and find the resolution she desperately needs. 

Bea is twenty, single, and discovers from her dying mother's last letter that she was adopted. The letter reveals her biological mother's info. The need to see her real mom takes center stage in her life so she packs up her meager belongings to visit Boothbay Harbor. While there she finds her mom and watches her, not ready to reveal her true identity.

Veronica has gone back home to the town she left as a pregnant teen. She is now a waitress at the local diner, and aspires to sell her homemade pies. She becomes an extra in Mr. Firth's movie and hopes to catch a glimpse of the man himself. She does catch the eye of the town cop and isn't sure if she should pursue him. 

Each woman's life intersects somehow with one another over time creating a cool web of friendship, love, and happenstance. The concept of meeting an ideal romantic leading man was unique and showed the power of the movie versions of Jane Austen's books and how women of all ages identify with the trope of the idealized woman meeting the imperfect man and both changing over the course of their courtship. In Mia March's novel, things occur for specific reasons and each is able to work out whatever they need to in this warm, absorbing tale. The characters and situations were interesting and kept me invested. Being chick lit, I found the conflicts were predictably resolved and some scenes were overly sweet for my taste. 

Finding Colin Firth is a charming, entertaining summer read. This is my first time reading a book by Mia March and now I want to read her other book, The Jane Austen Club, featuring this town (the movie was a pleasant surprise).

Rating: 3.5

Cover comment:
Since the title refers to the actor's role as Mark Darcy, period costume would have worked better for the cover. The ruffled white shirt (from his famous jumping in the water scene) would have been great. I actually prefer the U.K. cover with the caricature of Jane Austen's romantic hero to this U.S. version.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy from the Publisher in return for my honest review.

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