What’s not to love about a good romantic comedy? You know that the girl’s going to get the guy and there’ll be some laughs along the way. Toni Jordan has positioned herself as the thinking woman’s rom com author of choice. Her first novel, Addition, was a best seller and Fall Girl is a worthy follow up.
The plot centres on Della Gilmore, part of a family of con-artists, as she attempts to pull off the biggest con of her life. Her ‘mark’ is Daniel Metcalf, a millionaire with a penchant for the Tasmanian Tiger. Enter Doctor Ella Canfield, evolutionary biologist. Boy, has she got a proposition for him.
Della is a loveable character who carries the story. Her supporting cast of con artists are also fun as they pretend to be PhD students in biology. I found Daniel Metcalf a little undefined but I was enjoying Della and her gang so much I didn’t really care.
Della’s masquerade as a field hardened researcher is hilarious. Take this dialogue, when faced with a river in need of crossing. ‘This is a minor problem. When I was at Harvard researching I walked all day to a skunk research site, then I had to wade a raging river carrying my tent over my head. Alone. In the dark. If I remember right, it was raining. That was fairly hard.’
The plot unfolds with twists and turns as Della suspects that Daniel, too, is not who he seems to be. Her growing interest in Daniel is nicely drawn. ‘I watch the way his shoulders tense and flex through his shirt… It is somewhat compelling, the sight of him, merely because this part of the trail is boring and there is nothing else to look at but trees trees trees.’ The reader’s expectations are playfully subverted; ‘I catch a glimpse of Daniel’s face and am not surprised to see desire etched there. He’s also looking at the water.’
Jordan’s writing is fresh and original. It is also very, very sexy. In fact her sex scenes are some of the best I’ve read. I was tempted to quote from one, but this being a family blog… In short, if you want a light, humorous read that won’t insult your intelligence, Fall Girl is for you.
‘Fall Girl’ is the fourth of my book reviews for the Australia Women Writers Challenge.
I will be on a panel at the Gloucester Writers Festival on the 6th of May with another Lisa, Lisa Heidke. The topic we’re discussing is… ‘Chick lit is not Dumb lit’. Indeed! Love to see you there if you’re in the vicinity.