Genre: Chick Lit
Size: 402 pages
Availability: Paperback, Ebook
Received free copy from Penguin in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
Sophie May has a secret.
One that she’s successfully kept for years. It’s meant that she’s had to give up her dreams of going to university and travelling the world to stay in her little village, living with her mum and working in the local teashop.
But then she meets the gorgeous Billy – an actor with ambitions to make it to the top. And when they fall in love, Sophie is whisked away from the comfort of her life into Billy’s glamorous – but ruthless – world.
Their relationship throws Sophie right into the spotlight after years of shying away from attention. Can she handle the constant scrutiny that comes with being with Billy? And most of all, is she ready for her secret heartbreak to be discovered and shared with the nation?
I picked up Billy and Me after I had finished a fantastic book and was looking for something that could follow it. I made my usual piles of potentially good reads and started reading first paragraphs when I realised I’d inadvertently read the entire introduction of Billy and Me which pretty much secured it as my next read. Here we have a heroine who grew up with Tiny Tears dolls, Mr Blobby and the Spice Girls but became shy and withdrawn around the age of 11 and found a love of books. This is the kind of heroine I can relate to and I knew right away that I had to read this as I have quite a bit of trouble finding relateable heroines in chick lit.
“Giovanna has burst on to the scene with all the emotional impact of Jojo Moyes and the lightness of touch of Jenny Colgan.” Says Billy and Me‘s press release. How right they are.
Billy and Me is an absorbing tale of romance, friendship, and finding your place in the world. The story follows Sophie May, a young lady who happily works away in Tea on the Hill, a teashop in the small village of Rosefont Hill where she lives. She looks after the quirky old women who frequent the teashop and her best friend is Molly, the lady who owns the teashop and has a heart of gold. One day a movie crew filming a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, one of Sophie’s favourite books, sweeps into town and she becomes enamoured with Billy Buskin, the main star, teen heartthrob, and gorgeously sweet guy, after he calms her down from a panic attack.
I found this novel utterly gripping. More than once, my other half would come to bed around 2am and find me still snugged up with my reading light on. I hated having to put it down but in hindsight it stretched the book out a little more which is of course a good thing!
Sophie and Billy are amazing together. Billy worships the ground Sophie walks on and Sophie isn’t entirely sure why because she’s “just normal” (this is just one of the reasons I wanted to slap some confidence into her but her lack of confidence was a realistic part of her character) and I found myself awwing at Billy almost constantly. He’s so lovely! We get to follow as Sophie becomes a part of his life and really doesn’t fit in with all the glitz and glamour but is entirely unwilling to be anything but herself. I loved and respected her for that. She always retained herself.
Throughout Billy and Me, Giovanna hints at a great tragedy in Sophie’s life through flashbacks, the panic attacks she suffers and how unsteady her mum seems to be. A part of me wished this tragic past wasn’t drawn out for as long as it was but the steady reveals taught us a lot about Sophie and it was clear that this event really affected her. And the way in which it was finally revealed was pretty heartbreaking.
In fact, I think my only complaint was the sometimes odd use of exclamation marks where they really weren’t needed.
Billy and Me is a delightful chick lit which (while it might be a tad predictable that really isn’t the point) throws the usual formulaic chick lit story out the window and gives us a heartbreaking tale of love in which the heroine learns what is important in life. I recommend Billy and Me to everybody who likes a good chick lit with a decent love story, it’s such a refreshing read. Just make sure you have the tissues nearby for the bit with the “emotional impact of Jojo Moyes”.
Billy and Me series:
1. Billy and Me
2. Christmas With Billy and Me