Ah, to be 21 again. When the world feels like it is spread before you – and 30 seems like some distant planet requiring an epic journey to reach.
For Laura Kemp’s creation, Vicky Hope, it arrives all too quickly – and while she has certainly had her share of adventure, she is really not where she thought she’d be (how many of us are?).
The breakdown of her long-term relationship (on her birthday) also leaves her homeless and means heading back to a single bed in her childhood home.
After a lot of soul searching she begins a quest to find her two former best friends but while there is a lot of water under the bridge, it might not be that easy to confine it all to the past, as she soon discovers.
Whatever Happened To Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man is a charming tale, funny in parts, sad in others but enjoyable throughout.
Here’s the blurb:
Twenty-one and insecure, Vicky Hope comes up with a plan on the eve of travelling the world with her high flying friend, Kat Lloyd: if she isn’t married by the time she’s thirty, she’ll marry her geeky best mate Mikey Murphy.
Fast-forward eight-and-a-bit years, Vicky, now Vee wakes up on her 30th birthday in Brighton, expecting a proposal of marriage from her arty boyfriend Jez. Instead he tells her their relationship is over and she has no choice but to return to her parents’ home.
Devastated and alone in her childhood bedroom, she decides she has nothing to lose and tracks down her two old mates.
With shock, she discovers Mikey, now Murphy, is a successful app designer driven by his tragic upbringing. Kat, or Kate, never made it – but she hides a devastating secret, which threatens the happiness of all three.
I’ll admit, when I first read the synopsis, I thought it would be a straight-forward, breezy read but it’s so much more than that – and all the better for it.
Laura Kemp has nailed what it feels like to be 21 and 30 (or how I vaguely remember them) as well as the complications that often come with friendships – especially when so much has changed in the intervening years.
Add in a fantastic plot and you have a proper page-turner.
Format: Kindle (out now).
My rating: Four and a half stars.
Thank you to Aria (via NetGalley) for the ARC. All views are my own.