Sunday 18 August 2013

Looking For La La by Ellie Campbell

In a recent survey 65% of mothers admitted feeling undervalued, over-criticized and constantly tired.
Cathy is no exception.  Her dull, uneventful days as a stay at home, mother of two, are radically transformed however with the arrival of a heavily-lipsticked postcard addressed to husband Declan.  Who is the mysterious La La?  Could Declan really be having an affair?  And is Cathy actually being stalked?  Whatever - it will definitely prove riveting gossip for the Tuesday Twice Monthlies, Cathy's 'Mothers Restaurant Research' group where scandal flows as recklessly as the wine.  But what starts as a light-hearted investigation with best friend Raz, soon turns into something much more sinister.

I don't think that I'm quite the target market for Looking For La La, the latest novel from two sisters who write together under the name Ellie Campbell.  I'm in my late forties and have never had kids, so the school-gate politics of the Mummy group is quite alien to me.  I live in a small market town in rural Lincolnshire, so again, don't really identify with the professional city-dwellers that populate this story.   However, despite really really taking an instant dislike to Cathy, the main character in this story, I found myself hooked by the storyline.  Before I knew it, I was half-way through the book and eager to find out who the bloody hell is La La?

Cathy is a bored stay-at-home mum, her husband Declan works hard, and works very long hours.  He's started to drop hints about Cathy going back to work, now that the kids are at school.  He gets frustrated by the untidy house, the lack of any food in the cupboards and the time Cathy spends with her friends.  And quite rightly so!  Cathy thinks that Declan is just an old moaner, he's not, he's spot on.  Most days Cathy manages to get the kids to school within seconds of the bell ringing and then spends the rest of her time mooching about, talking to her friends, half-heartedly starting new projects and not much else.  So that's why I didn't like her.  I'm not sure if the reader is supposed to sympathise with Cathy or not, but I certainly didn't.

Then the postcards start to arrive.  Addressed to Declan and appearing to be from a mystery lover - who calls herself La La.   Cathy and her best friend Raz (who is living in their loft whilst her flat is refurbished), are determined to find out who La La is.  Declan denies all knowledge, he's far too busy with work, keeping the customers sweet and impressing the bosses.

Despite the fact that Cathy annoyed the hell out of me, I did enjoy this story.  The pace is fast, the characters are wonderfully drawn, and although the story is somewhat far-fetched in places, it really is well written.

Looking For La La is the perfect summer read.  Read it in the sunshine with a glass of something cool by your side, suspend reality and just get stuck in.  The twists and turns kept me entertained and I really didn't suss out who La La was until the final reveal was made.

Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym for sister writing team, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell, who collaborate from their respective homes in Surrey, England and Colorado, USA.    Their novels 'How To Survive Your Sisters' and 'When Good Friends Go Bad', are previously published by Arrow books and available as ebooks.    Find out more at their website, or on Facebook and Twitter

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