TheArgopelter's Reviews > Her Best Worst Mistake

Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry
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May 16, 12

bookshelves: contemporary-romance, moden-romance, enemies-to-lovers, romping-good-fun, sexual-chemistry
Recommended for: anyone who loves a bit of fun with heart
Read in May, 2012

Romance novels are a bit like chocolate; a mindless guilty pleasure you may indulge in on occasion, but with limited nutritional value they’re certainly not something you could (or should) subsist on. Not unlike chocolate, they can range in quality from the fifty-cent compound special that turns to chalk in your mouth, to the sublime richness of a Godiva truffle. And, as we all know, should have the good fortune to find a Godiva placed in your hands you don’t question it – you savour it, enjoy its nuisances, ignore the nagging voice that says you should be having an apple instead, and submerse yourself in the experience.

A book by Sarah Mayberry is, in the Argopelter’s humble opinion, akin to a delicious calorie-infused delectable. With a scriptwriting background, Mayberry excels at the most elusive of attributes for this genre; beautifully drawn characters and character driven plots. Firmly planting the boot into women’s lit stereotypes, there is a noticeable lack of purple prose, painful dialogue, contrived plot devices and two dimensional characters.

What you will find with HBWM is a story that is refreshingly honest, real and compelling…

Violet Sutcliffe is Elizabeth’s best friend.

Martin St Clair is Elizabeth’s fiancé.

Violet and Martin have exactly two things in common; they love Elizabeth and they hate each other. Sparks never fail to fly between these two, with each delighting in baiting and disapproving of the other. It isn’t until Elizabeth leaves Martin to find her biological father that he and Violet are forced to confront the true nature of their feelings for each other. Her Best Worst Mistake safely falls out of the realm of the dreaded love triangle and picks up on the themes of combustible sexual chemistry, finding love where you lest expect it, and moving past the baggage we all carry to have the life you really want. Mayberry takes us on the journey with two great characters; Violet is delightfully flamboyant and damaged, and Martin is honorable and has just enough buttoned up repression to make things interesting. Together they manage to smooth off each other’s rough edges, refocus their priorities and create a place of safe harbour.

Mayberry is one of the more (if not the most) talented writers in Mills & Boon stable and had chosen to expand her creative horizons by self-publishing this title. Now, I’m not generally a fan of the self-published title. These days anyone with a computer and a lick of savvy can upload their opus onto Amazon and declare themselves ‘published’. Scrivener and Kindle have a lot to answer for- it’s been my experience that even if the story is worth the $1.99 you paid for it, you’ll be constantly, and rudely, jerked from immersion by woeful editing. And, if that’s not bad enough there is possibility your purchase will actually encourage some self-aggrandising hack to release more trash on an unsuspecting public. It’s an interesting and disturbing phenomena that actually gives you an insight into the sufferings of publishing houses’ slush-pile trawlers.

That said, after this book I will be more than happy to support established authors who foray into the world of self-publishing. Her Best Worst Mistake was written and edited to the standard expected from publishing houses, and didn’t suffer from any of the symptoms of self-publishingitis. Writing can be a painful, if not wholly satisfying, experience so I’m more than happy to ensure that all the profits from a book go the person who shed the blood, sweat and tears crafting it. I’ll certainly be interested to see if this is the start of a trend for established authors.

All in all, an enjoyable book. The only bone I had to pick with HBWM was Violet’s protracted hand-wringing over telling Elizabeth (now living in Australia) about the shenanigans that she and Martin had been up to. A small trifle, however…

I’m giving this 4 stones out of 5.

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