Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Holly's Inbox #1

Holly's Inbox

Rate this book
Ever wanted a peek at someone else's emails?

Meet Holly Denham. It's her first day as a receptionist at a City investment bank and, with no cooperate front-of-house experience, Holly is struggling to keep up. Add to this her mad friends, dysfunctional family and gossipy colleagues, and Holly's inbox is a daily source of drama, laughter, scandal and even romance. But Holly's keeping a secret from everyone - and the past is about to catch up with her...

736 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 2006

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Holly Denham

4 books85 followers
Holly Denham is a fictional author created by Bill Hutton-Surie.

From chicklitclub.com

1. How did the idea for Holly come about?

The character Holly isn't based on anyone in particular, however I think a lot of her quirkiness has come from my wife - she's very quirky. The idea for the site came one day when we had to trawl through an ex-employee's work email account. The woman in question was single, extremely flirtatious and had always loved us to bits. We discovered she was married with four children, and couldn't stand the sight of us. The life she was leading was so full of mystery, intrigue, romance (and many many lies) that it made me wonder what it would be like to read a story told in this way.

2. What has been the response to people finding out that Holly's creator is actually a man?

Nothing yet, it's a fairly new revelation - the book is about to be launched on June 1 in the USA - and at the last minute they decided they didn't mind everyone knowing I'd written it. So if any of your readers have read it and now want to comment - they'll be the first to let me know.... aaaaggh.

3. What would you say to people who claim that men can't write chick lit?

Maybe they can't, or maybe Marian Keyes is a balding rugby player from Bath. I hope they can't - it makes me happier that I've achieved something then - I loved writing it - I think my sense of humour is much more in line with women's and I totally stink at writing like a man (I've been trying to get something published my whole life as a man and failed miserably).

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
2,035 (30%)
4 stars
2,011 (29%)
3 stars
1,716 (25%)
2 stars
634 (9%)
1 star
349 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 429 reviews
Profile Image for Aditi.
920 reviews1,334 followers
August 30, 2014
Frankly speaking, these days I'm totally into funny, hilarious, light-read kind of books, first, they are cheap and easily available and of course, you can finish reading this type of book just in a day! Another hilarious and funny one that I finished reading is Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham. So if you're feeling gloomy these days, this book is surely going to lift your mood up and will certainly make you feel happier and lighter.

But one disadvantage, this book is way too long, more than 700 pages, and on the positive note, it's written in an e-mail form, so it's quite easier and faster to read than any other 700 pages books. I finished reading this one, just in few hours!!

This book is about Holly Denham, a receptionist, who managed to get her job in an investment firm in London, by embellishing her C.V. Her whole life is shown in her inbox, how she makes new friends in the firm, how she keeps in touch with her old ones and her old life, and how she keep up with her completely mad family, seriously each and every one is a total nut.

Well I never got to know how Holly looks like, but I do got to know her personality through these e-mails and trust me you'll love her. And as reviewed by the "Entertainment Weekly" that this is next Bridget Jones. Read this one and find it for yourself, because once you started the book, it's really hard to put it down.
209 reviews43 followers
August 20, 2019
This is a lighthearted, fun and funny read. Perfect “beach read” type book! The entire book is written through emails, mostly short. There is no introduction, or “scene setting”, which goes to show you that that may not be as crucial as most writers feel, lol. You are pretty much thrown in to the story, and it takes a few pages before you figure out who the characters are and what their situations are.

Surprisingly for a book where all the action and the story are revealed through emails, the characters are pretty developed. (And there are very few emails using the “crutch” where one character simply tells another what has been happening.)

Enjoyable and hard to put down—looking forward to reading the sequel. Recommend for anyone who likes Chick Lit or romance, or Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’ Diary), Sophie Kinsella (Shopaholic series), Meg Cabot, Jane Green, or Jennifer Weiner.
Profile Image for Donna Craig.
910 reviews39 followers
October 7, 2021
Holly’s Inbox is a cute, predictable example of light chick lit. It would have been a fun book if it were only 250-300 pages.
I had two problems with the book:
1. 665 pages
2. The story is told completely through emails. This format kept me from getting to know the characters more than superficially.
On the other hand, the format did make the pages read faster. That helped!
Profile Image for Wallace.
144 reviews114 followers
July 24, 2010
Type: {Beach Read: fluffy, mindless, easy to read}
Rating: {An Unputdownable: Couldn’t eat or sleep until I finished this book}

Why You’re Reading It:

You love British Chick-Lit
You need a vacation from heavier books
You need a good book to read by the pool
Funny, light, entertaining stories with a good splash of romance charm you
What I Thought:

I read and loved Holly’s Inbox by Holly Denham. I ate it up. Swallowed it whole. It is 665 pages and I downed it. It’s that good. And it’s written in e-mail form, so it goes faster than other books. (Be sure to click the link about Holly Denham, but maybe after you read? You don’t want to spoil the surprise about the author until you’ve started reading and can understand the irony. Let me know what you think…I was impressed.)

This book is from the UK–published three years ago, and was only recently published in the United States. It popped out of the table at me in my Barnes and Noble. I went to pick it up, thinking it was a thin, chick-lit novel…it is a brick. I almost dropped it because I wasn’t prepared, and I was laughing (out loud, by myself). I knew I had to have it; a thicker than thick, total chick-lit, British novel—SOLD! Did I mention it had a recommendation by OK! Magazine on the front cover (that’s the British version of US Weekly only better)? It was exactly the kind of light read I was looking for to get me through the end of the “year” (the beginning and end of the school year—ok, and all the times right before a vacation, too—are mad…completely exhausting and stressful) last year as I was ending my last teaching job.

Can I tell you how fun this book was to read. First, it’s always fun to read e-mails and letters (who doesn’t like getting letters? And who doesn’t remember The Jolly Postman and how fun that book was?) So 665 pages of e-mails, that you don’t have to worry about answering, is spellbinding. Not to mention that Holly is very Bridget Jones-esque, yet not quite so incompetent. (Note here: I love Bridget Jones, and most other of the British chick-lit books…isn’t there just something delicious about the way British authors write?) It’s got the ridiculous aspects, but is also relatable…which is why this genre is so successful.

For the first few hundred pages I was reading it because it was fun and entertaining. For the last couple hundred I was reading because I couldn’t put it down and wanted to know what happened next! It was kind of like eating guacamole; although there isn’t that much nutritious value, you just can’t stop eating!

Tastes. So. Good.

Even though I could feel the stack of papers in my right hand getting smaller as I approached the end, I was still shocked when I got to the last page. No! It can’t be over! Luckily there is a sequel that is now available in the US (ahem, some of us had to order it from the UK last year because we couldn’t wait… I won’t tell you who though).
Profile Image for Cathy.
186 reviews27 followers
May 23, 2011
Fantastic book! I've added a new shelf to my library to fit books like this and calling it "IT" Chick Lit to encompass all the chick lit novels written in email format. With a tagline like 'ever wanted to peak inside someone else's email?', readers know you're in for gossip and a good time and Holly's Inbox does not disappoint! At 672 pages, Holly Denham's debut novel may seem a bit overwhelming but with the email format and quick pace, this novel is literally a breeze, fit to be finished in just one weekend. The drama, the chaos and the complicated characters are too funny; you'll be guessing til the end what everyone's big secrets are, and being privy to their confidential email proves to be just the way to unveil everything about each of them that you might not otherwise have known. From office affairs, to long, mysterious lunches, to evil and bitchy coworkers and kooky family members, there's an email for everyone. The only thing that seemed a little "too" fictionalized for me was the lack of MIS Dept involvement in the emails back and forth. I think in any company post-Y2K, computer departments everywhere monitor incoming and outgoing emails of their staff with consequences for inappropriate communications; but I know there would be no story (at least not a juicy one) without the full and raunchy emails! Can't wait to sneak a peak at the sequel.
Profile Image for Odette Brethouwer.
1,396 reviews234 followers
September 9, 2016
This book was SO MUCH FUN to read! Love it, and so glad there is a second book! This is book is for lovers over Bridget Jones, it has a bit of that feel.

This whole book is only her e-mails. This would not be interesting nowadays, but this book is 9 years old. it is from the time we used e-mails to chat, in stead of WhatsApp or Facebook or whatever. Nowadays, this book would be her WhatsApp. So, you get all her chatting with her colleague, friends and family. And she chats a lot.

You do know everything that happens in her life, because if something happened over the weekend, she tells her friends or colleague about it, so you are not missing a single thing. Sometimes this is a bit forces, but only a couple of times, and that does not bother you in those 700+ pages of email! It also reads really fast because the pages are not filled like a normal book.
Profile Image for Zoe Hall.
289 reviews4 followers
July 29, 2016
Goodreads' 2 star review means 'it was okay', and that's what I thought of this book. It was just 'okay'. Too many pages, too many unnecessary emails and too much going on. In my opinion this book could have been over in half the pages. The book started off great but gradually began to falter as I quickly realised I found the characters confusing and the constant changing between email contacts made me feel really disengaged with the story, having to keep checking who was who.

I really wanted to love this book, but I really couldn't; I actually skipped more than I read. It just didn't hold my interest. I suppose for a light read this would be okay, but this book wasn't for me unfortunately.
Profile Image for Amy.
156 reviews
February 20, 2016
Wow, this book was terrible. Nearly 700 pages with a plot line that could be told in 30.
Profile Image for Shonda.
501 reviews48 followers
June 21, 2009
When I discovered this book at Barnes & Noble, I immediately added it to my TBR List. I was quite surprised to learn my library owned a copy and was first on the wait list. I couldn't wait to begin reading Holly's e-mails.

I was looking forward to reading this as I read so many glowing reviews. I have to admit, around page 200 or so, I lost interest in Holly and her friends. I really wanted to know Holly's back-story with Toby. It took awhile for Holly to disclose to Trisha, her co-worker.

I do have to say, the secondary characters were quite interesting and added to the story. Around page 415 (the reader was able to peek inside Trisha's inbox), I found myself glued to the story and couldn't put it down.

Yes, it's a long book (665 pages of e-mails), but worth reading on a lazy afternoon. Even though I thought it was sluggish in the middle, I do hope there's a sequel in the works. I would like an update on Holly and her friends.

3.5 Stars
Profile Image for Smell.
13 reviews6 followers
October 20, 2007
I came across this book in the library and being a sucker for swirly text, the jacket appealed to me.

Meet Holly Denham, a receptionist who has managed to blag her job by embellishing her C.V. This book documents her relationships and conversations with her friends, family and colleagues, via her email in-box.

While the format of this book may not be original, the characters never bore you, and I found myself cringing along with Holly. I will certainley be checking the inbox on the web in the coming months to second book.

You can view the first few months of Holly's in-box at www.hollysinbox.com

Profile Image for Lisa (A Life Bound By Books).
1,107 reviews749 followers
March 8, 2010
I can say that this book was better then I thought it was going to be. Actually WAY better then I thought it was going to be. And talk about funny. I was laughing so hard reading this that my eyes teared up to a point where I couldn't see to keep reading. The more I laughed the more the people around me laughed. I hope there's more to come as it appears from how the book ended.

If your looking for something that will crack you up and is a fast paced read, you really need to get this book.

For more info and reviews please visit my Book Review Blog here - A Life Bound By Books
Profile Image for Christina.
209 reviews76 followers
September 1, 2008
This has got to be the funniest book I've read in a loooooooooong time. Honestly, I could not stop laughing. There was not a boring page. It is utterly absurd and emotional and completely messes with your head. By the end, everyone is not who you thought they were in the beginning.

Really, it was great. I loved it.
Profile Image for Bridget.
505 reviews6 followers
July 12, 2009
Don't be turned off by this book's size - it's an incredibly quick read. I read the majority of it sitting by a pool in about 3 hours. Cute, entertaining (I must admit I giggled out loud...and more so as the book went on), but I must say the lack of character description made it so I wasn't left wanting more at the end.
Profile Image for FlibBityFLooB.
897 reviews133 followers
April 6, 2010
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I want to read the sequel, but it's not available in the states and bookdepository is out-of-stock. Bah.

It's like a soap opera of e-mails that you can't look away from. :)
Profile Image for Tatjana.
30 reviews
December 11, 2017
Dit was, back in 2007, een heerlijk boek. Dat ik hem nog steeds in gedachten heb en sinds vandaag pas weet dat er een #2 is zegt al genoeg!
175 reviews2 followers
March 9, 2018
Ik ben geen boekenopgever, maar bij dit boek had ik het moeilijk. Het kwam erg traag op gang, bij momenten dacht ik dat mijn eigen inbox spannender zou zijn ;). Toen het verhaal me in zijn greep had, was het ook zo goed als voorbij. Voor mij dus niet echt een topper.
Profile Image for Leah.
1,583 reviews291 followers
March 15, 2011
To: Chick Lit Reviews
From: Leah
Subject: Holly’s Inbox

Dear Readers,

Have you met Holly? She works as a receptionist for a big firm in London, despite the fact she has little experience. Her entire life is conducted through her inbox, offering an insight not many books are able to pull off. As she navigates her new waters, making new friends, getting back in touch with old ones, we get to see what it’s really like to work for a big firm. Throw in a couple of secrets Holly’s keeping and life is about to get a lot more interesting as they threaten to be let out.

I think that if you haven’t already met Holly, my fellow Chick Lit fans, then I think you really should. Only, it has to be said, if you’re a fan of books told entirely via email. The book came to life after the success of the website http://www.hollysinbox.com which is set up like a real email inbox, honestly, it’s brilliant and you can actually read the entire book on the site. At least I think you can, so please don’t hold it against me if you can’t. The book is fiction, and it was revealed a while back that the author is actually Bill Hutton-Surie, but never fear the book is based on Bill’s own experience.

Now, dear readers, I know what you’re thinking: How are you supposed to get to know a character through emails? For me, that’s easy because you can learn a lot about a character not only through their own emails but through that of their friends. So although I didn’t know what Holly looked like, I was able to know her through the emails she sent and through her friends and family. Along with Holly we also meet her two best friends Aisha and Jason, along with Holly’s completely madcap family and believe me, they are utter nutters, Holly’s family.

Holly’s Inbox is a book you should be reading – or a website you should be visiting, there’s no doubt about that. I fell in love with her, and you will as well. The book is an absolutely mammoth 700 pages but don’t let that fool you, the pages whizz by so fast you’ll barely believe the speed with which you finish the book. I started reading it and the next time I checked my page count I was 100 pages in. I like it when a book can capture you so easily and I’ll be buying the sequel there’s no doubt about it. I don’t know what you’re doing still reading my email to you, readers, you should be buying this book immediately.

Love Leah xxx

PS: If you’re looking to buy me a present for bringing you this brilliant book, I like more books! Thanks!
Profile Image for Becky R..
458 reviews81 followers
July 19, 2010
As a fan of books such as Bridget Jones Diary, Meg Cabot's The Boy Next Door and Boy Meets Girl, I had already read a variety of books that use the email, or epistolary format in telling the story. While I like the playful way that this style shows the development of a relationship, there does seem to be some advantage to the author jumping in from time to time to guide the story. In the case of Holly's Inbox, all we get for the story comes directly from emails. Over half of the novel (which although is made up of short emails, is still over 300 pages) is spent developing our idea of who Holly is, as well as the characters in her life such as her best friends who work at a hotel there in London, her parents who now live in Spain along with her grandmother, and her cohort at work who although sits next to her, spends her day emailing Holly and checking in. This set up of the basic plot and characters is amusing, but left me wishing for the bulk of the story that I was sure was to come.

By the second half of the novel, a portion of the conflict has been revealed, and Holly is left to deal with what appears to be a messy social life, and a "friend" from her past who she refuses to speak to. We soon find out that this friend played a major role in her life, but not until the last moments of the book. It was during these last moments that I really got into the novel and wished I'd had more information.

I can't say that I disliked Holly's Inbox, as I had to keep reading to know what happened, but I did feel like I'd seen this technique before and like it when the author breaks out of the all email format to include some narration. For chick lit, this novel was fun to read and had me entertained. It's not hearty reading, but a fun time if you can hang in there and wait for the main action.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
560 reviews18 followers
August 17, 2015
Holly is a new receptionist at a huge, bustling bank. She’s totally lost and in over her head, but things start looking up when she makes friends with some of her coworkers, finds old friends there, and even starts dating a handsome VP. Mixed in with e-mails with all of them are messages with her crazy family and best friends, a gay man and a… “promiscuous” girl. Soon, though, things begin falling apart for Holly at her new job when she gets dumped, gets back-stabbed, and an old flame joins the company, revealing her secret past and heartbreaks.

I thought this book was slow to start. In fact, about 200 pages in, I set it aside to read another book that needed to be returned. Then, I picked it back up after I finished the other book and it got SO good. At first, it was just back and forth e-mails without much going on, then about halfway through, it really picked up! Lots of stuff went down and I was dying to know what would happen. Catty friends, crazy fun friends, handsome backstabbers, secret pasts… it had it all!

The book is around 700 pages, BUUUUT, it’s all written in e-mail form so it’s quite a quick read. A lot of the e-mails are really short, and I wish some of them had actually been a bit longer, but overall, the book flies by. Holly and her friends were really likable and entertaining, while the couple of backstabbers were completely dreadful and made me SO angry. I think this book portrayed a variety of different relationships realistically, like with her grandmother and parents, and I liked that aspect a lot.

Overall, fun brit chick-lit! I really wanted to get my hands on the sequel, so when I went to my job at the library on Thursday, I searched the catalog and they didn’t have it. :( Boooo. Guess I’ll have to wait!
Profile Image for Vlora.
151 reviews4 followers
November 13, 2015
I needed that. If you're looking for some light reading, this is your book. I have to admit, I wasn't too thrilled at first, and I still find some parts a bit problematic, but the characters grew on me, and the book flows really well.

I love epistolary books, so this one was right up my alley. I loved getting to know the characters through their emails, and all the snark definitely improved my reading experience. There's one character who's just a B from Apartment 23, and I would have liked to understand WHY she was being so mean and ridiculous. There were also some things left unresolved (one of which worries me quite a bit), and the ending didn't quite convince me. Also, I have absolutely no idea what the point of Pregnant Pam's character was as she has no relevance to the story other than to randomly pop up to torture the reader with images of puke and ducks. Don't ask.

Favorite characters:

- Holly's grandma: she's hilarious and I love how Holly is always kind to her, even when she signs her up for spam emails
- Jason: he's Holly's friend who's really snarky, but mainly what I like about him is that he's just genuinely a really good friend
- Trish: she's Holly's co-worker and gives her a hard time at the beginning, but turns out to be awesome
- Shella: her character makes zero sense to me, and I want explanations, but she also sent that one awesome email

Everything else I have to say would include spoilers, so I'll leave it at that.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Ray.
724 reviews1 follower
May 24, 2014
I was really excited to read this book, but it didn't quite meet my expectations. This book was about Holly, who started a new job at a finance/banking company and it's a look at her inbox at this new job. I love books in the format of emails back and forth, but this book had more gaps and things you had to "fill in" for yourself between emails than most others I have read in this format.

There was also a lot you didn't find out about the main character until halfway or even further in the book. It totally changed your perspective of her and I'm not sure how I feel about these things being revealed SO very late. Because of this revealing taking so long, it felt like the romance was squeezed in at the very end, instead of having the reader spend the majority of the book hoping they would get together and letting that suspense build. There were also some problems about minor characters at the end of the book (I.e. Aisha) that were not resolved by the end of the book, so on a whole, it ended rather abruptly. I do realize there's a sequel and maybe that's why?

Even though this book looks huge, it's a really quick read and I did enjoy the format. I also enjoyed the personalities of some of her friends/ secondary characters. I would read the sequel because of these reasons and am giving it 3 stars. I feel it could've been better done, but I mostly enjoyed it anyway.

Profile Image for Robin.
2,093 reviews23 followers
June 14, 2009
When I told a friend that the format of this story was that it was told through emails, he said that sound awful and then I pointed out that I chose to read the book after reading about it in Entertainment Weekly. So I read this bloated novel that started out as a cute idea, Have you ever wanted to peek into someone else's inbox?

Unfortunately it just went on too long for me. I kept reading so I could see how it turned out but it was over 600 pages later that I finally felt satisfied with this tale.
Profile Image for Joy.
883 reviews117 followers
July 30, 2009
Just saw a review of this in Entertainment Weekly. They call it the next Bridget Jones but the interesting thing is "Holly Denham" is really a man! Sounds like fun :)

Well, it really was fun! I loved this book! First of all, it's so different since the whole thing is told through emails. It's quite long but it's a quick, easy read; actually hard to put down. It really is the new Bridget Jones! I love British characters. If you like chick-lit, I highly recommend Holly's Inbox.
Profile Image for Jeanne.
976 reviews18 followers
May 24, 2013
Meet Holly Denham, a young woman who is just starting a new receptionist job at a busy bank. Though her emails, you will meet Holly’s friends, family, and co-workers. And, eventually, you will learn how Holly wound up as a receptionist at the bank.

Along the way, there will be romance, workplace conflict and intrigue, and tons of electronic mail fun.

This is an easy, breezy beach read. It is sure to make you smile.
Profile Image for Liz Powell.
38 reviews1 follower
February 5, 2016
I can appreciate a light and fluffy beach read, but this one doesn't even make the cut in that category. It's long and rambling, filled with dumb innuendo and pithy exchanges. And I find the whole premise of using your work email exclusively for so much inappropriate communication pretty unrealistic. I would have given it one star, but the story finally picked up in the last quarter of the book, and it ended stronger than it began. Holly Denham could have benefited from a much harsher editor.
Profile Image for Maria.
290 reviews
July 23, 2012
LOTS of fun .... was thinking it was a Bridget Jones copycat (and, to be fair, it is) and not as good. But then at page 400 it really took off and was a hoot up until the final page! Very glad I stuck with it .... which wasn't hard because, although over 600 pages, it reads really quickly.

PS Love Jason. xxx

PPS Loathe Jennie. xxx
Displaying 1 - 30 of 429 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.