Monday, March 23, 2009

31 Dream Street, Lisa Jewell

Posted by lea at 3:28 PM
Verdict: funny and charming light reading. While definitely falling into the chick-lit genre, 31 Dream Street doesn't try to be swanky or ultra-modern, nor does it mistake sex for sexy, and its heroes are anything but all of the above.

Toby is an unpublished (read 'failed') poet and gentle soul who rents out the rooms of his beautiful but run-down house in London to artists and down-and-outers who need a place to lay their heads in the in-between periods of their lives. His current occupants include Ruby, the wannabe rockstar, Joanne, the mysterious out-of-work actor, Con, the postboy who longs to be a pilot, Con's mum Melinda, and the ancient and unkown Gus.

Across the road lives Leah Pilgrim, a thorougly capable, intelligent and curious person whose interest is piqued by the strange comings and going at the house across the road. Through circumstance and death, the balance of Toby's house is disturbed and he turns to Leah for assistance - suddenly he is forced to go against his sense of propriety and meddle in the lives of his tenants to help them move forward and leave their sanctuary - whether this means finding love, facing their past or just plain growing up.

31 Dream Street is a gentle and funny read that had me smiling and even laughing out loud along the way. The plot is not dramatic but manages to keep up a good pace so it's easy to read and easily enjoyable. The secondary characters are a little one-dimensional, but Toby and Leah are wonderfully drawn and wholly believable. This novel probably won't win any major prizes, but it may just win your heart.

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