Have you ever heard of a Blog Book Tour? I hadn’t either, until a lovely email from the publisher Faber & Faber landed in my inbox a couple of months ago. Having come across my blog and read about my pledge to devote more time to reading this year, they asked me to read a brand new book, and then post a review on a specific day. Other writers in the blogosphere do exactly the same thing, which results in a month-long ‘Blog Book Tour’. So, a bit like a regular book tour, but through blogging instead. I imagine you’ve got that by now.
The book they sent me was Kismet, the debut novel by British journalist-turned-novelist Luke Tredget; a tome which, I’ll be completely honest, I would never usually pick up off the shelf. Romance novels aren’t really my thing, and I wasn’t overly convinced that I’d get on with it that well – being so far removed from my usual choices of crime novels and feminist non-fiction. Anyway, before I go any further, shall I treat you to the blurb?
Anna is in love. Or maybe not. She’s a free spirit; definitely happy. Or is it more panicked? In any case, she is living life to the full. Or maybe to the edge. And having a glass of wine.
With a big birthday just around the corner, an important new project at work, and a boyfriend she suspects might be about to ask her a significant question, Anna should feel like she has it all together. But somehow, she just doesn’t seem to be sure about, well, anything. So she gets out her phone and decides to download Kismet.
Will she embrace the life she has, or risk everything for the life she imagines?
Now, I’m going to be honest again. When I first picked up the book, Anna was not my kind of girl – she’s dishonest, jealous and pretty selfish, all of which I struggle to find likeable. As I continued to read, I did find her a bit more relatable – more lost than anything else, and just trying to find her ‘happy’ in the confusing modern world. The problem was that I could draw a few too many parallels to shitty things that have happened to me recently, which made it difficult to appreciate this – but maybe that just means it’s well written? It certainly stirred emotions, that’s for sure; just perhaps not what the author was going for.
What I really did like about the book is something that I’ve actually blogged about before myself – its examination of the role of social media in today’s society, specifically the way we view ourselves and how content we feel with what we have. It offers an interesting commentary on dating apps and modern day relationships, raising questions about how far is ‘too far’, and whether it’s ever possible to be happy knowing that other options are available at the click of a button.
The story itself is compelling, with layers of wit and clever writing. Whilst I don’t find Anna particularly likeable, I did find it interesting to examine her character’s thoughts and choices (however questionable I found them) from a psychological point of view, and I think she probably echos many of the feelings of those in the Tinder age. The author’s journalistic background is evident throughout the novel, with Anna herself being a journalist. Well, she writes ‘sponsored content’ that mimics journalism, anyway – something that, once again, is becoming more and more normal in today’s society. Kismet provides an interesting commentary on this too, with its lack of authenticity mirroring that of online dating, and of many aspects of modern life in general.
Considering the fact that I would never have chosen this book ordinarily, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Whilst it is still a romance novel and not really my bag, you can’t ignore genuinely good writing and storytelling. If romance is your thing, you probably won’t be able to put it down – especially if you’re better versed in the world of dating apps than I am! It’s even been described as ‘Bridget Jones for the Tinder era’, so if that sounds like something that would speak to you, I feel like it’ll be right up your street.
Kismet is available to purchase from Amazon from just £5.99 for the Kindle editon
Have you read it? Do you fancy reading it? What are your thoughts on Tinder/dating apps/all that jazz? Let me know in the comments!