Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for Bad Penny, an original romcom from London based author Michele Gorman.
Penny’s life is one big, fat secret… and everyone is about to find out
Penny isn’t the girl she used to be, or the woman everyone thinks she is now. At 19, she bolted for London and never looked back. Nobody there knows who she was – not her care home colleagues, her boss, her clients or even her best friend and flat-mate. Auntie Mags is her only connection to her past, and she’s keeping schtum.
Oli can’t believe his luck. Not only is he about to fulfil his dream of really making a difference (assuming he wins his seat in the upcoming general election), now he’s met the perfect woman. Within a few dates he’s sure he wants to spend the rest of his life with Penny, and it’s all he can do not to shout it from the rooftops.
But Penny has hidden her secret by not shouting from any rooftops. In fact, the quieter, the better. So when Oli’s campaign swings into gear and the reporters start circling, it’s not only her future that’s about to come crashing down.
How can she find a happy ending with Oli when her past will definitely ruin his future, yet living with the lie will ruin their future together?
Then Penny’s past gets out of prison, and he’s about to turn up like a… bad penny.
Bad Penny is one of those books that is very difficult to review without spoilers. On one hand, if you’ve read the blurb carefully, you might already have an inkling what kind of predicament our sweet protagonist finds herself in, on the other hand, discussing the issues I had with Penny’s secret is definitely going to give the story away!
Thirty two year old Penny lives in London, shares her flat with her best friend Fi and adores her demanding, but very rewarding job of a carer for vulnerable elderly people. She doesn’t go out or post on social and doesn’t really have any friends apart from Fi and her work colleagues. Penny is extremely private and she has good reasons for keeping her life just that- private, because Penny has a secret in her past and is willing to go to great lengths to protect it.
Then she meets Oli Wright, an aspiring MP, and wins a dinner date with this adorable charity worker- well, it was really Fi’s client who won the date and played a bit of a matchmaker, because it is clear to everyone that Penny and Oli would make a fantastic couple. However much Penny would love to stay hidden, she can’t help falling in love with sweet, enthudiastic Oli. Oh, he has his own problems and issues stemming from his past experiences, including lack of confidence and trust issues caused by his absent father (get ready for a lot of drama!), bitter, interfering mother, and his double-timing ex. No wonder he doesn’t want to push Penny to open up when he senses her reluctance to talk about her past. But can their relationship survive the media scrutiny which often accompanies politicians, even aspiring ones, and, more generally speaking, can any long-term relationship thrive if it isn’t based on honesty and trust?
This is a double POV book and we get to know both protagonists quite well. Penny’s narrative also includes her memories from the past that help us discover her secrets, although getting the complete picture takes time. The secondary characters are distinct and memorable without taking away the spotlight from the protagonists and their story. They do add some very important touches to our understanding what Oli and Penny are like. My favourite supporting character has got to be Penny’s patient Major John.
If you like British rom-coms, you’ll love Penny and Oli’s banter and general goofiness of their relationship- they are indeed perfect for each other! There’s also complex family dynamics and not only on Oli’s side.. Penny’s Aunt Mag, as likeable and supportive as she is, couldn’t have been totally oblivious and perhaps could and should have done more, while Penny seems to have taken a bit too much responsibility not only for her own, but also other people’s actions.
In Bad Penny Michelle Gorman created interesting characters and kept a great balance of fun and witty oneliners and sad, poignant moments. I’d definitely like to read more from this author in future!
Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources, the publisher and the author for the review copy provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Author Bio –
Michele writes comedies packed with lots of heart, best friends and girl power. She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London.
Michele also writes cozy comedies under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.
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