London Calling by Clare Lydon is a fun romance in a light chick lit style.
Jess is loving life as an expat in Australia, she has a well paying job, amazing friends and a beautiful girlfriend. That is until she finds her girlfriend in bed with her roommate. Heartbroken she leaves the life she has built for herself in Australia and returns back home to London.
Determined to not get caught up in the rat race and in an office job she’ll hate Jess finds herself working at a cafe, much to her mother’s distaste.
While at a bar with friends Jess meets Lucy, a cute soft butch that she just can’t take her eyes off of. The downside is that Lucy is leaving for a holiday in Australia.
Tamara: The characters are well rounded and each is an individual that you get to know as the book goes on. I liked that none of the characters conformed to typical lesbian stereotypes, they were simply people with complexities. The characters were diverse and the set of characters were believable as real people, rather than caricatures that sometimes find their way into lesbian romance novels.
Another plus is that London Calling has an array of characters. Lesbians make up the main characters but the support cast includes gay men, straight men and straight women.
Sheena: This book has a large cast of characters and I liked the slice of life feel that it gave to Jess’s world. Lydon managed to keep each character unique and made it easy for me to keep track. That totally deserves a high five.
The Writing Style
Tamara: While I think of this book as chicklit, I mean this in the best way possible and it’s great that there are talented writers able to produce non-formulaic books in the genre and Lydon is definitely one of these writers.
I like the less formulaic style of British authors. The text feels a little deeper and London Calling is a great example of British writing.
Sheena: This book reminds me of a TV show where we follow one main character around and just get to experience her life. There isn’t really a dramatic character arc or even what could be considered a main story thrust. Sure, there is a romantic element but a lot of the story revolves around Jess just settling back into her life in London.
I liked that the story was so different from the traditional romances and agree with Tamara that it is light enough to be considered chicklit.
Sheena: This book was narrated by Emily Bennet. She did a great job of distinguishing between characters and showing the personality of the main character.
Tamara: This is a good weekend read when you want a light, sweet romance. It has a captivating story that keeps you wanting to read more. The story is unique and non formulaic. The writing was clean and well paced.
On a side note, lesbian fiction often has a little lesbian bubble in which all the characters reside, à la the L Word. This book is lesbian without trying too hard to just be lesbian and felt a little more real-world as a result.
Sheena: I too liked the lack of formula as it kept me guessing what would happen next. And in this one we see a hint of Lydon’s trademark dorky main character that I love.
Tamara: If you want very traditional butch/femme romance then this is not the book for you. If you don’t like British writing then you may not enjoy this book. If, however, you enjoy writers from the UK, like Clare Ashton then you will enjoy this one.
Sheena: There were times when I felt that the story could be shortened and tightened. But this was also Lydon’s first book, if I am not mistaken, so that is understandable.
Tamara: I loved London Calling and would definitely recommend it. This is a light weekend read for the lesbian reader who is not too dependent on stereotype driven romances.
Sheena: Listen to this audiobook when you want something that isn’t taxing and draws you into the world of a modern day lesbian living in London. It’s a sweet story and it definitely has a place in your audiobook collection.
Excerpt From London Calling by Clare Lydon
“She’s not a dyke honey – she’s a lesbian.”
“The difference being?”
“About 50 grand a year.”
“You can come and live with me.”
“Okay — but you already have Roger the lodger if I’m not mistaken. And shouldn’t we at least have a drunken shag before I move in?”
Kate grinned. “You’ve seen through my dastardly plan. Yes, at the moment I do still have Roger – but not for long. Dear old Rodge has been saving like a demon and bagged himself a shared ownership place. He didn’t think he’d have it for at least a few months but it’s going to be ready in five weeks. So if you can wait that long, the room’s yours.”
I thought about it for a millisecond. “Sold, you’re a lifesaver. I’m sure I can cope at mum and dad’s till then,” I said. I pushed back my chair and stood up.
“Something I said?”
“Just nipping to the loo – beer runs straight through me.”
“Some things never change.”
When I got back, the cute T-shirt wearer I’d smiled at earlier was on her haunches chatting to Kate. When I sat down, she put her tanned hands on her thighs and stood up. She had short, dark hair, lucid hazel eyes and a transfixing smile. She was around 5ft 6 inches tall and wearing jeans that clung to all the right places.
I tried to stop my eyes assessing her too obviously but I think I failed. I was gratified to notice that she seemed to be doing the same to me too, lingering on my breasts before raising her smile to my face. Kate made the introductions.
“Jess – this is Lucy. This is my mate Jess who’s just traded in sunny Sydney for freezing London.”
“Nice to meet you. You’re from Sydney?” Lucy asked. I shook her outstretched hand.
“No – I’m a returning Brit.”
“Well, good to have one back here – there are far too many Aussies in London hitting on our women and drinking our beer.” She paused, then wrinkled her forehead. “Not that I’m complaining, some of them have been gorgeous…”
“Don’t worry, there are plenty of Brits in Sydney doing the same thing.”
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Bits and Bobs
Publisher: Custard Books
Audiobook Publisher: Audible Studios
Narrator: Emily Bennet
Clare Lydon Online
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