Book review: The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson
The much-loved queen of sparkling romance is back and on tip-top form in a truly enchanting reading odyssey full of her trademark tears, drama, passion and laugh-out-loud Yorkshire humour.
The Queen of Wishful Thinking is Johnson’s thirteenth novel and this warm, wise and witty Barnsley author just can’t put a foot wrong. She won the RoNA for Best Romantic Comedy Novel of 2014 and 2016, and her wide-ranging experiences as a columnist, joke-writer, poet, after-dinner speaker and copywriter for the greetings card industry have made her a consummate ‘people person.’
Her entertaining, perceptive and funny novels bristle with the kind of characters we all know… real people with real lives and real problems. And it is this very human – and humane – way of looking at life that has made Johnson such a popular writer with women of every generation.
When Lew Harley had a heart attack in his early forties, he took it as a wake-up call and packed in his job as a high-flying city investment banker. He and his beautiful but high-maintenance wife Charlotte left behind life in the fast lane and Lew opened up an antiques shop in a small Yorkshire town.
His shop, the Pot of Gold, is ticking along but is in desperate need of a capable assistant who knows the antiques trade inside out and can help him to enhance the business.
Cue 42-year-old Yorkshire lass Bonnie Brookland who was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for Ken Grimshaw, the unscrupulous man who bought out her father’s business and is happy to cheat his customers.
So when Bonnie walks into the Pot of Gold and meets the handsome, charming and honest Lew, she knows this is the place for her. And as Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that they have more in common than just a passion for antiques.
Bonnie knows the time has come to break away from her control freak husband Stephen and find some happiness for herself, even though leaving him could very possibly destroy her in the process. Because Stephen has an ace up his sleeve to prevent her going, and he’s determined to play it.
Meanwhile, Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit, and some secrets from the past are about to be uncovered.
Will Bonnie and Lew find the happiness they deserve?
As always, Johnson gets to the heart of her diverse cast of characters, endowing each with a unique personality and observing their dreams and dilemmas with the small detail that makes them spring to life with such charm and vigour.
The irresistible Bonnie is perhaps one of her best and most lovable heroines yet… a gentle, caring woman whose lively, unquenchable spirit seems able to overcome even the most daunting of obstacles. Her path may be strewn with prickly thorns but this determined and delightful battler can still pluck hope from despair.
With secrets to unearth, tears to shed, moments of comedy to enjoy and romance aplenty, there could be no better book to bring out the sunshine this summer.
(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)