Saturday, 21 July 2012

Before the Daisies Grow by Micki Street

Before the Daisies GrowFrom - "Toss the bloomers, get a bikini wax and slip into a thong: life begins at sixty-ish. Dotty, Wilma and Nora are going on holiday to the island of Brazzina. Unfortunately for them, their charming host Lucas is a drug baron who plans to use his silver beauties as opium mules.Enter Major Milestone, a yummy gentleman who has Dotty's heart beating to the tango. Although he's going to Brazzina too, he keeps resisting her amorous advances, and it's giving her the vapours. But after the Major (does something dramatic), Dotty realizes she and her friends have just been kidnapped, and it's up to her to engineer their escape. Dotty enacts a hare-brained scheme only to discover two things. One: she may be hot, but she's not so hot at fool-proof plans, and two: the Major was on a covert mission to capture Lucas and destroy the island's opium plantations. With the mission near-scuppered and Milestone now suspicious the ladies are in cahoots with Lucas, Dotty must find some way to win his heart back. If she doesn't, the soft Brazzina surf it going to be the only thing kissing her toes anytime soon!"

This sounded like a fun comedy romp, and indeed the plot had plenty of scope for much hilarity as the three British OWLs (or Old White Ladies as they have been dubbed) get themselves into a difficult situation they are blissfully unaware of. I could suspend my disbelief and accept that, as savvy as they could be, they would buy into such a trip and be conned in the way they were. However the plot line wasn't enough to hold this book together for me, and I didn't find any humour in it which was a real shame. Before I write my review I usually pop onto Amazon or Goodreads to check the blurb (so as to avoid revealing anything that hasn't already been let slip) When I started to prepare this review I was surprised at the 4 and 5* reviews and think I must have read a different book.

My biggest criticism would be how inconsistent the characters are. One minute the three ladies come over as old fashioned upper class ladies, speaking very formally, and the next they are effing and blinding like good 'uns. Some of the language they use had me absolutely cringing and I'm not particularly precious about that sort of thing. Some of the language felt forced and I have never met an American, let alone a Brit who actually uses the word "Shucks" other than jokingly. I also couldn't understand, when the oldest of the trio is only meant to be 65 (coincidentally the same age as my mum) and they are interested in getting waxed and tanned, avoiding wrinkles and getting their hair and nails done, why they were described as fossils and talked about as if they were in their 80s and heading towards decrepit. They came over a bit Jekyll and Hyde, like each of them had two very different and unconnected sides. I couldn't find them remotely believable which completely killed off any chance of finding the humour in their story.

I also found the dialogue for an Asian character, swapping Rs and Ls around to give an idea of his accented speech, uncomfortable reading. Maybe done briefly to give the reader the idea might not have been so bad but the fact that whole passages of his speech were written that way felt mocking. Combine that with some odd turns of phrase and it wasn't an easy, flowing read.

I don't like giving a single star rating but this is one of those books I almost didn't finish. The central idea was great but the execution wasn't.

Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 1*

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