Author: JJ Maya
Publisher: Amazon Media EU
My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Willow Campbell, a 33-year-old makeup artist with no family and no friends but her colleagues and her overbearing roommate, leaves hometown Glasgow in Ireland to go live with her handsome new American husband Rick Delgado in New York. Rick has an apartment in Manhattan, and though she has only known him for six weeks, what could go wrong? The course of their love is charted in a little yellow book, and Willow is full of hope.
Willow is sold on romance but it is a rude awakening that awaits her in New York. On arriving at the building, she realises that the fancy apartment of her dreams is nothing but a loft reeking of cigarettes and infested with ants. Worse, she finds in the bathroom scanty underwear and other evidence of a woman’s presence.
Rick’s ex-girlfriend, Isabella, tells Willow that she is expecting Rick’s child. Suddenly nothing is right. Desperate to escape the shame of having to be deported back to the life she left behind, Willow must find herself a job while proving to the authorities that she and Rick are happily married. It is the only way that her Green card can be processed.
She finds herself a job at a department store, D’Arcy, somehow breaking through the reserve of the formidable owner, Gigi Gerson, known to her employees as Mrs G. She finds a friend in Jackson, a fellow Irish who came over with the man of his dreams and found despair. But it isn’t smooth sailing. Isabella is also employed at the same department store and Willow finds herself thwarted by her at every step.
But Willow is too angry with Rick to even attempt a compromise with him. Especially after she buys a ticket to Glasgow and is convinced by Jackson to give her romance with Rick another chance. She returns to the apartment, hoping to find Rick heartbroken and finds Isabel and Rick doing things they shouldn’t.
But then Mrs G offers her a way out. If she can win the makeup competition, then she could cement her place in America. But Isabella is offering stiff competition. Will she succeed?
This chick-lit book was a fun read. I liked the idea of Willow making her own place in a foreign city, moving on from the obscurity of her life in Glasgow to working as a makeup artist in New York, totally unfazed by the disaster that her romance had turned into.
Willow is the kind of character who acts first, and thinks later. Most of the problems she suffers are a result of her failure to think things through.
Music plays a huge role in the book between songs playing in Rick’s home, Jackson’s home, or D’Arcy’s, it seemed as if everything had a musical score which spoke to Willow.
One thing I really liked was how New York felt like a character in itself. The author re-created its crowds, its culture and its vibe. It piqued my desire to see this glorious city for myself someday.
There were some mistakes. A man called Cecil is qualified as the doorman of the apartment building the second times his name is mentioned, not the first, leaving me to wonder who he was.
Another thing that I found irritating was the one tear and the two fat tears that were constantly sliding down Willow’s cheeks. Rick had a single bead of sweat. Just as annoying.
The whole romance between Willow and Rick would have felt more real to us if we had seen their courtship up close, but we are only part of the picture after
I’m not generally into makeup, but in Willow’s hands, makeup is warpaint that gives people confidence by helping them to hide their blemishes.
Willow made me care about her even though I generally don’t care about the fashion and makeup industry.