"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris ... then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Ernest Hemingway

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Watching Willow Watts, by Talli Roland, my review.

I was thrilled to be given a preview copy of Talli's latest novel and it is my pleasure to review it here and on Reading at Dawn at a later date.

Watching Willow Watts
For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching telly, as the pension-aged residents of Britain's Ugliest Village bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when a YouTube video of Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets millions of hits after a viewer spots Marilyn's ghostly image in a frame.

Instantly, Willow's town is overrun with fans flocking to see the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers -- whose shops and businesses are cashing in -- Willow embraces her new identity, dying her hair platinum and ramming herself full of cakes to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves. 

But when a former flame returns seeking the old Willow, Willow must decide: can she risk her stardom and her village's newfound fortune on love, or is being Marilyn her ticket to happiness?

I adored this fun read by Talli Roland. It is both zany and poignant. I love the bizarre descriptions of English village life as Willow leaves her London career as a florist to return to Belcherton, England’s ugliest village, to care for her recently-widowed father.
The story gets underway with the ghostly image of Marilyn Monroe hovering over a YouTube video of Willow doing a dreadful impersonation of the icon. She is an overnight sensation and on her way to stardom, complete with sleazy agent.
Sleazy agent Jay is just one of a cast of characters beautifully fleshed out by Talli, from her bestie, Paula, her father, her ex-boyfriend, and a loving Texan who arrives on the scene and of course, the eccentric band of locals.
The novel moves along at a frolicking pace, as Willow is both adored and exploited, much as was Marilyn Monroe herself. Amidst all the Marilyn mania, Willow’s goal is always to secretly save her father from bankruptcy in his dusty old antique shop. He confounds her by filling it with tacky Marilyn memorabilia, and confounds her further by actually selling it to the fans who’ve arrived to see the reincarnation of Marilyn. Talli brings the sense of the ridiculous to the story, revealing her ‘inner comedian’.
All jokes aside, what I got from Watching Willow Watts is that individuality is to be treasured. Self acceptance is to be celebrated and happiness lies in being true to oneself.
This is chick lit at its best. Talli Roland has written more than just pure entertainment; she has connected with our hearts, a rare talent. Looking forward to her next novel.

Watching Willow Watts will be available on Kindle and other e-book platforms in September. Official launch day is September 14th! Print release is in November.

Click on the Marilyn icon in my sidebar to sign up for the launch party. The theme is: "If I could be anyone, I'd be..." All you have to do is post a picture on your blog on September 14 along with a short explanation of why you chose this person. Hmm, now who could I possibly be...any suggestions?


  1. I have been lucky to ride along with Willow and adore her! Talli has created a brilliant second novel, I do so agree, Denise. Great review!

  2. I'm really looking forward to this book. I'm also having trouble deciding who I'm going to be for launch day :-)

  3. Sounds wonderful. I thought Talli's first review had a lot of depth. Thanks for the review!

  4. Hi,

    Sounds like fun!

    Thanks for the review: excellent premise... How about a Happy Birthday Mr. President feature vid. ;)


  5. This is going to the top of my list. Sounds like the kind of book I adore. Marian Keyes-y, in England instead of Ireland. And the cover is great. Really drew me in. Thanks! Great review.

  6. I've been looking forward to this book so much! I love Talli and her writing. After reading your review, I want to read the book even more!

  7. Definitely planning to read this one.

  8. Read it. Loved it. Reviewed it. And already participating ;o)

  9. Yay! Thank so much, Denise. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, and thanks loads of taking the time to write the review! :)

    And thanks to everyone for the lovely comments. You've made my heart sing on a rather dreary London morning.

  10. Dreary? London? Mwahahaha! Seriously, it's Fathers Day in Oz and I've had a ball frolicking up at the beach - all that sun, surf and sand...D

  11. Hey there fellow campaigner...I'm following you. :)

  12. The book sounds like fun. Nowadays everyone can become a YouTube sensation and the new status of celebrity can be daunting.

    Chemical Fusion

  13. It's on my Kindle, and I've read the first five chapters. I LOVE it. The reason I haven't finished it yet is because I got sidetracked by life. It's clearly a five-star book!!
    Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets


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