Elizabeth Neep comes to the blog with a romantic comedy all about changing your outlook when you change your view with
The Spare Bedroom
Organized into parts that roughly outline Jess and her journey: we meet her just as she’s hoping that a change of scenery and place to live will also change her luck in life and in love. We see Jess in each stage – how she came to move, how her relationship ended, her railing at the fates, finding new opportunities and finding her own happy ending. Going from London to Sydney is a HUGE move, and takes guts and some determination, as well as a huge gamble. Particularly when her first flat-share option doesn’t happen and she runs into her last boyfriend, the one she thought would be her last and always. He’s kind enough to offer her an out – the spare bedroom in the flat he has with the current girlfriend.
For me, Jess was immature and selfish, and not a bit self-reflective or even aware of the mixed signals she sent, or the fallout from her mistakes and bad choices. Sam, however, wasn’t much better, and the two have a relationship that while ‘friendship based’ often is treading toward dangerous waters. Neither is particularly honest or willing to (or even really aware of) their own missteps- and frustrating didn’t quite go far enough to deal with the frequent wallowing (from Jess) about the past and her what ifs. A bit of a struggle to start – the story has to introduce characters and set the frame, and while this was well done and helped overall, the flashbacks to Jess and Sam as a couple, combined with the multiple lies and facades that Jess built (that will all crash around her of course) just didn’t fit neatly with the tie-in to religion and the messages that were sent / ignored / resent frequently.
Wandering a bit about Sydney and noticing the differences from London, the determination to show the good, bad, and ugly behaviors in the situation and finally finding a way for Jess to grow and move forward after sort-of acknowledging her own mistakes but fully moving into the future was solid. Decent writing, characters (particularly secondary ones) that were cleverly built and defined, and the requisite happy ending after some revelations FOR the main character kept this story light and fun, but perhaps better suited to a reader other than I.