I’m a big fan of Helen Smith. She’s different, and as someone that reads A LOT, I appreciate something different. I’m particularly fond of her Emily Castles series of mysteries (check them out – links at the bottom of this post) so was thrilled when Helen herself asked me if I’d like to read her newest short story, which, incidentally has just been announced a winner in the Readers’ Choice Awards 2015. As if I’d say no…
So what’s it about?
Sarah wanted a sensitive, poetic, romantic boyfriend who would bring her flowers. Ryan ticks all the boxes. So why isn’t Sarah happy?
This short story perfectly showcases Helen’s cleverness and her humour. If you’ve not read anything by her yet, this would be an ideal introduction. How can you not smile at this opening: ‘Ryan poured tea into a pretty china cup and handed it to Sarah. He said, “…I went outside and ran my hands across the blades of grass, still damp with dew. I harvested the droplets and put them in the kettle, and made this cup of tea for you”’. Somehow the reader knows immediately that this is not going to be a soppy, sentimental story despite the poetic language. It’s all very tongue-in-cheek but with perhaps a more serious purpose.
Without giving anything away (I don’t put spoilers in my reviews), this story can simply be read as an enjoyable, light-hearted take on a futuristic England. Yep, it’ll even make you laugh:
“Can you taste the strawberries?” Ryan asked Sarah.
“I think I can”.
“That’s standard on women” said the visitor.
“Differentiating things?” asked Ryan.
“Thinking they can”.
It could also however, (only if you want it to), raise some fairly interesting questions on somewhat deeper issues. Are we as human beings inherently dissatisfied? Is the grass always greener? Will we always want what we can’t have? And actually, do we even KNOW what we really want? What would happen if we could actually programme our requirements into our partner? ‘”Well, you asked for a sensitive, poetic, romantic individual who would put your needs above his and bring you flowers quite often… And he asked for a thoughtful, gentle woman who liked a bit of banter and was generally up for a laugh”’.
‘”You think you’ll love what you want but in the end, you learn to love what you get”’.
I loved it and guess what? It’s FREE on kindle: Purple, Silver, Olive, Orange: A Short Story
And if I piqued your interest in the Emily Castles mysteries…
#1 Three Sisters (Emily Castles Short Mysteries) – Three Sisters: A British Mystery (Emily Castles Mysteries Book 1)
#2 Showstoppers (Emily Castles Short Mysteries) – Showstoppers: A British Mystery (Emily Castles Mysteries Book 2)
#3 Invitation to Die (Emily Castles Mysteries) – Invitation to Die (Emily Castles Mysteries)
#4 Beyond Belief (Emily Castles Mysteries) – Beyond Belief (Emily Castles Mysteries)