Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?
The Place We Met is set in Lake Como, Italy, and follows two young women, Taggie and Lucy, whose lives are about to collide in the most unexpected way. I wanted to write about a relationship from two totally opposite angles, and so I have Taggie, who is struggling to get over a break-up, while Lucy is in that first flush of love, falling for someone new and going through all the anxiety that goes along with it. In my experience, heartbreak is never black and white. I often encounter those typical idiot ex-boyfriend characters while reading women’s fiction novels, and I wanted to dig a little deeper than that and, instead of laying blame, give all my protagonists real motive. I also wanted to write about the strange relationship between the ex-girlfriend and the new girlfriend, which I know from experience can be a tricky one, and really pull apart the reasons behind all the associated upset and needless hostility. Why should you read it? Well, in addition to all the emotional stuff, there are also hilariously naughty dogs, a drunken incident involving Take That and a lost shoe, all the Italian food, wine and men you could wish for, and a very eventful New Year’s Eve party…
If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?
Ha ha – what a great question! I like to think I have a lot more books in me, and I know each of them will be set in a new location, so… Around The World In 80 Books. I would love that!
What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?
I did once get an email from a man in Pakistan asking me if I’d like to marry him and use my status as an author to help cure AIDS. He explained that he did already have a wife, but she would’t mind because it would be for the greater good. Yep… I thought, on balance, that it was best not to respond.
If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?
Oh, Jilly Cooper, in a heartbeat. Her characterisation skills are unsurpassable, and imagine all the laughter (and the gin) along the way. She’s an author I always go back to when I need to be inspired, because her books are always full of fun and real emotion. I don’t think I would be writing the books I am today if it wasn’t for Jilly, and one day I hope to create a whole world of characters, just like she has.
Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).
When people ask me which book I’d take to a desert island, I always fib and say something clever, like War & Peace or Jane Eyre, when in reality it would 100 per cent be the complete Harry Potter collection.
Finally, please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.
I’m lucky that I get sent heaps of new books to read and review for heat, but I’ll try to choose some that are already out or arriving very soon:
1) Anatomy Of A Scandal by Sarah Vaughn (Simon & Schuster). I had heard so much about this book before I started it, and all the hype was totally justified. It is, quite simply, one of the most accomplished, gripping and unforgettable novels I’ve ever read – let alone read this year. The story is told from the perspective of a wife whose MP husband has been accused of sexual assault, and the barrister prosecuting him. I won’t say too much more, so as not to give anything away, but trust me when I say that you MUST read it. I can see it going on to be one of the biggest success stories of 2018.
2) Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher (Penguin). This is my most recent read, and I so enjoyed it. Giovanna just gets better with each novel, and Lizzy, her main protagonist in this one, is by far my favourite of all her characters to date. She’s a feisty, funny, sweary and very real Essex lass, who is trying to put her life back together and discover who she really is after being dumped by her long-term boyfriend. So much of what Lizzy goes through reminded me of myself after a break-up a few years ago, so I really bonded with her and this story – and it made me snort with laughter, too. Always a bonus.
3) The Hygge Holiday – Rosie Blake (Little, Brown). As well as being the prettiest book I’ve seen in a long time, this delicious slice of women’s fiction is also the funniest. It follows Danish-born Clara, who arrives in a little Suffolk village in the weeks before Christmas and manages to turn around the fortunes of a failing toyshop using her own brand of Hygge magic. From the hilarious chatty parrot Lady CaCa to the sexy yet stubborn hero Joe, this has all the ingredients that are essential for a feel-good festive read. I’ve been recommending it to everyone ever since I finished it.
Who is Isabelle Broom? Isabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts in London before joining the ranks at Heat magazine, where she remains the Book Reviews Editor. Always happiest when she off on an adventure, Isabelle now travels all over the world seeking out settings for her novels, as well as making the annual pilgrimage to her true home – the Greek island of Zakynthos. Currently based in Suffolk, where she shares a cottage with her dog Max and approximately 467 spiders, Isabelle fits her writing around a busy freelance career and tries her best not to be crushed to oblivion under her ever-growing pile of to-be-read books.