By Jane Lovering
Last month our thematic book club read books set outside the U.S.A. and while I was looking for something a bit more exotic than Yorkshire, I found myself looking for something light to read one week and this filled both requirements. I am so glad I went with it! Hubble Bubble is listed as comedy in our Digital Catalog but I’d definitely term it romantic comedy. Holly is a thoroughly modern Milly and has it all together, she doesn’t want or need a man other than for the occasional session to relieve stress, ahem.
The story opens as Holly stops by to save her friend, Megan, from a refrigerator that has clearly gone kaput, due to a decaying burger. Megan had saved the remains of the last meal she shared with her cheating ex-boyfriend. “The fridge had definitely exploded. The small squat box, now minus a corner, leaned slightly forward into a green patch of ooze, sides bulging and its front flapping from one impotent hinge. It looked like R2-D2 after a really hard night on the Crème de Menthe.”
A debate ensues about the merits of being in a relationship. “I’ve got my own house, a great job – why the hell would I want a man hanging around wanting meals and laundry and doing botched DIY?” Holly questions.
Megan shows Holly an advertisement in a newspaper and tries to convince Holly to go with her. “What would you wish for?” it says. “Women interested in forming a group to practice a new branch of the magic arts, get in touch. No experience necessary, just a broad mind and the desire to make wishes come true.”
Holly thinks it’s crazy and tries to rein in Megan’s runaway imagination but to no avail. “Megan was about as grounded as dandelion fluff on a good day. Today, with the winds of romantic disappointment whistling through her life, she’d probably left Planet Sensible for geostationary orbit.”
Holly is busy, between her job scouting locations for production companies and taking care of her brother, Nicholas. Nicholas introduces her to a Welsh journalist named Kai, thinking they might hit it off. Holly is cool to the idea but Kai still offers his cottage as a possible gothic site for a film and when one of her regular clients calls, looking for just such a location, Holly jumps at the chance to call Kai.
Megan manages to convince Holly to join the wishing group and the women, led by Viviene, put together a spell to wish for something. Each of the women ask for something different but, as they say, be careful what you wish for!
Vivienne’s husband has left her, saying that he is questioning his place in life. “My wish . . . is that his life becomes full of real questions. None of this poncing about with the where is my life going? Midlife crisis rubbish, all that I have to look into my soul and find the eternal answer. Proper questions. And when he’s been called upon to find those answers, I want him put out of his misery.”
Holly announces, “I’ve thought of something. I’d wish for some excitement in my life.” She’s about to get much more than she could have imagined, between Kai, her brother disappearing and poachers chasing off the women as they meet in the woods.
Megan wants to be worshipped like a goddess. Perhaps she should have been more specific about that.
Isobel’s wish, “is to be someone’s whole world,” and she soon will be.
Eve says, “I want to meet the man of my dreams,” but she doesn’t mean that in the typical sense.
A nice feature of this book is that you get both Holly and Kai’s perspectives. Most of the action is written from Holly’s perspective but there are letters that Kai writes about his life to the mother who abandoned him, quite literally, as a newborn.
Even her brother Nicholas throws in a wish for someone via Holly.
There are several more books in the series, I went through all of them in one week on vacation. Quick, fun, reads but not too light and fluffy. There’s substance too. Oh, okay, the humor is still the best part.
“Kai stopped the jeep and peered out at the darkness. ‘Who the hell are you meeting, the three bears?’”