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Sunday, 16 March 2014

One Week Girlfriend Series by Monica Murphy


I read the first two parts of this series, One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend last year and I really enjoyed them.  They tell the story of Drew (who isn’t in reality how he’s been drawn) and Fable (who isn’t like the stories told about her – do you see what the author did there?!) who meet under unusual circumstances, but turn out to be just what the other needs. The series continues with Three Broken Promises which tells the story of Jen and Colin, who Fable meets through work, a novella completing Drew and Fable’s story called Drew + Fable Forever and a story about Fable’s teenage brother Owen which came out this month, Four Years Later.  I wanted to find out about Owen’s story because I was so fond of him in the first two books so I thought I’d finish off reading the whole series, and here are my thoughts on each instalment:

One Week Girlfriend: College student Drew hires Fable to pose as his girlfriend for a week on a trip home. On paper, Drew has a brilliant life; he's rich, does well in college, football team star and is hot to boot but he has some major issues. The poor guy is pretty lonely and unloved, has some serious guilt, control issues and has been used pretty badly. He doesn't want a real girlfriend as he's unprepared to let anybody past his defences and he asks Fable, who has a reputation as the town's easy lay to pose as his girlfriend rather than somebody else because he knows she won't expect anything more from him, relationship-wise.

Fable has her own problems - she is having to pick up the slack from her alcoholic mother both financially and as a stable parent figure to her younger brother. She is also very unloved, and although she sleeps around a bit to escape from her life for a brief time, her reputation has been exaggerated.

Spending time together proves more problematic than either Drew or Fable had anticipated, they have some serious chemistry and the fact that they both have issues helps them understand each other and break through each other's barriers but neither are sure how much is an act for the week and how much is real and whether either of them are capable of having a relationship at this time.

I really enjoyed this story although I felt sorry for both Drew and Fable for the issues they had but I felt that there was some good progression with their problems, particularly for Drew.  


Second Chance Boyfriend - We pick up a couple of months after the first book. Drew has run away from his feelings again, and is missing Fable badly. He realises how stupid he has been to throw away a relationship which could really have helped him work through his demons and when he meets again with Fable he seizes the chance to try again. If you've read the first book you will know that these two both have some serious issues and baggage and they continue their improvement into the realms of "normal" rather than remaining messed up. We also get to see some more of Adele (HATE her, she turns my stomach!) and more of Fable's brother Owen, who I liked, I thought he was a really believable character. I am probably not selling this book well, saying it's all about healing etc, but it's a heartwarming book rather than a soppy tale, both Drew and Fable are such likeable characters and so good for each other that I really enjoyed seeing their progress towards a happy ending.


Three Broken Promises – I thought Jen and Colin were interesting secondary characters in Second Chance Boyfriend, we knew they went way back, and that Jen had feelings for him and that Colin had some demons, so I was glad to see that they were getting a book of their own.  Colin was the childhood best friend of Jen’s brother, who died overseas serving in the military. Jen’s family fell apart after Danny’s death and Jen ended up in a bad situation that Colin saved her from.  He gave her a job and a roof over her head and though he cares for her deeply he doesn’t want to pursue a relationship with her because he feels too guilty – for her brother’s death, the family breakdown that led to the situation she got into and he also doesn’t feel he is good relationship material and Jen deserves better.  Jen feels trapped; she loves Colin but he won’t open up to her and although she misses her brother she feels it’s time to move on with her life.  She also has some secrets from her past which she is afraid are catching up with her. Jen can’t see Colin ever letting her in so she hands in her notice at work and tells him that in 4 weeks she’ll be moving away, putting the ball in his court – if he wants her to stay he’ll have to do something about it.

While I enjoyed this book there were aspects I found frustrating.  First of which was Jen – she wasn’t what I expected. I thought she was more like Fable, who is feisty, independent and capable, but Jen is frustratingly naive – she says that she is always dependent on somebody but that is just as well, as anytime she does something of her own instigation she makes bad decisions and takes silly risks.  I also felt like there was too much time spent on the ‘will they – won’t they’ and the resolution of other threads, such as Colin’s fractured relationship with his father was tied up too quickly.  Still, I enjoyed this story, and I liked seeing some small glimpses of Drew and Fable, which whets the appetite for the novella tying up their story.



Drew + Fable Forever
We first met Drew and Fable in One Week Girlfriend and saw them take on their issues in Second Chance Boyfriend, working to overcome their obstacles and becoming happier than either of them thought was possible.  I loved both Drew and Fable from the previous books and I was looking forward to seeing a bit more of them.  If you hadn’t read the first two books you could pick up this novella and it would make sense because some of the main events from the previous books are referred to, but you would miss out on all the detail, I would definitely recommend reading this after reading the first two books. 
  
We start off about a year after the end of SCB.  Drew is now a professional American Football player and he and Fable are still very much in love but theirs is not a carefree existence because they have to spend a lot of time apart, as Drew has to train with his team in another town and Fable can’t go with him because she has to stay in home because of her responsibility for her brother. Owen is still in school and they don’t want to disrupt his schooling.  We see a number of different events in Drew and Fable’s lives in the near future as they work towards their happy ever after.  This novella isn’t so much a story as more of an extended epilogue, following Drew and Fable through the next few years.  The novella is very, very sweet, and if you already know the couple and what they’ve worked through together then you are on their side hoping for a happy ending, but if you prefer a bit more conflict and tension you may feel it falls a bit flat.  However, since I am very fond of the couple I really enjoyed it!


Four Years Later
Owen is Fable’s brother from One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend and I was very fond of him from those books, when he was a foul-mouthed teen who poor Fable was trying to keep from going off the rails.  Owen’s mother is an alcoholic and drug user who never stepped up to the plate for her kids. Fable had to step into that role, and her anger at that, and trying to minimise the distress and damage it caused Owen left her with very little sympathy for her mother, especially when she abandoned her children.  Fable has cut her mother out of her life without a backward glance. Owen was always more forgiving towards her and now, four years later Owen’s mother has come back into his life, asking for handouts all the time. He knows he should tell her where to go but deep down he still craves his mother’s love. 

Owen is living in a pretty good situation; his brother in law, Drew, is doing well in his career as a pro American footballer and he’s bought Owen a house to live in and a car.  Owen is potentially good enough to become a pro footballer too, but he needs to keep his grades up to stay on the team, and that is where one problem lies – he’s been cutting class so he can work more at his part time job so he can keep giving his mother money.  Owen has also been turning to drink and drugs to curb his anxieties, which obviously could lead to him losing his place on the team.  Owen agrees to have a tutor to help his grades in English Literature and creative writing, and this means he meets Chelsea.

Chelsea is a bit of a lonely soul. Academically she’s pretty gifted and she was advanced a few years, meaning she made few friends amongst people her age or her older classmates. Her family is dysfunctional, with a mother who has done her best to indoctrinate Chelsea to be independent and stay clear of men while simultaneously behaving in the exact opposite way, allowing Chelsea’s father to walk all over her.  Chelsea’s father is currently in prison, which is something she is trying to keep secret, but due to this Chelsea is on a tight budget, hence the tutoring, and a part time job too.  She is immediately attracted to Owen, but he has heartbreaker written all over him and so she does her best to keep her distance.

Owen has some pretty strong feelings for Chelsea from the beginning too, but he needs the tutoring to raise his grades, doesn’t want to scare Chelsea off and doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for her.  These two are a bit like chalk and cheese, he’s foul-mouthed, promiscuous and a casual drug using party boy and she is all work and no play, pretty straitlaced and she is very inexperienced with the opposite sex but the more time they spend together the more they like one another. 

These two are so sweet together; the differences between them balance each other out really nicely, she loosens up a bit and he cleans up his act.  Not everything goes smoothly for these two.  I was actually expecting more obstacles, but these two don’t have the same type of big issues that Drew and Fable had to overcome.  Reminiscent of Drew, Owen also writes poetry for his lady, but rather than the sweet poems that Drew writes Owen’s are a little more earthy. 

“I am so lucky. He’s so thoughtful, sweet and funny.  He writes me poems.  Dirty ones, but I don’t care. They’re beautiful.  He’s beautiful.  Not perfect, but he’s mine.  And I am his.”


Awww! I thought this was a lovely way to end the One Week Girlfriend series, I really enjoyed this book.

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