Title: Josie’s Upturned World
Author: Priya Popat
“A wise man named Lao-Tau once said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So why did I feel like I had travelled thousands of miles, barefoot and bleeding, only to discover that I hadn’t moved at all? My single steps only led me into dead-end jobs and disastrous relationships.”
Josie’s Upturned World is a novel which centres of the life Josie – a woman in her late twenties who has been engaged four times, but has once again found herself dumped before the wedding. As someone who has dreamed of the perfect wedding since she was a child, Josie is determined to find the right person to marry. Starting afresh, and with the help of her friends Babs and Dame (and new friend Pru), Josie just wants to find her happily-ever-after and once she receives a mysterious letter, she finds herself on a path which may just grant her one after all…
This was such an easy book to read and to love – the characters are likeable and the plot was interesting, so much so, that (and I don’t mean this in a critical way) the book felt very “bubblegum”. I loved how easy it was and, despite a few difficult and tragic moments, overall, the whole story felt wholesome. I especially loved Josie’s relationship with Pro, a character I felt really made the book!
A stylistic choice I didn’t like much was when the narrative changed perspective; this only happened a handful of times, and was usually only for a paragraph, right at the end of a chapter, but in all of the occasions it happened, I just found it unnecessary, especially the plot of Josie’s mum. I do think Popat could have left it out of the book entirely and it wouldn’t have changed the novel much at all.
I liked how much of a realistic approach this novel took to romance; using Josie, Popat was able to convey that while everyone may want a fairytale ending, it isn’t straightforward getting there! I’ve definitely read romances before where the narrative seemed rose-tinted, and it had unrealistic ideals of people’s love lives – so I’m very glad this wasn’t one of them!
All in all, I didn’t dislike the ending, but it could have been a little less predictable; there were certainly elements in the plot, which I would not have been able to predict, so much so that I do think the plot after the letter was extremely unexpected, but I wish the ending had been one of them too.
This book is a definite must if you love the idea of a Bridget Jones-esque style romance novel which has fun and likeable characters but a realistic and relatable plot. I commend the author’s ability to not let the plot ever get too heavy, and her characters’ ability to be immensely relatable and compelling, and I look forward to reading more of Popat’s work in the future.
Thank you to the author, Priya Popat, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.