Perfect Anecdote to the Winter Blues in my Handbag

Lizzie Lamb Boot Camp Bride

Boot Camp Bride

Lizzie Lamb






Having downloaded all of Lizzie Lamb’s books, I opened Boot Camp Bride. Remembering Lizzie Lamb’s Scottish romance books, I expected to be travelling with a man in a kilt.  Instead, I was off to London with Charlee, a fledgling journalist.  Charlee is forced to attend a boot camp to get a scoop for the magazine she works for.  I adored the situation set up for this story – such fun! The author is very clever at painting her characters and adding poignant brushstrokes of humour and vulnerability.  Oh my, Charlee’s anecdotes will chase away the winter blues!

First assignment as trainee journalist

Charlee guided me through her adventure, and I could not stop laughing. How does Lizzie Lamb manage to combine humour, adventure and romance?  Charlee was feisty, fun, intelligent and clumsy – perfect.  Undeterred by the alpha male, she managed to fight him with wit and stubbornness.  Lizzie Lamb’s characters and style of writing sparkle in Boot Camp Bride.  This romantic comedy is classic gold: it is the equivalent of comfort food and a good night out with friends.

The soundtrack track to Spectre boomed, as I read the opening chapters of Boot Camp Bride, and Charlee was assigned her first undercover operation as a ‘faux’ bride.  And her ‘self- assurance and sassiness’ made this an absolute hoot.  Charlee’s ‘off the cuff remarks’ constantly entertain.  I adored this refreshingly bubbly style of writing.  The wit and tension fizzed and bubbled like a good Champagne.  At this point, Charlee would observe:

‘If she was beginning to think in clichés, it was time for her to put down the empty glass.’

Bookish setting

However, I didn’t have a glass of anything.  It was a joy to immerse myself in Charlee’s world.  She spoke before she put her brain into gear and is charming, funny and endearing.  Lizzie Lamb used her characteristic turn of phrase to describe that moment when one says the wrong thing:

‘As the seconds drew out, Charlee imagined she could hear the tick of the grandfather clock marking time: feel the chill wind of disapproval whistling round her ankles…’

‘He did a double-take when he saw the cow’s head slippers…’

This captured the moment perfectly! I think there is an element of Charlee in all of us.  She is a very real, honest and intelligent young woman.  Then there is the experienced Bear Grylls meets James Bond type hero, Rafa Fonseca Ffinch, but thankfully he doesn’t take himself too seriously.  I adored the sparks flying between Charlee and Rafa combined with the calamities.  Furthermore, the dialogue is superb, and the scenes were filmic in quality.  Lizzie Lamb is very skilled at challenging stereotypes for comic effect.

The ‘faux’ fiancé’s VW

The narrative hurtles at great speed while the humour awaits the reader around every corner.  Even the weather manages to mock Charlee as ‘hailstones hurled themselves at the window aided and abetted by a cutting wind off the marshes.’  Clever writing makes this novel feel like a trusty companion – I loved it!  It is the sort of book one can return to chase away the blues!

About Lizzie:

Lizzie Lamb, the author

After teaching my 1000th pupil and working as a deputy head teacher in a large primary school, I decided to pursue my first love: writing. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted (2012), followed a year later by Boot Camp Bride. Although much of my time is taken up publicising Tall, Dark and Kilted and Boot Camp Bride, I published a third novel Scotch on The Rocks in July 2015. It achieved Best Seller status within two weeks of appearing on Amazon. I am a founding member of an indie publishing group – New Romantics Press and have held an Author Event at Waterstones High Street, Kensington, London. The icing on the cake, as far we are concerned, and a fitting way to celebrate our achievements. March 2016 saw Scotch on the Rocks shortlisted for the prestigious Exeter Novel Prize and in November 2016 I held an author talk in London, at Aspinalls. In Spring 2017 I published – Girl In The Castle, which reached #3 in the charts. I am currently working on a novel set in Wisconsin – Take Me I’m Yours, and have more Scottish-themed romances planned.


Lizzie’s Links

Amazon author page:
Linked in:


Please see all my book reviews at Books In Handbag and my website and blog at

24 thoughts on “Perfect Anecdote to the Winter Blues in my Handbag”

  1. A great review and well deserved. I too loved Boot Camp Bride and Lizzie perfectly captures the beauty and mystery of the North Norfolk marshes.

    1. Thanks so much for popping along Joan. As you know it was staying at your place in Thornham that gave me the idea for Boot Camp Bride. Happy memories of great times on the marshes.

  2. Fabulous review, Jessie. I love Lizzie’s writing too and have thoroughly enjoyed all of her novels. Like you, I remember belly-laughing at Boot Camp Bride. Lizzie has such a way with words and creates such vivid descriptions and memorable characters. Brilliant! Xx

  3. I just love this book, some of the scenes are totally cinematic and the banter made me laugh out loud. I mean, how you imagine what a feisty, rookie girl journo would be exactly like, Lizzie is a gift, totally fascinating!

    1. Lizzie does have a gift for writing comedy. I love the way she returns to a theme to develop the humour – brilliant.

    2. Thanks Adrienne, you should know – having been a rookie journo once, and NOW a fabulous author yourself. I think we both see our books as films in our head as we’re writing them.

      1. Lizzie and Adrienne, as I’ve told you so many times, I actually ‘see’ the film while reading your books. Me and my overactive imagination (and I won’t mention Hugh Jackman or Jeffrey Dean Morgan this time LOL) 🙂 xx

  4. I loved this one, too – Lizzie’s second book (and only departure from those wonderful Highland settings!) She clearly knows and loves Norfolk too though – and characters, as ever, are all fab and quirky and great fun!!

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment, June. I know that part of phone around the Norfolk marshes almost like the back of my hand. I would like to return to it to write a story one day. ( see comment to Isabella’s post).

  5. Charlee is definitely one of my most favourite female characters! It’s a brilliant review and you managed to entirely “get” Lizzie’s unique writing style. I am a great fan of men in kilt (ahem) but I absolutely loved Rafa, too! I wonder if there will be more stories set in the marshes?

    1. Isabella there are lots of stories I could write about Norfolk. I’ve got one at the back of my mind where a girl lands in a village on Christmas Eve with nowhere to go. Then she sees an advert in a shop window asking for an assistant cook and the story starts from there ……….

  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful review Jessie. You have totally ‘got’ Charlee, she is funny, kind, courageous and just a little bit wacky. I loved both her and the hero, Rafa and I am so glad you realised that, despite all outward appearances, he really is the man for Charlee. I was going to write more novels in this vein but then got hooked on writing books featuring men in kilts. What would Charlee say ? LOL.

    1. It is kind of you to acknowledge the review. I had such fun reading this book. I was crying with laughter, as I recognised myself at that age. The scenario is very clever and creative. I love the feisty, independent heroine! This would make a brilliant film. I wonder who would be cast in the roles?

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