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

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Linked in:


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

Hogmanay, Highlands and Handbags

With Hogmanay knocking on the door, and my new hiking books in the hall, I have been dreaming of Scotland.  I yearn to greet Robert Burns’s Highlands in the summer. Stories and adventures are sure to be waiting in the ‘green vallies’ and ‘wild- hanging woods’.  Alas, my neighbour, Hamish, has warned me of the ‘hungry beasties’ – the mischievous midges.  And I hate the blighters, as I am sure to become their breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Exploring the literature about Scotland, I found ‘One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in the Modern World’, by Signe Pike.  Pike explains:

‘But in the Scottish Highlands, with their dark brooding mountains and eerie highland lakes, villagers warned of deadly water kelpies and spirit characters that packed a bit more punch.’

Perhaps, dear old Hamish is introducing me to the magic of the Highlands; and is referring to the beautiful spirits hiding in the lochs.  I can hear something whispering, ‘A dinnae ken’, to me.  Viewing online images of Scotland tempts me to explore the ‘brooding’ wilderness sculpted by nature.  Like a warrior blogger, I must face the midges!  And my brother suggests keeping some citronella spray in my handbag. Does this deter the midges, or would it be like marinating myself for the blighters’ lunch? Any advice is welcome.

So, while searching for the perfect romantic bothy, I have just found a bothy bag.  This is a survival bag that transforms into a tent.  Perfect!  I can fill this with books for my adventure. And if the midges appear, I will simply hide in the bothy bag and read.  Please recommend some books set in Scotland to prepare me for my adventure.

I can recommend the Daniela Sacerdoti novels set in the Highlands in which she paints a vivid picture of ‘…the windswept Scottish sky and black silhouette of pinewoods, a hint of mist resting on the land and the white ghostly moon peering…’, and this rekindles my yearning to visit Scotland. Ah yes, I will have to stash away Lizzie Lamb’s Highland romances. I wonder if Lizzie knows the best time of year to avoid the midges?

I will search for a holiday bothy in this glorious tide of time between Christmas and Hogmanay.  Once the bothy has been located, I will then begin to plan a menu for the end of year celebrations.  It is a tradition for the family or friend member, with the darkest hair, to open the front door to let the old year out.  This becomes a struggle as our hair turns grey, but I like to refer to MacLeod in the Highlander:

‘ “To see the years touch ye gives me joy,” he whispers, “ for it means ye live.”’

And, I wish to end the year with the celebration of life!


Please see all my adventures at Handbag Adventures and my blog at