The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather by Alexandra Potter
- Published: March 2010
- Pages: 400
Summary from Goodreads: “From the “fantastically funny” (Elle), “sharp” (Salon) author of the international bestseller Me and Mr. Darcy, an enchanting drive down the road not taken, in the most surprising company.
At age thirty-one, American Charlotte Merryweather has spent ten years in London pursuing personal and professional perfection. Yet her present-day success- heading her own PR company, owning a gorgeous apartment, planning a future with her devoted boyfriend- only heightens the shock of a visit from the past.
“Lottie,” Charlotte’s twenty-one-year-old self, drives onto the scene at the wheel of a rusty, orange Volkswagen Beetle identical to Charlotte’s first UK ride. Charlotte pursues a friendship aimed to bestow upon Lottie a decade of wisdom. Yet Charlotte’s prosperous polish proves a pale substitute for Lottie’s innate, youthful graces- openness, passion, and kindness. Will the student become the teacher in this witty turnabout?
The clever plotting and winning characterization that made Me and Mr. Darcy a bestseller are on full display in these pages.”
I’m not always in the mood to read a thought-provoking book. After Delicious Foods, I just needed brain-candy. This book fit the bill perfectly. It was light-hearted and amusing, though not as well-developed as I may have wanted.
Charlotte has established herself in the PR world in London, which may appeal to people who want to read about PR or who enjoy a London setting. A lot of the book focuses on various aspects of how busy she is and one of her recent clients.
When she sees her old VW Beetle going down a street she used to drive all the time, Charlotte takes a trip down memory lane and ends up back in 1997. She encounters her younger self at a local pub and decides she needs to change everything about herself, including her hair, her wardrobe, and with whom she sleeps. This should, perhaps, be a clue that she’s not actually happy with who she’s become, including her successful career, her successful (if boring) boyfriend, and barely being able to spend time with her friends or family.
Obviously the reader must accept a bit of magical realism to believe that she can continually go back and spend time with herself from the past. It did bug me that she dropped a call almost every time she went back in time and never figured out why (cell phone towers were not as prevalent in 1997!).
This book would be good for fans of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary for the London setting. Both books also have a sense of self-exploration and discovering oneself. Also good for fans of early Jane Green novels such as Bookends, Mr. Maybe, and Babyville. All are light-hearted and amusing depictions of twenty- or thirty-somethings figuring out who they are and finding love. And, if I remember correctly, they’re all set in London as well.