The Old Romantic

We have a pretty simple rule on our blog and newsletter. If we like something we'll write about it and, if we don't, we won't.


I think that's the way all blogs should be and it's depressing to see how many bloggers now demand free stuff in return for a puff piece on their site.


However, our rule can make life quite hard if you're asked to write about something that's not to your taste, especially if you're actually sent something to review.


I was sent The Old Romantic, for instance, by author Louise Dean herself and was slightly dreading reading it in case I really didn't like it.


And in fact it did take me a little while to get into, but thankfully I enjoyed it more and more as I read and by the end would happily recommend it to anyone.


The Old Romantic of the title is Ken, a cantankerous old man living in a dreary English seasisde town - apologies, St Leonards-On-Sea - whose preoccupation in life is his impending death and preparing for the funeral.


The trouble is he's fallen out with pretty well everyone who might attend. He is completely estranged from one son Nick, who is a well-to-do solicitor embarrassed by his working class roots, and ex-wife Pearl.


Only Nick's brother, Dave, has remained loyal to the old man - but at a cost.


Not a lot happens as we (like the characters in the novel) are really waiting for Ken to die, but it's well-observed and amusing study of families and class, populated by characters that always stay the right side of caricature.


If I enjoy all the books I'm sent as much as this, I'd be very happy...