Book Review: Second-Hand Jane, by Michelle Vernal

second hand

Author: Michelle Vernal

Pages: 302

Publication date: February 24th 2014

Publisher: Michelle Vernal Publishing Limited

Genre: Romance, Chick Lit. Adult-Fiction

I like the cover; it’s really pretty.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to send a big thank you to NetGalley for this book, and also to everyone at Michelle Vernal Publishing, as well as Michelle Vernal herself.]

🍁 Synopsis 🍁

When footloose and fancy-free Jessica, a thirty-something writer, decides to follow her journalistic instincts and trace the story of a young girl for her weekly column in a Dublin newspaper, she unwittingly embarks on a journey into Northern Ireland’s tragic past.
With her love of all things vintage, Jessica Jane Baré is known as Second-hand Jane to her friends. Hailing from New Zealand, these days she’s finding the grass is greener in Dublin and not just because of all the rain. In fact, life would be sweet if it weren’t for the reason she left home in the first place–her meddling mother. Marian views Jess’s life in Dublin as nothing more than a stop-gap until she meets Mr Right and he’s taking his time. Things look set to change, however, when Jess meets the delectable Nick, who ticks all of Marian’s boxes.
In the meantime, Jess’s latest second-hand collectible–a children’s book—gives her an idea for her column. Deciding to track down the girl whose name is scribbled inside the cover of that book, she uncovers more than she ever expected. “Amy was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the girl’s taciturn brother, Owen, informs her. Intrigued, Jess travels to the family pig farm in County Down and listens to Amy’s poignant tale unfold through Owen. With a little help from a rather cute runt of the litter she names Wilbur, Jess is about to help put the past to rest and learn that appearances can be deceptive.
Then Marian announces she is coming to Dublin to sort her daughter’s increasingly tangled love life out and Jess’s chance of a happy ending like those in the story books she collects looks about as likely as Wilbur flying.

Goodreads | Amazon

🍁 Review 🍁

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. At first I though it is your average romance/chick lit novel. It is a little bit predictable at times, but that does not ruin the book.

The story is told from Jessica’s point of view, and it is a third person narrative.

The chapters are a little bit longer than I expected, and it took me a while to get into the story. I’ll be honest: after I’ve read the first two chapters, I though this novel is boring. I decided to finish reading it, so I can review it properly; I’m glad I didn’t give up. After the first chapters, the story starts to kick in, and it gets interesting.

Even though she is a romantic, and a sucker for love, Jess is not very successful when it comes to men. She seems to be the type of women that go after the “bad guys”, and try to fix them. Jess confuses troubled men with baby birds: an injured baby duck she can nurture back to health, and help it grow. Yea, no.

Jessica is not the typical beauty, or the type of women (character) that dresses down due to insecurities, but deep down she secretly wants to be like every other pretty girl. Jessica is her own person. She shops at thrift stores, has a funny style, loves antiques, likes to read children’s books, and she could care less what others say about her “weirdness” .

Her best friends, Nora and Brianna are lovely friends, despite the fact that they’re different. Nora likes to be fashionable, while Brianna is a wife and a mum. Brianna is gentle, and subtle, while Nora is blunt and honest. Nevertheless, Jess, Nora and Brianna make quite a nice trio.

Jessica is a Kiwi girl living in Ireland. Her family lives back home, in New Zealand, while she lives by herself in Dublin. I’ve never read a romance novel about a Kiwi girl, or a love story set in Ireland. It was nice change.

There is the main plot: Jessica finding a good man (finally). However, there is also an important sub-plot.

|-> It starts with a children’s book. Jessica wants to find the girl, Amy, that used to own the book. She wants to hear her story, and how that 6 year old girl changed as she grew up. This leads Jessica to Northern Ireland, where the little girl’s brother, Owen, lives. Jessica finds Owen to be handsome, but distant. She also finds out what happened to Amy, which becomes the sub-plot of this book (Northern Ireland problems, and the casualties).

We are also introduce to a little piglet, who steals Jess’ heart. 🐷 🐽 🐖

The romance between Jessica and Owen grows as the story unfolds. It is not instant, neither childish. What they have is a normal, adult relationship, with adult conversations. I liked this a lot. I’m a little bit tired of childish romance.

Overall, a nice romance novel.

Second-Hand Jane is a perfect read for romance lovers. It is also suitable for those who want to read something light, and relaxing.

🍁 My Rating 🍁

I give this book a rating of 4.5.


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