Book Review | The Barbershop Girl | Georgina Penney
Originally published in February 2014 in ebook form as Irrepressible You, The Barbershop Girl is the re-launch of Georgina Penney’s debut novel, and is Amy Blaine’s story.
Successful comedian and writer, Ben Martindale, has been living in Perth for a few years thanks to a scandal involving his ex-girlfriend that’s recently blown out of control.
His ties to the UK are strong and he still writes a weekly column that is published there once a week, so when he meets the beautiful and sassy Amy, he soon finds himself making her the object of his irreverent humour.
Amy has made a place for herself in her small town running a barbershop and a hairdressing salon. Not too long ago she got herself out of a relationship that didn’t end well but when she meets Ben, and although she is wary, she thinks she may just have found "the one"!
I really enjoyed Georgina Penney’s two previous novels, Fly In Fly Out (my review here) and Summer Harvest (my review here) so I was quite eager to pick up this latest by her. Needless to say I was equally chuffed to see that I’d been quoted in the forepages.
Georgina is a writer that knows how to appeal to her reader’s emotions but you can also always depend on her to give you a story penned with plenty of sharp humour and quick wit, resulting in a book that is difficult to put down.
All her female characters are well drawn - strong but flawed women who have survived some of life’s lowest blows - and, Amy is no different. She has a really big heart, is sincere and genuine but her scars run far deeper than the one on her face.
Both Amy and Ben are vulnerable, just in different ways. While she hides her true self behind her make-up and clothing, Ben hides behind his words but the problem is that he doesn’t take the time to consider that other people are affected by what he says and does, even if it is only done in jest!
Initially, he comes across as a bit of a chauvinist and, although it would be really easy to dislike him, I could see where this stemmed from and how he used his words as armour, and Georgina is to be commended for portraying him like this and still being able to make him into a sympathetic character.
As always, there are darker undertones to the story in the form of a troublesome ex-boyfriend as well as a traumatic childhood that Amy and Jo hold close to their chests but in true Georgina style, she warms it up with a sexy romance that flings those bedroom doors wide open.
Quirky, original and funny, The Barbershop Girl is classic Georgina Penney, so if you enjoy stories with well-developed characters and good plot development served with a healthy dose of “saucy”, then this one is sure to entertain and add value to your reading list.
I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a hard copy for review.
About the Author
Georgina Penney first discovered romance novels when she was eleven and has been a fan of the genre ever since. It took her another eighteen years to finally sit in front of a keyboard and get something down on the page but that's alright, she was busy doing other things until then.
Some of those things included living in a ridiculous number of towns and cities in Australia before relocating overseas to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam and currently, Scotland.
In between all these travels, Georgina managed to learn to paint, get herself a Communication and Cultural Studies degree, study Psychotherapy and learn all about Hypnotherapy. In the early days she even managed to get on the IT roller coaster during the early noughties boom, inexplicably ending the ride by becoming the registrar of a massage and naturopathy college. There was also a PhD in the mix there somewhere but moving to Saudi Arabia and rediscovering the bodice ripper fixed all that.
Today she lives with her wonderful husband, Tony in a cosy steading in the Scottish countryside.
When she's not swearing at her characters and trying to cram them into her plot, she can be found traipsing over fields, gazing at hairy coos and imagining buff medieval Scotsmen in kilts (who have access to shower facilities and deodorant) living behind every bramble hedge.
About the Book
You don't become a notorious British celebrity without rubbing a few people the wrong way, so writer and comedian Ben Martindale has decamped to Australia until the media frenzy surrounding his latest scandal dies down. When he meets Amy Blaine, a perky blonde barber who dresses like a 1950s pin-up girl, he knows he's hit the comedy jackpot.
He begins to fill his weekly London column with snarky observations about her house, style, troubled family members and dramatic employees. It doesn't occur to him that Amy, who is slowly letting her guard down for the first time in her adult life, might be just a little bit upset when she finds out ...
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Pub Date: January 2017