Settle Down Now by Leenna Naidoo — A Review

settle down nowSettle Down Now by Leenna Naidoo

RaeleighReads rating: 3 out of 5 coffee cups

“He kissed me then, just as the first grumble of thunder reached us. I hardly heard it. My heart was singing so beautifully, it was vying with the angels again.”

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I keep trying to like romance novels and chick lit, but apparently it just isn’t my cup o’ tea.

Here’s some of the good: Naidoo deftly handles the balance between South Africanisms and English — slang, dialect, and traditional English grammar; I found reading in the South African dialect to be thoroughly enjoyable; and the settings were always vividly invoked. I also really appreciated that her main character, Charmaine, remained true to herself throughout the novel. She was a sweet, opinionated, intelligent woman, and I’m glad she retained those qualities through some very trying circumstances.

Here’s some of the not so good: the book is equal parts comedy of errors and murder mystery wrapped in a ginormous bow of reality TV’s worst premise ever: people-are-only-happy-when-getting-married-so-let’s-have-a-competition-to-make-that-happen. Ick. So, I’m thinking, if you’re someone who really likes reality TV shows like The Bachelorette then this book has your name written all over it. I’m just not that person. More than that reality TV ick factor, though, was the fact that this book really didn’t want to pick a genre. Are you chick lit or are you a murder mystery? Why can’t you have both? Maybe you can, but I felt like I could chop this book in half, write a completely different ending for the first half, and write a completely different beginning for the second half, and those would have been good books. As it is, I got genre whiplash. Last thing, the romance between Rob and Charmaine is just not believable for me. I mean, one moment Rob is falling head over heels for her (after two solid weeks of dating), and the next (and during) he’s plotting her downfall? Whaaat? And that ending…really? I just didn’t get there. I’m not sold. I’m so not on team Rob here. He’s a narcissist with no regard for anyone’s well-being but his own throughout most of the book.

Settle Down Now is mostly well-written, has a relatively strong female lead, and keeps you guessing with a bit of danger and intrigue. If you like chick lit and are intrigued by the idea of chick lit incorporating a bit of, “Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the candlestick,” then perhaps this book is for you.

Other opinions you might be interested in:

This book surprised me – It is always delightful to take a chance on a book, and find that it is a hit. From page one, I was drawn into the plot – I had a tough time putting this book down.”– Melissa on Goodreads

I really wanted to get into this story, and sometimes I found that I was, but then almost immediately after I got swept up, the scene was broken up with time hops.“– Katie on Goodreads

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