A combination of overwork and jet lag propel Julia Fairfax into becoming engaged to a golf-playing wine buff called Oscar. When she realises that she has fonder feelings for his adorable Labrador than for Oscar himself, she is forced to confront the fact that there is something drastically wrong.
Ditching her fiance and jacking in her job, she decides to revolutionise her life. Her new career as a cook on a pair of hotel boats is certainly a departure, and teaches her more about life than how to get a couple of narrow boats through a lock.
But even afloat Julia's past catches up with her. Not only must she contend with the persistent Oscar (not to mention his frightful mother and her own mother's determined matchmaking), but also the arrival of her childhood enemy, the enigmatic Fergus Grindley.
Passed over (in favour of a man) in the house-agency department she's built, Julia storms out of her job, and engagement to boring Oscar, to become a cook on a pair of canal hotel-boats. But Oscar isn't giving up and when childhood enemy Fergus arrives on the scene Julia's in double-trouble and must hastily learn some new 'Life Skills'. As always, Fforde blows a fresh summer breeze through the old-fashioned Romantic Novel - in a setting made vivid by the author's personal experience. Great holiday read. (Kirkus UK)