Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham

 Synopsis:  Holly's Inbox is a lengthy novel told in epistolary format, made up of emails between Holly and her workmates, friends, and family.  As the secretary of a company, who answers the switchboard and schedules meeting rooms, Holly is living the life of a single woman in London.  Have you ever wondered about what other people write in their personal emails?  Well, now is your chance!

Review:  As a fan of books such as Bridget Jones Diary, Meg Cabot's The Boy Next Door and Boy Meets Girl, I had already read a variety of books that use the email, or epistolary format in telling the story.  While I like the playful way that this style shows the development of a relationship, there does seem to be some advantage to the author jumping in from time to time to guide the story.  In the case of Holly's Inbox, all we get for the story comes directly from emails.  Over half of the novel (which although is made up of short emails, is still over 300 pages) is spent developing our idea of who Holly is, as well as the characters in her life such as her best friends who work at a hotel there in London, her parents who now live in Spain along with her grandmother, and her cohort at work who although sits next to her, spends her day emailing Holly and checking in.  This set up of the basic plot and characters is amusing, but left me wishing for the bulk of the story that I was sure was to come.

By the second half of the novel, a portion of the conflict has been revealed, and Holly is left to deal with what appears to be a messy social life, and a "friend" from her past who she refuses to speak to.  We soon find out that this friend played a major role in her life, but not until the last moments of the book.  It was during these last moments that I really got into the novel and wished I'd had more information.

I can't say that I disliked Holly's Inbox, as I had to keep reading to know what happened, but I did feel like I'd seen this technique before and like it when the author breaks out of the all email format to include some narration.  For chick lit, this novel was fun to read and had me entertained.  It's not hearty reading, but a fun time if you can hang in there and wait for the main action.
*FTC Disclosure:  Review is based on a personal copy of the novel.

  This completes my 6th and final book read in the E-Book Reader Challenge.


  1. This sounds really cute. Every time I see an email book, I wonder what's stopping me from writing one of my own.

  2. I've had this from the library forever and I can't seem to get around to it. It's so long which normally isn't a problem but still.

  3. I read this a while back and while I did like it, it wasn't a favorite. Part of my problem was that I saw a HUGE spoiler somewhere first, but I just didn't care that much about Holly. I do like the format though.

  4. I don't really like epistolary novels or chick-lit as a rule, so this really doesn't sound like my type of book.

  5. I haven't read this one but I am intrigued mainly because I heard that it's been written from a man.
    I love "Boy Meets Girl", it's a favorite of mine mainly because of Mitch , the cutest lawyer on paper

  6. I'm not a fan of chick-lit although I loved Bridget Jones. I'm not sure if I want to read another novel that uses a similar format though.

  7. I have this one coming to me in the mail - I thought it might be a good summer read. From your review it looks like I made a good decision! Something pretty light for the beach :)

  8. Buckeye Girl--That email style does seem obvious in a way, doesn't it? I've read some that are better than others, but they can be fun to read between the lines on your own.

    Andrea--It really is awfully long. I can't say it's the best of its kind that I've read, but by the lat 100 pages, I started to actually get more into it.

    Lisa--Oh, a spoiler would really ruin the whole build up! I also think there were better ones in this genre.

    Heidenkind--If you did like these, I'd point you to a couple of other books first.

    Emily--It is kind of cool how this book came to be, especially since it was originally published on the web, if I remember right? It is a cool concept.

    Iris--I loved Bridget Jones too, but I can't say that this is really in that same category. It's a fun read, but a little too long for me.

    Amused--It is a fun, light read. I have the 2nd book coming, and I'm hoping that now that I have the back story, that it will read much faster!

  9. I enjoyed this book and am reading the second one now. I think I liked it so much just because it's fun and airy. You don't have to think at all; you can just enjoy the ride.