Lez Book Review: A Girl Called London by Clare Lydon
The ultimate comfort read: a lighthearted romcom with puppies.
Tanya Grant’s life is in upheaval. After moving from the courtroom to corporate law and buying an upscale flat in London, she loses her grandmother, who Tanya loves more than anyone else. It doesn’t help matters that Tanya keeps running into (sometimes literally) her gorgeous new neighbor, Sophie.
Sophie London is looking for a fresh start. After having her heart broken and losing her job in the same day, she’s taking a break from love and a chance on a new career as a dog walker. She may not care for her new neighbor’s attitude, but Sophie can’t seem to get Tanya’s eyes out of her mind. When the fate of Tanya’s grandmother’s dog, Delilah, comes into question, the two women are thrown together for a road trip that changes everything.
Tanya and Sophie each have their own excellent character arc. Tanya is quite the ice queen, keeping others at arm’s length, including her best friends at times. Losing her grandmother is an incredible blow, since she’s been the greatest source of strength, love and stability in Tanya’s life. Sophie, on the other hand, is bubbly and warm, but with a horrible romantic track record that’s left her understandably reluctant to open herself to love, especially given how her most recent relationship crashed and burned. Each of them brings something to the table, however, that allows the other to shift and grow, making that space in their lives and their hearts for each other.
A Girl Called London is the third book in Clare Lydon’s London Romance series, and it fully stands alone. Tanya and Sophie are truly the focus of this book as they go from their rocky beginning to their happily ever after, and characters from London Calling and This London Love join them as friends and acquaintances. I hadn’t read either of those books before picking up A Girl Called London and it didn’t matter at all. These side characters are the perfect supports, helping the two leads find themselves so that they can find happiness with each other.
Because it’s a romcom, A Girl Called London is a fun, mostly breezy read. I say mostly because even though it’s as funny and romantic as you’d expect from a romcom (and specifically from Clare Lydon), it deals with difficult issues like grief and how you sometimes need to find comfort in your family of choice when your family of birth can’t be trusted or depended on. These don’t bring the story down, however, and instead bring an authenticity that’s sometimes missing from romantic comedies. It’s still funny, sexy, and a delight to read, it’s just also grounded in a way that makes it feel like you’re reading about real people.
A Girl Called London is exactly the kind of book we need right now. The news cycle is a constant garbage fire no matter where you live, and it’s not an easy time to be queer and in tune with the world around us (not that it’s ever been). Books like this are a perfect solace, blocking out the world for a few hours and reminding us that happy endings are possible, wonderful and worth celebrating. If you’re looking for a little escapism, definitely consider A Girl Called London.
Publisher: Custard Books