Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham (a.k.a. Bill Surie)

Subject: A first-class customer service

From: Holly
To: HEM Machines

To the manager:

Call me optimistic, but I was hoping after your past three failed attempts to remove my faulty washing machine, this time you would send me the correct amount of men, on the right day of the week, and that they might successfully extract my machine from my kitchen.

Two men arrived, on the right day, but apparently without a trolley, which my particular job 'required.'

OK, if you don't want to find your washing machine sitting outside our flat in the street, then I suggest you send the right amount of removal 'specialists' with the correct tools on the perfect day of the week. Oh, and please remind them to come in a van, because I'm guessing they'll need a van to get it home, and a map, a compass, a full tank of petrol, and maybe a flask of coffee to keep them going. Oh, and my name is Holly Denham, although undoubtedly you'll have me down as Dinham.

x Holly

(excerpt from Holly's Inbox)

When I received Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham (a.k.a. Bill Surie), I was surprised that it was more than 650 pages. I thought I'd take a peek and after reading a few of the emails, I was hooked. It took me only two days to finish the book.

Holly's Inbox tells the story of Holly Denham beginning with her first day on the job as a receptionist in a corporate bank in London. You can tell right away that Holly isn't an expert receptionist, but she's an expert at email. With all the messages sent between Holly, her best friends Jason and Aisha, the bank's other receptionist Trisha, her family, and various people in the office, you begin to wonder whether she does any actual work. I don't want to say too much about the characters because part of the fun of Holly's Inbox is getting to know them through their emails, but you're in for a treat with Holly's new-to-the-Internet granny and her brother, Charlie, who fumbles his way through the construction of a new fetish night club. Tensions arise when Holly begins dating a bank executive, and her boyfriend from her school days begins working for the company.

Holly's Inbox is a different type of chick lit, not only because it is written by a man but also because the narrative is a series of emails. The characters are better developed than you'd expect from a book comprised of emails, and Surie does a great job unfolding Holly's story and the stories of the secondary characters. Much of the book takes place inside Holly's inbox, but readers get to read a handful of messages in Trisha's inbox and Toby's (Holly's old boyfriend) inbox as well. Most of the emails are humorous and sarcastic, but the book has its more serious moments, too. While reading Holly's Inbox, part of me felt like I was spying on someone, and another part of me felt like I was communicating with old friends. When I heard the book was all emails, I wasn't sure it could be pulled off, but Surie succeeded. The ending left me wanting to know more about what happened to Holly, and they'll be a part two at some point. (Surie told me by email that a U.S. release date for the second book has not been set.)

I highly recommend Holly's Inbox for chick lit lovers and others looking for a unique, quick, and light read. Check out Holly's Inbox for excerpts from the book, and stop by Diary of an Eccentric tomorrow for a guest post by Bill Surie.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Holly's Inbox from the author and Sourcebooks for review purposes.

32 comments:

Serena said...

I can't wait to delve into this book. Sounds like a nice, fast-paced summer read. Bill has a unique style.

lilly said...

I really need to read this one! I have actually gone on the Holly's website and her emails are hilarious so I'm sure that the whole book is as well.
P.S.
Thank you for your kind words, they meant a lot to me and I am very grateful for your kind-heartedness.

Blodeuedd said...

This sure sounds like the book for me :)
I have to keep my eyes out for this one. I have fallen into my chick-lit phase again cos i do love it

LisaMM said...

This sounds so cute and funny. I think I'd love the style, with the emails.

Holly Denham said...

Anna
THANK YOU SO MUCH For having me on your site and reviewing my book. I am so pleased you liked it - was feeling a bit low today - so loved reading your review!
xx
Any other questions - I'll be dropping by regularly etc.
Thanks again for having me on your wonderful site.
Holly/Bill

Sandy Nawrot said...

I love the fact that a man wrote under the guise of Holly...obviously this is one guy that "gets" the mind of a woman. Wow. I think I had read in an interview somewhere that this book was inspired by a real woman who was canned from her job, and her volumes of e-mails and crazy personal life were thus revealed. Can't wait to hear from the author!

Caryn Caldwell said...

I love books written in email/letter format! Some of Meg Cabot's chick lits are, and they are so much fun. I'll have to give this a try, too. Thanks for the recommendation!

bermudaonion said...

I was a little overwhelmed when I saw how thick this book is too. Glad to see it's a quick read!

Dar said...

Glad you liked it Anna. I'll come back and read your review once I've read it. I'm going to start it this weekend.

ANovelMenagerie said...

I read and reviewed this one as well. I really liked it. I can't wait for Number Two!

Sheri

Bookfool said...

Isn't Holly's Inbox loads of fun?

Sheila DeChantal said...

Good morning Anna! :)

Stop back at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books today. You were the winner of package #2 for the Blogoversary celebration! I will need you to email me your address so we can get your goodies shipped off to you! :)

Congratulations!!!

journey through books @ gmail (dot) com

Holly Denham said...

Thanks Sandy - yes that's true
Also funny thought, does anyone want to guess who that is with their back to the camera on my comments avatar thing
(as you know it's not me)
Bill/Holly

Marie said...

sounds super fun! :-)

Toni said...

As I said before.. I can't wait to read it.. I want to sit down and get into Holly's Inbox.. Literally!

Care said...

OH, this definitely looks fun! I even have a friend whose job it is to monitor emails at a bank - really, I think that is her sole job! She'd get a kick out this!

Staci said...

I'm always looking for fun and unique books and this sounds like one of them!

Devilish Southern Belle said...

Just here via West of Mars....your site is delightful, and I can't wait to come by more often :)

I'm also now intrigued by this book....

writemeg said...

Oy, I've got to pick this one up soon! :) I've been hooked on the website since it was reposted a few months back. It is surprising how well you feel like you know folks just through their emails... and I've thought more than once about what I'm sending in my emails since then, too :) Good review!

Book Escape said...

This sounds like a fun book. I have to admit I wonder about a book of emails. I tried to read a book once that was all blog entries and it just didn't work. But, this sounds like lots of fun!

Julie P. said...

I can't wait to read this. Sounds like I should take it to the pool with me and just enjoy!

Mari said...

What an interesting sounding book. I may have to add this one to my list.

Iliana said...

It's great to see you back! Isn't it funny how you always need a vacation after a vacation! ha... Looking forward to the pics Anna.

Iliana said...

Oops, posted my welcome back comment in the wrong section! But, thank you for the review of this book. It sounds fun. I haven't read a good chick lit novel in a while so I'll have to keep this one in mind!

ibeeeg said...

This sounds like a fun book! I am going to put this on my TBR list.

Literary Feline said...

I am really looking forward to reading this one. Chick-lit and I don't always go well together, but Holly's Inbox sounded too fun to pass up. Thanks for the great review, Anna!

Holly Denham said...

Hi
Just wanted to thank everyone for all those fab comments.
Ps that's a picture of my wife's back on my avatar.
Not me.

Anna said...

Thanks everyone! It was a very fun book, and I hope you all read it and love it as much as I did!

Holly/Bill: Thanks for stopping by!

Lilly: You're very welcome!

Sheila: Thanks so much!

Iliana: No worries! I'm still in need of that vacation from the vacation. I go away again next week, but this time I don't have a day off from work after we return to recover. :(

Dar said...

I loved that washing machine fiasco too Anna. It was so funny. I went back and linked your review. I am so bad at remembering to do that.

Anna said...

Dar: Thanks! And no worries; I'm bad about that, too.

coffeelvnmom said...

Loved this book! Got me wanting to do the same thing - it's a great idea! I actually found this blog googling Holly's Inbox to share on another website - totally following you now! :)

Anna said...

~coffeelvnmom: Thank you so much!