Fall Girl by Toni Jordan
Australian author Toni Jordan’s first novel Addition (which I reviewed here) was a quirky and witty romance, in which the main character Grace had a form of OCD which led to her counting everything and hero-worshiping Nikola Tesla. It was a super debut of intelligent chick-lit that made me laugh; it got a lot of attention too, being picked for the Richard & Judy bookclub back in 2008 in the UK. Now on to Fall Girl …
As always with second novels, the follow-up to a successful debut always has a lot to live up to. Fall Girl didn’t have the spark of genius in the counting that set Addition apart, but it does have strong lead characters that make it sizzle, and a lively plot full of little twists that made it a great pageturner.
Della is part of an amazing family of grifters – con-artists all. Now in her mid-twenties, she’s ready to start leading some cons, and she’s found a mark. Daniel Metcalf is a millionaire playboy with a charitable trust that funds scientific projects. They plan to play him for a good sum, with Della posing as an evolutionary biologist, searching for evidence of a species that is meant to have become extinct. It should have been easy, but the stakes get raised and the short-con becomes a long one – someone could be heading for a fall!
Anyone who’s seen any episodes of the BBC TV show Hustle will broadly know what to expect. Family members all have parts to play in the con to ensure everything appears totally hunky-dory. Everything is honed to give the expected result, but Della has never met anyone like Daniel before.
You couldn’t help but like Della and her family. They have you rooting for them right from the start – like the guys in Hustle, they only take from the rich and greedy – modern day Robin Hoods without the giving to the poor bit. In a book of this sort you’re also looking for some romance, and this has girl meets boy action with twists. Della and Daniel are a sparky pair of leads (ooh – do excuse that unintended pun), akin to Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant – their dialogue was great, and it was fun all the way. This book also managed to make me feel summery (if but briefly) in the depths of winter which is an added benefit. A light-hearted and definitely entertaining romance – I enjoyed it and believe Fall Girl should do well. (8/10)