Annabelle Swift is "Dear Annabelle" to anyone who reads The London Weekly. For the past three years, six months, three weeks, and two days she's given advice to the worried, lovelorn, and lost in the same way she does everything in her life: with care, devotion, and with little bother to those around her. But for the past three years, six months, three weeks, and two days she's crushed on the owner and chief editor of the The London Weekly, Derek Knightly without him noticing or caring about her at all. In a moment of unexpected courage, the Annabelle who is tired of being overlooked and un-bothersome, asks her readers for help in catching the eye of a man who doesn't know she exists. And that's when Derek Knightly's world is turned upside down.
I was hesitant to read this book since the last two of Rodale's "Writing Girls" books didn't resonate with me, but from page one I was well and truly hooked. This is an ugly duckling-like story, but more like an ignored duckling trying to discover herself and therefore get noticed type story. And that's what really worked for me.
Watching Annabelle find the courage to change her life and shape it into the one she wanted was a pleasure. Derek Knightly is a great hero, and perfect for the Annabelle she's becoming, but they both know that the old Annabelle didn't have much to offer him. It's such a refreshing change to see an author show BOTH the hero and heroine change and grow.
Rodale's typical humor is awash in all the interactions between Annabelle and Derek which makes this book a lot of fun as well. Be warned that there is a lot of chests and bosoms being bared to excellent effect throughout the story. I adored all the chapter headings with the advice letters Annabelle was getting from her readers.
There's more plot going on with fear of the paper being shut down, and a Romeo and Juliet like side story, but all of it is well tied into the progress of Annabelle trying to catch the attention of "The Nodcock," aka Derek Knightly.
Bottom Line: A fresh, laugh out loud read, with real heart not to be missed.