Singleton on the prowl nets date with disaster
Try to look past the obvious chick-lit cliches, and you will find yourself rewarded with hilariously witty one-liners and a surprisingly sensitive storyline from the journalist and broadcaster Jane Moore.
Admittedly, the heroine, Jess Monroe, is a thirtysomething, London-living singleton, working in the media. She also spends more of her time glugging back gallons of wine, doing lunch and obsessing about men - always of the unavailable of unsuitable variety - but struggle past the Bridget Jones comparisons and you will be in for a treat.
The dating game is brought bang up-to-date in Dot.Homme. Lonely Hearts Clubs and classified ads are swept aside and replaced by the Internet - the latest, most proactive, way to bypass cupid and find love.
For her 34th birthday Jess received an unexpected gift from her "frenemy" Kara in the form of an advery on an Internet dating site. She immediately threatens to remove the ad but her friends and a bottle or two of Chardonnay coax her into sampling the delights of the cyber supermaket - the shelves are fully stocked with potential soulmates, she is assured.
Predictably, in her quest for the man of her dreams, Jess meets some nightmares. She also discovers that the "tall, dark and handsome" men advertising their wares on the Web are also the pathological liars. As for the "Ferrari driver" - he's more likely to be seen behind the wheel of a milk float.
The shameful, yet excruciatingly funny, dating disasters are enough to send most women running to the nearest convent but Jess's man troubles are soon put into perspective when her sister is diagnosed with breast cancer. Working as a producer on a shallow daytime TV programme, she deals with life's tragedies on a regular basis but that's little preparation for what Jess's family has in store.
Jane Moore writes with fresh zest about life as a single woman on the prowl for the perfect partner. Her words leap up at you with the energy and enthusiasm of an excitable puppy in this fast-paced romantic comedy. But, spanning more than 450 pages, be prepared you're in for a long, drawn-out ride.
This is much more than a poolside summer essential, despite all the singledom-dwelling vocabulary it is a life-affirming, feel-good read, with a fairy-tale ending and thought provoking morals. Dot.Homme may even inspire a few people to bite the bullet, log on and see what all the cyber-dating fuss is about. Michelle Byrne.