Romy Fitzgerald was the quintessential good girl. She was a good student in school, built up her on successful business and always figured marriage and children were in her future, someday. Then one Halloween, she has a fling with a guy in a Darth Vader costume and winds up giving birth to baby Luke nine months later. Though his arrival in the world was unconventional, Romy loves her son more than anything. She just wishes she could tell him more about his father. Then her old boyfriend, Kit Masterson, arrives back in town just as Romy undertakes a quest to find her mysterious Darth Vader. Kit has his own secrets to hide, but he – and Romy – are about to find out that secrets don’t stay hidden for very long.
She had me at “Darth Vader.” Seriously.
Frisky Business is Irish author Clodagh Murphy’s third book and definitely my favorite so far. By combining my enduring love of Star Wars (and, really, everything is better with Star Wars) with a sweet, laugh-aloud funny and entertaining contemporary romance, Murphy all but ensured that I would enjoy this novel. I first discovered Clodagh Murphy on a trip to Ireland three years ago and, ever since, I’ve gone out of my way to get my hands on her books. Sadly, they’re still not available in the U.S., but I firmly believe they’re worth paying the extra shipping to buy them from Amazon UK. With Frisky Business, you can tell Murphy is growing as an author. Her dialogue is quicker and wittier, her characterizations are sharper and the plots are tighter, with less extraneous material. As an author, she’s reminiscent of Sophie Kinsella, but with her own flair.
One of the highlights of Frisky Business is the great supporting characters who steal the spotlight. From Lesley and her “incident nook,” May and her wildly awkward sex lectures, and the sweet but dim Tank, these secondary characters feel every bit as important as the main characters. I especially Danny and Ethan, for being exactly who they were and not hiding any part of themselves.
Of course, it’s also easy to enjoy this novel because Romy is such a wonderful heroine. I mean, she sleeps with Darth Vader, then names her son Luke. How can you not love her? I loved how complete she was. Yes, she wanted a relationship and yes, she wanted to find Luke’s father, but she wasn’t wallowing in her life. She wasn’t sitting back and waiting for things to happen. She had a happy life all on her own, before a man ever enters the picture. And even though she seemed a bit too naive at times (I, for one, thought Kit’s secret was abundantly obvious from the start), she never let herself be a doormat. Romy is a genuinely nice person and, because of that, you root for her happy ending because she deserves it.
There were some parts of the novel that stretched credibility at times. Romy’s romantic relationships moved fairly quickly, which seemed a bit out of character for someone usually so cautious (then again, she did have sex with Darth Vader in a closet, so…) and it took the entire length of the book for me to come to like Kit. Still, Murphy manages to explore some “big” ideas (such as the idea of identity and who you are – especially in comparison to your family, and how people deal with the aftermath when life doesn’t turn out the way they plan), but she does so with a lighthearted touch, so it’s approachable and enjoyable.
Sometimes I feel like a one-woman American evangelist for Clodagh Murphy, but that’s a label I am more than willing to take on. Even if you don’t live in the U.K. or Ireland, I still strongly suggest you find a way to track down Murphy’s novels. Heck, I’ll even let you borrow my copies (and I rarely let people borrow my books, for fear that I will never see them again). If you’ve liked Sophie Kinsella or Marian Keyes, if you enjoy fun, summertime beach books, and especially if you love seeing Star Wars woven into a contemporary romance, Frisky Business is the book for you.
[Photo Credit: Goodreads]