Spring Reading Week Review: Peanuts & Eggcups by Sara Mendes da Costa

12 April 2017


For Maggie Parsons there’s only ever been one man: the stunningly delicious Luke Henderson. Unfortunately, he left her, without explanation, after their ‘first night’ together …breaking her heart in the process. 

Now ten years on, without any contact, he’s back and going to her school reunion. Great! And, to confuse matters…so is his suave, sexy, brother Tony who makes a major play for Maggie, then turns up with his insufferable - supposedly ex – fiancée! 

Via the reunion, a black eye, getting the sack (as a result) a madcap girlie holiday and juggling her confused emotions around the two alluring brothers…Maggie starts to build a picture of what she really wants in life. 

Trouble is, Maggie’s a pawn in a game she doesn’t even know she’s playing …and things are about to get a whole lot more complicated.

Review

I adored this book!

I'm not going to sugar coat it or build up to it...I loved it! It's 600+ pages long and it looks mighty intimating size wise but I polished this one off in just for days! 

I love it (my husband and kids probably don't though!) when a book takes over my life and leaves me gutted when it ends and this book did it! 

From the first chapter I was belly laughing at the author's witty comedy and Maggie's series of unfortunate events! I don't want to give anything away but the knickers down the tights had me screaming!

The main will they won't they, should they shouldn't they theme that runs through this novel doesn't wear you down or frustrate like so many others in this genre.  It is a constant theme but it doesn't feel too much because there's so many other sidelines to go down but it's a credit to the authors talent that you don't get lost along the way!

The characters are easy to relate to and charismatic and even though Maggie can be a bit dim about what's happening I loved her story! Just like I loved Cat's, Jenny's and Paulines to!

This book is one that I will be keeping on my bookshelf for quite sometime and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants a really good laugh

I was truly surprised that this is a debut novel and if you love the likes of Jill Mansell then you will love Sara Mendes Da Costa and I for one will be watching her with interest! 








Excerpt! 

My protagonist Maggie has been made redundant from a swanky-officed telemarketing company in Clapham. She’s about to have an interview for a temping position covering maternity leave in a research company, and has just arrived at the company’s office in Islington.

I rang the door buzzer and waited. From the names on the plaque on the door, it appeared there were four companies there.
Lo?’ A disembodied female voice rang out from the dirty white entry-phone
box.

Hi, I’m here about the research job. Maggie Parsons.

Right; just push the door. Were on the fourth floor, up the stairs in front of

you; sorry the lift’s bust. An accented voice of some sort buzzed me in.

Busted lifts seemed to follow me around.

By the time I’d got to the top of the stairs, I was completely out of breath and red in the face. I waited a moment to recover and then went tentatively into the office in front of me. The sign on the door said Welles & Mayer. It sounded more like a firm of solicitors than a research company.
Pushing the door open, it also appeared more like a firm of solicitors. Old furniture surrounded me. Old computer screens, desks and a beige carpet that had seen better days and was full of spills and marks. I saw a woman through a glass door in the next office, audio typing (audio typing. Did people still do that?). She was about sixty-five by my reckoning and didn’t look up when I came in.
Glancing left and right I spotted a sign saying Reception and headed for that. I was met by the girl I assumed was the one who’d answered the door to me. She greeted me from behind her desk.
Lo.’

Definitely her.

Hi, we spoke on the door.’ I smiled.
Yeah right. Take a seat, Mr Welles won’t be laarng.’ She sounded like she was from somewhere in the West Country which led me to thinking about Cornish pasties. My stomach rumbled unhelpfully. Damn this diet.
I thanked her and went and sat on a low brown sofa, which had also seen better days. Sinking down into it, I tried not to touch it. Again, I made a mental contrast to CapiTels offices. I had a feeling that ‘type of buildingand ‘location would be featuring reasonably highly in my long-term career criteria. If my mum could have seen me then, she’d have been straight on the train and whisked me back out again.
The girl behind the desk surveyed me for a bit, then turned away and started doing something on her computer. She couldn’t have been more than twenty-three. She had bleached white blond hair, really short and spiky, and a stud through her nose and thick black mascara with bright pink lipstick. When she went around to the photocopier, I observed her clothes. The top part might pass for being officey; short black skirt and open necked white shirt but, on the bottom, she wore purple and black striped tights and huge clompy black goth shoes.
She sat back down and we remained in silence apart from the tapping on her keyboard and the odd click of her mouse.
After a few moments she turned to me, chewing her gum noisily. She stared hard, making me feel uncomfortable.
You smoke?’ she aimed.

Um, no, sorry, I don’t.’

‘Figures.’

‘Sorry?

‘I said it figures. I’ve run out and no one in this office smokes. Theyre all too old and stuffy. I just thought you might, cos your nart.’ She gave me a friendly smirk which I returned, feeling pleased to have made a possible friend. One who didn’t appear like shed audio type. She probably didn’t even know what audio typing was.
Margot,’ she offered.

She didn’t look like a Margot in the slightest.

Maggie,’ I said.

Yair I know,’ she said chewing away merrily.

‘Sorry, course you do.’

‘I don’t look like a Margot do I?

Um?
‘It was my mum’s idea you see. She was really into that ballet stuff and
called me aafter some bird called Margot Fontaine, some famous ballet daancer.’

Did she make you go to ballet classes?’ I asked.

Yair, but I was really shite at them, so she gave up.’

I decided I rather liked Margot, nose stud and all. The phone sounded on her
desk
Lo?’ she answered.

Right, Mr Welles, I’ll send her in.’

‘Boss is ready to see you now.’

Thanks.’ I stood up. What’s he like?’ I asked tentatively.

‘Old and stuffy,’ she gave a laugh.

I pulled a face and headed for the door she pointed out to me.

She was right. Mr Welles was old and stuffy and my grandmother would have described him as being ‘a tad on the portly side’. Actually, it was more than a tad. He also had a most unfortunate comb-over and a really, really bad treble chin. No sign of a neck anywhere. But he had kind, smiley eyes and I warmed to him almost immediately.
His desk, like all the furniture, was brown and the top was covered with green embossed leather. He had a fountain pen resting in a penholder beside a blotter pad, and the phone on his desk could easily been shipped in from Eastern Europe, it was so dated. I was soon to find out that when he laughed, which he did a lot, his turkey chin wobbled about rather unattractively. But he was very charming and friendly, ‘old school’ I think you’d call him.
The interview went really well and, almost an hour later, I felt pretty chuffed with myself. He’d offered me the job on the spot. And Id accepted it. This meant that, starting from the following Monday, for the next three months at least, I had a bit of security back. And it paid better than my previous job so, while it wasn’t high tech, and while the furniture left a lot to be desired and the carpets were in need of a good scrub, I had a feeling it would be a pretty good temporary measure.
When I went out the main door again, Margot was there leaning against the red brick wall, dragging hard on a cigarette.
‘Scrounged one off the gaardener,’ she said.

I smiled.

Dya get it then?

Yes.’ I smiled.
Cool! Nice one; I reckoned you would. She looked really chuffed.
You have no idea how good that made me feel.




Author Spotlight! 
Sara Mendes da Costa: Author, Voiceover Artist, Golden Voice of the Speaking Clock…rubbish at finishing things!
I currently live and work in a cosy (rather disorganised!) townhouse with my lovely man and three very large, scrumptious cats: Bootsie, Muppet (aptly named!) and Mozart all of whom I adore.

I love working from home. Freedom is so important to me as I need my time to be my own; to wake up and think…what will I do today? It’s important to me to listen to my body and how I’m feeling so if I wake up and want to write – I can, if it’s a voiceover day, so be it; if it feels like an admin day (not very often I have to say!) I can do that too. I need variety and I have a habit of starting a number of things but not finishing them as I’m always moving onto the next thing. As a result my desk, my house, my mind -my life!- are filled with lots of unfinished projects. I did a Belbin test once – one of those officey type analysis tests where you’re put into categories and shown what you’re good at and not so good at. I’m an ideas person and I know how to gather the resources to bring those ideas to light…but I’m rubbish at finishing things! Hence, with all these half-started projects, I often have a messy house. I’m a Virgo – we’re meant to be neat and tidy! I guess perhaps I’m tidy’ish by nature (are you Sara?? Is that really true?? Hmmm) but the fact of the matter is that once a project takes my attention, chaos can ensue. They tell me that’s the sign of an artist so I’m currently trying to use that rather wonderful description to explain my mess to anyone who comes around. ‘Come in, come in darlings (swigs a martini); just ignore the mess darlings, I’m an artist don’t you know; an artist!’ (I’m working on the nuances)

Life is quite heavily centred around my work which I really enjoy, particularly my writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my free time too but with working from home it’s all just there (looming!) I therefore need to make sure I get out and about when I can otherwise I become a hermit so I always ensure I build in my escape times and nip out for lunches (OK...there’s probably not a lot of nipping if I’m honest…not after the first drinkie has slipped down!)

I’ve been doing voiceovers for many years now: adverts, films, documentaries, talking books…all sorts really. It’s great work and I get to work from a rather jazzy voiceover booth which I bought second-hand and did up myself; I even painted a rather fab Union Jack over the door. I just think it’s such a funky image. I decided voiceovers would be a great career to support me as a writer and the industry has been kind to me; I’m extremely grateful. I imagine landing the wonderful Speaking Clock gig helped as I was just getting into voiceovers at the time so the timing was perfect. I got the job after entering a competition through Children in Need in 2006. Once my name was read out live to the nation, life changed massively! My feet didn’t touch the ground for a while as I was thrust into the public eye in quite a big way. I’m actually quite an introvert but there was no time for that!
I do love to create – whether that be writing, voicing or just generally creating my space at home. I simply adore colour that makes my heart sing. The right colour, can touch my soul and make my mouth water. I love (particularly blue) coloured glass against a window so the light shines through it and I love a bit of sparkle. My walls contain a fair amount of vinyl wall art. There’s a huge black silhouette of a drum kit on one wall which I think is fab and I have a big red London phone box in my studio. Creating my space is one of my favourite things to do.

Oh, how I do love to write. It’s one of the main things I do that feeds my soul. Once I get into the zone, I can write for hours and lose track of time – a sure sign of something one is meant to do, I believe. It feels effortless and just sort of pours out. Not all of it stays on the page and it always needs rewriting (no author wants their first draft out there!)…but that’s the nature of the ‘beast’ I guess. If I get an idea, I have to write it down immediately or I forget it and then masses of ideas tend to come as a result and I’m off! Scribbling – usually illegibly - onto whatever I can lay my hands on, like the backs of envelopes or receipts. I text myself too…a lot! There’s likely a much better note making function on my phone, but old habits and all that. In the main, I write at night as the days can get busy – so when many people are sleeping, it’s likely I’m writing which is not conducive to a good night’s rest!

I so enjoy being outside in nature, travelling and camping …gardening too…actually, it’s the visions of creating my space with new plants and flowers I really enjoy - weeding is not top of my list! My eyes are bigger than my garden though and I probably shouldn’t be let loose in a garden centre – I want to buy everything. In fact, it’s the same in shops in general really –as soon as I see a gorgeous colour or something potentially amazing, I’m off like a mad’yin! My man has to talk me down as I clutch several things to my breast breathing hard saying ‘I have to have these…I just have to!! My life depends on it!’ God, after a glass of something…I’m lethal! I remember last year a woman in a boutique gave me the remains of a bottle of fizz she had left over from her open day, just as I was about to try one skirt on – ONE SKIRT! OMG…talk about credit card fever! Mad’yin Sara could be seen two hours later (yes two hours), arms laden with bags of clothes; heart hammering, slightly breathless and in need of a large top up to appease the guilt!

I’m incredibly impressionable. I didn’t realise this until my man ‘helpfully’ pointed it out to me recently. I think, at the time, I’d glanced at a field of flowers and announced something like: ‘Oh my god, we need to move to the country and have flowers like that…and look at that blue colour!!! I have to redecorate our lounge!’ Things like that happen frequently. All it takes is one whiff of an idea, and I’ve suddenly re-arranged my (our) life. My man just calmly goes along with it until the next idea comes along and squashes the first one…and then I go around in circles until I choose one – or not. Needless to say, since living in this house, each room has been decorated several times.
At the end of the day, Netflix is my saving grace. I need something to relax me and I adore good quality drama. I live in my head more than out in the ‘real’ world so getting involved in the lives of others onscreen is my idea of heaven J And of course…as a writer, I do so love to read a delicious novel.

Generally, though, give me a calm space, possibilities to create, sunshine, colour, a beautiful view and the company of someone close (and likely a large dram or cocktail – or two!) then I’m happy. Make me laugh and I’ll love you forever.


Disclosure:  The Pursuit Of Bookiness received a copy of the book in return for an honest review.  All opinions are our own

2 comments

  1. Wow! What a lovely, generous review. Thank you so much! You've seriously made my day! Love and thanks Sara XXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are more than welcome! It was an absolute pleasure! Thank you for letting me review it! Thanks and all the best Nat x

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