Elinor Lipman (Lightning Books)
The chocolatier protagonist of Good Riddance cannot really be described as an everywoman. However, like a good Austen novel, with whom Lipman has been compared by critics, there will be hair-tearing moments where it seems the character is deliberately defying you. Even though the novel centres around Daphne, a struggling chocolate-maker in New York who finds herself in a custody battle with her neighbour over her mother’s annotated high school yearbook, the relaxed, tongue-in-cheek way in which it is told is inherently relatable, even if at times requiring a suspension of belief.
With Austenite themes of inheritance, strong but fallible characters, a traditional conflict-resolution structure and a satisfying denouement, Lipman has all the modern understanding of human interaction, dialogue and motivation, and a refreshing grasp of the screwball comedy’s need to be enjoyable without being 100% believable. MEGAN THOMAS
Price: £8.99. Info: www.eye-books.com