The best friend’s ex.
First Published: 3rd May 2012
Date Reviewed: 3rd June 2013
Elizabeth realised she and Martin weren’t a good fit, and cancelled their upcoming wedding. Best friend Violet should be happy, after all she loathes the boring man, but she can’t get him out of her thoughts. And if something happens between them, how will she tell Elizabeth?
Her Best Worst Mistake is technically a sequel to Mayberry’s Hot Blazing Nights (published by Harlequin), but can be read as a stand-alone. A short book, there is relatively little action (pun not intended) and it is an easy read.
However. The book contains a multitude of problems. The most obvious one is that this ‘British’ setting and the ‘British’ characters are actually American. In other words it appears that the (Australian) author has done no research. Yes, ‘elevator’ is matched by ‘lift’ many times, as is ‘cell’ and the neutral ‘phone’, but the simple usage of American terms (including ‘high school’ in dialogue when Brits go to ‘secondary school’ and ‘sixth form’ or ‘college’) does the writing a great disservice. A British reader or anyone who knows British terms will likely feel distanced. There are times when it is okay, for example ‘apartment’ instead of ‘flat’, as the former has worked its way into British language, but the lack of care is far too obvious. This is unfortunately matched by numerous spelling and typing errors proofreading should have picked up.
Aside from this, the book is okay. It is incredibly steamy – that’s the only way to describe it, as ‘hot’ doesn’t inspire the same idea – and there are many sex scenes. The novella is practically erotic romance, and the development of the relationship happens mostly lying down. Mayberry writes good sex scenes that generally lack those words and situations that some readers might find uncomfortable (though a special mention should be made for the scene involving fruit). Whether the relationship works or not will depend on the reader – whether they’re okay with people taking on the ex-partners of friends, whether they like the characters, whether they are okay with a girl saying she’s been tested for STDs without anyone mentioning the man (six year relationship or not), and so on.
Being a novella, there’s not much time for the resolution to take place, and the reader may feel cheated by Elizabeth’s response if they were hoping for a long scene (no matter if they wish for Elizabeth to be angry or unmoved). The vast majority of the book takes place in settings where sex is known to occur. That said, there are mini storylines regarding Violet’s feelings of inferiority, as well as the tensions faced by Martin, who works for Elizabeth’s grandfather, that aren’t bad. The characters are likeable enough, though as much of the plot revolves around the bedroom and Violet’s worries about Elizabeth, there is not all that much to get to know about them beyond the basics. This means some of the characters’ interests and dislikes may be confusing.
Her Best Worst Mistake is a very apt title as it will sate the opinions of those who like it and those who do not. Recommended with caution as to high expectations, it is a fair offering but unfortunately also an example of how important research is even when you’re writing about a widely-known theme (romance) and the present day.