Title: Loving Lizzie March
Author: Susannah Hardy
Genre: Fiction & Romance
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Published: June 2021
Reading Loving Lizzie March by Susannah Hardy is like sitting down for a glass of wine and a chat with a good friend; it’s comfortable, funny, and often insightful. The novel follows Lizzie, a failed fashion designer and over-enthusiastic romantic, on her search for Mr. Right – which includes mild stalking, injuries, and a decent amount of embarrassment.
As it’s written from Lizzie’s perspective, you’re taken along for the ride with her as she makes multiple questionable life choices, like attempting to win bad boy Jake’s heart before she tells him she’s pregnant (with his baby). Although her actions are completely misguided and you’ll be shaking your head along with her sensible best friend Clem, her commentary is hilarious and makes her surprisingly likeable.
Lizzie’s unanticipated pregnancy creates another layer to what could have been a clichéd romance, as she’s suddenly faced with serious circumstances that lead to significant character growth. Even though most of the book is written humorously, Lizzie isn’t being mocked. Hardy has a progressive perspective where she casts no judgement on Lizzie’s pregnancy or romantic activities, although it’s made obvious that her motivations for finding a man aren’t very healthy.
The novel covers so much more than just romance, as the real story is about Lizzie’s journey as a person. It’s light-hearted and silly, yet delicately explores serious themes, and gives her an impressive character arc. Lizzie begins as a woman desperate for love, who lacks the confidence to pursue her dreams, and this makes her incredibly relatable – we’ve all made bad romantic decisions or had career troubles. This ensures that you end up cheering her on as she experiences revelations about life and discovers her own worth.
Loving Lizzie March doesn’t delve too much into its ‘message’ though. It’s an indulgent, cosy book that wants to make you feel happy and satisfied even when you pause part way through. Hardy has included plenty of delicious fashion details, like Lizzie’s gorgeous green satin stilettos, as well as scenes drinking wine in trendy bars, and an inner dialogue during social situations that anyone can relate to.
Lizzie’s story is definitely a romantic comedy, but an original, unpredictable version with unexpected emotional depth. It’s a modern take on the usual formula, that takes the warm, fuzzy feelings we all know and love and removes the old-fashioned, self-esteem crushing beliefs about what women need to be happy. This book is about the importance of self-love and empowerment, but it doesn’t expect you to be ‘perfect’ in the end either. Loving Lizzie March is sure to make you feel validated and understood, while also giving you a giggle and some slightly unrealistic romantic scenes to daydream about…