Birdy Finch is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a millennial rom-com heroine. She has an arsehole kind-of boyfriend, no real direction in life, and a suitcase full of clothes selected for purchase because they don’t need ironing.
She sees the opportunity to escape for the summer, impersonating her best friend Heather as a sommelier at a remote Scottish hotel, and she takes it.
That’s the premise of The Summer Job, the first adult novel from YA writer Lizzy Dent, kindly sent to me for review by the wonderful team at Penguin Random House. Bridget Jones’ Diary meets Bridesmaids in this fresh, contemporary take on the secret identity trope.
Birdy arrives expecting a hole in the wall where she could bluff her way through dinner service. Instead, she finds the kitchen of a Michelin-starred chef and a twenty-page wine list.
Her panic is very relatable: we’ve all found ourselves overwhelmed and underprepared for a new job, haven’t we?
Of course, there’s a love interest, the dreamy sous-chef James, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of the story, which is a relief. Really, Birdy’s relationship with Heather is the defining element of this novel, and her desire to get more out of life.
The Summer Job is an enjoyable escapist read with enough guts to earn your respect.