Alice Peterson must have been stunned when her sweet romantic novel about a group of dog walkers soared to the top of the Kindle charts in the UK this week. And she was probably even more flabbergasted to learn that her book, Monday to Friday Man, had knocked the third instalment of Fifty Shades of Grey into second place.
I was so intrigued by her feat (echoes of David and Goliath) that I immediately downloaded Monday to Friday Man to my Kindle. It’s available in book form, but the e-book is currently selling on Amazon for 20p.
Monday to Friday Man is Peterson’s third novel and tells the story of 30-something Gilly Brown, whose fiancé jilts her two weeks before their wedding. Devastated by his rejection and struggling to make ends meet, Gilly fleetingly considers moving to the wilds of Dorset, then hits on the idea of renting out her spare room during the week. It works a treat when the glamorous Jack Baker turns up on her doorstep.
Jack is a hotshot TV producer working on an X Factor-type show called Stargazer and most of Gilly’s friends think he’s a real catch. Except, that is, her dog Ruskin, who is deeply suspicious, and the enigmatic Guy, the newest member of Gilly’s dog-walking group.
Peterson, whose promising career as a tennis player was ended by rheumatoid arthritis at 18, was inspired to write her book by Darcy, her beloved terrier. She walks him in London’s leafy Ravenscourt Park with friends – many of whom are name-checked in her acknowledgements.
If you’re after a literary tome, then Monday to Friday Man isn’t the book for you. But as an antidote to the torrent of erotic novels being published in the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey, it’s an easy and at times touching read. Even though the romantic storyline is predictable, Gilly’s fractured family background and childhood loss are moving and convincingly told.
Monday to Friday Man has sold more than 500,000 copies since the novel was published on July 21 and looks set to sell many more. Peterson will be hard pressed to match EL James’s 40 million global sales, but all the same, she’s doing pretty well…