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Hand Me Down by Michelle Holman

Michelle Holman is back with her unique Kiwi take on romance novels
Hand me Down by Michelle Holman

(HarperCollins, $24.99)

The names Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Jennifer Weiner are synonymous with bestselling chick lit the world over, but we have our own star of the genre right here in New Zealand.

After the success of her previous books, including Barefoot, Knotted and Bonkers, Cambridge writer Michelle Holman is back with her uniquely Kiwi take on romance novels.

For Hand Me Down, Michelle has eschewed the usual settings for these kinds of books – Italy, Greece, France – for Central Otago, albeit for a town called Pisa.

Smart, sassy and with a bad attitude to boot, April Ritchie is returning to her old stomping ground for the first time in nine years.

She departed Pisa on the night of her 17th birthday amid a storm of lies and deception, and her return to the small town is about as welcome as flies on a sheep’s bottom.

Tarted up in her “kiss-o-gram” uniform – read: short  and tight – platinum-haired April makes quite a re-entry into Pisa life, sticking out like a sore thumb in the close-knit country community.

Most displeased to see her is Tarn Elliot, the son of former workers on April’s family’s cherry orchard.

Tarn has a score to settle with her after she unfairly maligned his reputation all those years ago. He’s met his match in bad-girl-with-a-heart-of-gold April, but will she resist his strong-silent-type charm, tousled locks and ripped body?

Hand Me Down is a fun and funny romp from one of New Zealand’s most popular writers. While she does occasionally dip into cliché, Michelle’s sense of humour is on full display throughout. And, to satisfy the romantics out there, the chemistry between the protagonists in this opposites-attract love story sizzles right off the pages.

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