Holly’s Inbox – Holly Denham

July 20, 2009 Reading Nook, Review 30

Holly's InboxTitle: Holly’s Inbox
Author: Holly Denham (Bill Surie)
Published: 2007 Pages: 665
Genre: Fiction/Chick-Lit
Rating: 3.5/5

If you’ve been hanging around here long enough, you’ve probably noticed the absence of chick-lit from my reading lists. No, I’m not a book snob and I don’t have anything against chick-lit, it just doesn’t happen to fall into my hands while browsing for books at the store. I maintain that makes me selective, not snobby. Why am I defending myself?? Anyway, I first saw this book over at Bookfool’s and thought the idea of it was cute. A book entirely of emails? Sometimes that exactly what the doctor ordered. I was delighted when the author contacted me to read this book. I gave my standard “fair and honest review” response, which is what I’m fully prepared to give.

Holly’s Inbox is a rather chunky novel of emails. Think Bridget Jones minus the diary and with a lot more dialogue. And you know how much I love Bridget. The story? Holly has just started a new job as a receptionist at a busy London bank. Her fellow receptionist, Trisha, kindly takes her under her wing and teaches her the dos and don’ts of the company while also giving her the daily gossip about the other employees. Other emails include those from her family, including her crazy wine-loving Granny and nightclub owner brother Charlie, and her friends Jason and Aisha who work together at Holly’s previous job.

All in all, Holly’s Inbox was a lot of fun to read. I wasn’t planning on reading this one until August, but Catch-22 proved to be a little too arduous in the evenings, so I picked this one up to read in bed. And let me tell you, it kept me reading for hours at a time–way past my bedtime! I kept thinking, just one more day, just one more week, just one more month! The story spans over five months and what to expect? Romance/lust, betrayal, secrets and lies, refound love, family bonding, heartache, and definitely above all a lot of laughs. Holly is much more competent than Bridget, but she still finds herself in a few uncomfortable snafus–especially when she sends her emails to the wrong recipient! And of course there is also the misunderstanding that can come from the written word rather than the spoken word. Tone is often misconstrued and it causes a lot of trouble for the characters.

I would recommend Holly’s Inbox–especially as a light weekend read or a vacation read. Definitely perfect for the summer. It is highly entertaining and I was surprised at how much depth and characterization could come from simple conversations between the characters. I felt like I really got to know the characters of Holly’s Inbox and cheered them on or cringed at their mistakes. A small complaint–I felt like some of the storylines were a little underdeveloped, even for an almost 700 page book. And then there were some stories that seemed to come out of left field and never really went anywhere after the shock wore off. But really? Not a book to dissect–just a book to have a lot of fun with. Note of warning–a bit of foul language and sex talk. Since the book is all email, though, it’s just talk.

Do you email while you’re at work? Have you ever gotten in trouble for an email that was sent or know someone who had a horror story?

Other thoughts on Holly’s Inbox (let me know if I missed yours):
Bookfoolery and Babble
Melissa’s Bookshelf
Diary of an Eccentric (Anna)
A Novel Menagerie (Sheri)
Peeking Between the Pages (Dar)

Visit Holly’s Inbox for a taste of the emails

30 Responses to “Holly’s Inbox – Holly Denham”

  1. Kim L

    That sounds like a cute book! I really did enjoy the first Bridget Jones, so this one sounds like a good choice for the beach.

  2. Lisa

    I won a copy of this right before vacation and was surprised at the size of it. I have been using it for my bathroom reading (don’t laugh, wait til you have kids and have to hide in the bathroom!) and am about 200 pages in. I am enjoying it, but am a bit bothered by one aspect- is it supposed to be real? The author has the same name as the main “character.” I’m reading it as fiction, but it still bugs me.

  3. ANovelMenagerie

    Thanks for the linky to my review! I really enjoy these types of chick-lit books. Honestly, I need them in between all these serious, heavy books that we review.

    Sher

  4. Nymeth

    This is also unlike my normal reads, but it actually sounds like one I’d enjoy! I’ve never sent an e-mail to the wrong recipient, but doing so is one of my reoccurring “daynightmares”. Same with text messages. I check repeatedly to see if I sent them to the right person, and horribly scenarios of what would happened if the “wrong” person saw them keep going through my mind. Weren’t we talking about being neurotic the other day? Yeah :P

  5. Thoughts of Joy

    Two things draw me to this one – the epistolary form and the silly fun it contains. I’m not a big chick-lit reader, but sometimes I need and enjoy entertaining light reads. AND, I haven’t had any panic attacks or fainting spells at the size of Holly’s Inbox either! These are all good signs for me. :)

    Thanks for the “fair and honest review”. I appreciate it.

    E-mailing while at work – well, we were told we could not use the computer for ANY personal use. It was ONLY for educational purposes for the classroom. Also, the threat was there that they would access our e-mail. My friend still e-mailed me, but used code names. It cracked me up every time because they were all too obvious.

    Personally, I have had people misconstrue my tone in e-mails. I suppose on those occasions I haven’t conveyed myself very clearly, so it was my fault, but geez that frustrates me when that happens.

  6. Debi

    Okay, Trish, what am I going to do with you? To be perfectly honest, I don’t think this book ever would have caught my eye. I certainly have nothing against chick-lit. But I don’t generally read it. But now, you little book-pusher you…you’ve made me want to read this! It does sound just plain fun. Okay, the almost 700 pages may have me a bit scared…I’ve got three major non-fic chunksters going at the moment and well, that may be all the length this poor little brain of mine can handle at one time.

  7. Vivienne

    Not really a great fan of chick lit either. Maybe it is because there are usually no vamps, ghosts, witches or basically scary bits in it. However, may need to read this one, as all the reviews have been fabulous.

  8. Nicole (Linus's Blanket)

    Wow, 665 pages, that;s so long for chick-lit. But i have been hearing good things about this book. Gad you enjoyed it.

    I have sent e-mail to the wrong person, but thankfully not at work. I sent an e-mail meant for a friend about a guy I was dating to the guy I was dating. OMG! That was bad enough. Never made that mistake again.

  9. Trish

    *Kim L – I can’t say I love Holly as much as Bridget but the book was a lot of fun.

    *Amanda – Luckily I haven’t gotten into too much trouble with email, but I always double check the recipient!

    *Melody – It was a lot of fun to read—it’s been a long time since I felt compelled to read “just one more page” at night.

    *Lisa – I’ve already emailed you, but for everyone else’s benefit the author is actual Bill Surie. Holly Denham is just a pen-name. I was confused, too!

    *Sheila DeChantel – Yup, this one is lots of fun and very easy to read—it’s amazing how fast those 600+ pages go!

    *Sheri – This book was perfect for me to fit in between heavier reads—and a good laugh is always great. :)

    *Nymeth – I have nightmares about sending the wrong email to the wrong person as well. Luckily it has never happened, but I always have to check and double check the person’s name. Especially as there are a few duplicated names around the office.

    *Bermuda – Oooh, enjoy your trip to the beach! I’m very jealous. This one will be perfect for the trip—you’ll be surprised how quickly it goes.

    *Joy – I haven’t read many epistolary novels but after reading this one I’m curious for more. Even though this one is really long, it doesn’t take too much time to read. I read it *very* easily in a week…and only at bedtime. I find my tone is often misconstrued as well—usually when I’m being playful or sarcastic. I think that’s why I use so many emoticons!

    *Debi – This book is a lot of fun. I can’t say whether or not it will be your cup of tea, but I wouldn’t have really thought it was mine either. Sometimes we all just need a little gossip and laughs. Don’t be scared about the page numbers. Most emails are only a line long so it makes for very quick reading.

    *Scrap girl – We all have our guilty pleasures. :) I’m not big on vamps, ghost, and witches either but sometimes those books are fun to read as well. This is a very harmless read—and you’d get a pretty good idea quickly if you’ll like it or not.

    *Nicole – The book seems long but as I’ve mentioned to some of the others above, the emails are usually just one-liners, so it is quick quick reading. What a snafu with the email to the guy you were dating. Hopefully you said good things, right? :P

    *Anna – With the name recognition or autofill in Microsoft Outlook, I think it’s easier to accidentally send an email to the wrong person. I haven’t had this happen but I can see how it could! This was a definitely a fun book—glad to see so many like it!

  10. Darlene

    LOL Trish, what are the odds that we`d post about the same book on the same day. Too funny. I loved this book.

  11. Terri B.

    Hmmmm … I don’t tend to read much chick-lit either. Like you, I have nothing against it, but just don’t gravitate towards it. That said, I just finished “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” and had a ton of fun :o)

  12. Suko

    Be careful what you put in writing– unless you’re putting together a fictional book; then you want to be as interesting as possible, perhaps even a bit scandalous!

    Holly’s Inbox sounds like a good book to escape with at night. Better than reading your own email! Thanks for your terrific review!

  13. Veens

    God! wow! I have seen Bridget Jone’s Dairy and LOVED it too!
    I have read such great reviews of this one… I really really need this :)
    just as a summery light read :)

  14. wisteria

    Hey Trish, Normally not a book I would pick up, but it does sound fun. We are allowed to iChat at work internally. That can be fun.
    However, the system is monitored, so it is tame.

    I fortunately have never made that dreadful error of sending email to the wrong person. Check, double check triple check. LOL

  15. Trish

    *Care – Definitely a book that was a lot of fun to read!

    *Dar – I had no idea you were reading this until the other day. I actually wasn’t supposed to read this one until August but I could resist.

    *Terri – I LOVE Bridget Jones. This book reminded me a little bit of Fielding’s books, but not quite as silly. Holly isn’t quite as ditzy as Bridget. :)

    *Samantha – I hope you can get to it soon—this is the perfect summer read.

    *Suko – Scandals abound in Holly’s Inbox—and yes, gossip is always juicier when it isn’t your own. Definitely a fun book.

    *Melissa – I hope we don’t have to wait too long until the next adventures are out. Do you know when it will be released or if it’s completed yet?

    *Veens – This is the perfect summer read! And if you haven’t read Bridget Jones, you HAVE TO!! That’s an order. :)

    *Wisteria – Oh man…not sure I would get any work done if we could use chat! All of that has been disabled at our job. But yes, definitely check and double check those “To:” lines!

  16. infiniteshelf

    That sounds like such a fun read!
    I usually read always the same authors when it comes to chicklit (Jennifer Weiner, Sophie Kinsella), because it’s a genre where I’m really bad at picking the right book. This one seems light and and I love the email idea; I’mm adding it to my TBR list! :)

  17. Holly Denham

    Hi Trish
    Thanks you so much for my Review!! – and reading all the comments which have been so great. I think I know which storyline you were meaning about… and if I’m right then it ties up in the next book….
    Trish – I was so scared when I read the review because I was thinking… here it comes… she’s going to be honest, this sounds worrying… but THANK YOU
    Glad it made you laugh, that’s like such a lift to here. cheers.
    Bill

  18. Bookfool

    Thanks for the link love, Trish. I was stunned at the depth of characterization one got out of emails, too. Really, I think that goes to show that it’s fluffy but well written.

    I don’t have any email horror stories, actually. But, that could be because I don’t have a job!

  19. Bonnie

    I’m not a huge fan of chick lit but this one sounds like a fun read. I do need a light read in between the heavier books and have read good reviews of this book so far. I appreciate your fair and honest review policy!

  20. Trish

    *infiniteshelf – it’s hard for me to pick the right chick-lit book as well. I like Weiner, but I haven’t tried Kinsella yet. This one is a good one to add to the list!

    *Bill – Or should I say Holly? :) Thanks for stopping by—as you can see we’re all either having a lot of fun with Holly’s Inbox or very interested. And we definitely want to know when the next installment will be out?!?

    *Bookfool – Well, maybe I should thank you—this is the second time someone has contacted me after leaving a comment on YOUR blog! :) The first was for Matrimony. The characterization was great—I’m guessing there was a lot of draft work for a novel of this size and with these complicated plot lines.

    *Bonnie – I read this while reading the much heavier Catch-22 and it was just the perfect amount of lightness to keep me reading. Problem was, sometimes I couldn’t stop reading! The emails make it a fun read!

    *Serena – I hope you enjoy it! I’m guessing you’ll be like the rest of us and have trouble putting it down—there’s something very addicting about reading someone else’s email.

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