To B&B or not to B&B? That is the question…
Shakespeare clone and would-be playwright Billy has just arrived in an English seaside town with his sister Sally, who was cloned from a hair found on the back of a bus seat.
All Billy wants is a cheap B&B, an ice cream and a huge hit in the West End.
Little does he know that their fellow clones Bill and Sal are also residents of this town. Things are about to get confusing – cue professional rivalry, marital discord and a family reunion like no other.
Having previously read Marie’s wise-cracking take on Arthurian romance, The Table of Less-Valued Knights, I was expecting great things from Oh, I Do Like To Be. And sure enough, this extravagant comedy romp doesn’t disappoint. Combining Marie’s talent for screwball comedy with the plot of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, this is a madcap combination of mistaken identity, some dodgy genetic experimentation, the bard’s finest phrasing, and the pleasures of the English seaside resort.
Clones Billy and Sally are blissfully unaware of fellow clone twins Bill and Sal’s existence. All they want is a cheap B&B, an ice cream, and somewhere inspirational for Billy to write his West End debut. But when Billy is found by Sal and not Sally and taken home to his clone’s long-suffering wife Thandie, he quickly ends up in over his head. Because Bill has secrets and, in his efforts to extricate himself from the situation and reunite with Sally, Billy is going to plunge headlong into all of them!
Full of madcap characters, improbable situations and hilarious misunderstandings, this is a short, fun riot of a book that is packed to brimming with Shakespeare references and glossed with Marie’s spirited wit. When I started the book I was worried that I would find the Billy/Bill, Sally/Sal dynamic difficult to follow but, as with the Shakespeare play from which it borrows, Marie’s pared-back prose and eye for detail mean that it’s easy to follow who’s who, allowing me to sit back and enjoy the farcical comedy that ensued when Bill and Billy’s lives become entwined.
If mishaps, identity swapping and The Comedy of Errors aren’t for you, then you might not get the humour in Oh, I Do Like to Be but if (like me) you enjoy the occasional Ealing comedy then there’s plenty of belly-laughs to be had here. Oh, I Do Like To Be is one of those books that does what it says on the tin – funny, smart and a little bit ridiculous all at the same time. Perfect for gulping down in one sitting on a gloomy afternoon, this is a delightful read for cheering up these cold post-Christmas days.
Oh, I Do Like To Be by Marie Phillips is published by Unbound and available in ebook and paperback from all good booksellers and online retailers including Hive, Waterstones, Unbound and Amazon. My thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy of the book in return for an honest and unbiased review, and to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to join the blog tour. The tour continues until 31 January 2018 so do check out the other stops along the way!