Title: Laura the Explorer
Author: Sarah Begg
Published: January 17th 2019
Publisher: Sarah Begg
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Chick Lit, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
At twenty-seven, Laura Baker finds herself single for the first time in her adult life, her now-gay ex-husband the only man she’s ever slept with.
Moving into an apartment on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Laura’s two new eclectic roommates convince her that she needs to get herself out there and start dating (and sleeping with) as many men as possible.
But as Laura’s fun new lifestyle kicks off, her work ethic begins to slip. Her mum won’t stop pestering her about her biological clock and trying to set her up with Eric from the pub. And to make things even worse, the volleyball-playing guy with the sky-blue eyes and rippling muscles that Laura has become infatuated with is hiding a secret that could shatter her world.
Amidst all the change in her life, Laura is forced to confront one crucial question: does she even know who she is anymore or how to be happy?
A fast-paced, fly-on-the-wall account of one woman’s hilarious adventures in the contemporary Sydney dating scene.
As a book reviewer and a strong supporter of Australian authors, one of the perks of my role is discovering brand new writers. Breaking out into the contemporary fiction scene with her debut novel is Sarah Begg. Laura the Explorer is an insightful, hilarious and fun journey into the modern dating world, with appealing lead Laura Baker.
Laura the Explorer is about starting over, at the tender age of twenty seven years old. Laura Baker married her high school sweetheart, but when he reveals he is gay, Laura ends up with a broken heart. After her divorce, Laura makes a pact, she will change her life for the better, and meet some exciting new love prospects along the way. Laura makes the brave from her previous life, the one she shared with her now ex husband, and she moves to a suburb in the northern beaches region of Sydney. Taking up residence in a shared style of living, Laura’s new roommates encourage her to explore the dating world. But Laura’s new adventures in the world of dating offers up plenty of complications. She is also dealing with pressures from work and her mother’s expectations. There is no doubting that Laura’s life has changed significantly since her husband dropped a bombshell, but Laura now faces the challenge of believing in herself again and finding a sense of happiness.
I don’t tend to compare books, but in the case of Laura the Explorer, I got the strong feeling that this is a modern day Australian Sex in the City, crossed with The Wrong Girl by Zoë Foster Blake. Laura the Explorer sits very comfortably in the contemporary fiction genre. It offers plenty of romance, laugh out loud moments and instances of self reflection.
Sarah Begg’s main protagonist is twenty seven years old when she finds herself divorced and dealing with the fallout the shock revelation by her husband. I did have some reservations as to whether or not I would be able to connect with Laura. I am ten years older than Laura and in a different position, married and with young children. I also have dated for over twenty years! I didn’t need to be worried about this as I really connected with Laura. I felt downright sorry for her, I respected her decision to move on and I cheered her along the way as she indulged in her dating situations. Above all, I wanted Laura to rediscover herself, gain some more confidence after that big knock she received from her husband, and have some much needed fun along the way!
Laura the Explorer is narrated solely by the female lead, Laura Baker. As the book is told completely through Laura’s eyes, we are privy to her innermost thoughts, emotions, opinions and fears. I appreciated this aspect of the novel and I feel this is the area where Sarah Begg really displays her power as a writer. Readers will find the supporting cast just delightful. I enjoyed the interactions and dialogue in this book. The accompanying speech is snappy, fresh and realistic. I think many readers will connect to the writing and the experiences Laura goes through – which is also thoroughly entertaining!
Interspersed within the narrative are Tinder and Facebook alert notifications, as well as messages to Laura from her friends, lovers and family. This adds another layer to the unfolding story. The inclusion of these messages and notifications for me signalled Begg’s awareness of the current climate of communication, our habits in connecting with others and approaching dating. It is completely grounded in today’s world which centres on technology as the main method of communication. I’m just so glad that I wasn’t faced with the same situation as Laura, the present day dating world can be incredibly daunting!
I loved the underlying message of Laura the Explorer. Life definitely delivered Laura a huge knock, but she faced her fears and re-entered the dating world head-on! It is never too late to begin again, start afresh and live your life to the fullest. What a great parting message!
It is with great delight that I introduce and recommend Sarah Begg, with her brand new novel, Laura the Explorer. This fresh new release is sure to be a smash hit. A sequel is in the works too! Fabulous news!
P.S. I love the cover design too!
Laura the Explorer by Sarah Begg was published on 17th January 2019. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Laura the Explorer, Sarah Begg, visit here.
*Thanks extended to the author for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.
Laura the Explorer is book #54 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge .