Tallulah Bird is as off-beat a character as her name suggests. Her ex-alcoholic musician father, deceased white-witch grandmother and eccentric sisters provide a vivid backdrop forher energetic adventures. Add to this eclectic collectiona delectable boyfriend and a motley crew of larger than life friends and you have… the Georgia Nicholson diaries? Commendably, Mackintosh makes the mix very much her own, nodding to Louise Rennison’s hugely popular series but standing very firmly on her own narrative feet.
Humour resonates throughout, generated both by plot and character. There is a healthy portion of laugh-out-loud farce, substantiated by a lively wit and sharp comic timing. This is skilful writing, poised on the edge of cheerfulchaos but never falling into it and it provides an excellent foil for the darker moments in the book. Rumours dog Tallulah, generated by the legacy she has supposedly inherited from her witch grandmother and are fuelled by the sort of coincidences which can add up to a superficiallyconvincing jinx on any unfortunate male who gets too close to her. In addition, Tallulah’s journalist boyfriend Jack, unfortunately aided by the manipulative and conveniently gorgeous Jazz, are investigating a mystery at Frey’s Dam, a local beauty spot and when Tallulah and her friends step in to help, they get much more than they bargained for.
Lula does the Hula is an intriguing and engaging tapestry of sub plots, entertaining characters and thoughtful asides about the problems that beset teenage girls. It’s fresh, without pretension and thoroughly entertaining. The break-neck pace of the narrative carries the reader along but is never used as an excuse to trivialise the story. The jacket conveys perfectly the frivolous elements of the narrative but doesn’t suggest the more serious intricacies and tension which are expertly woven in to the narrative.