Review: The Brazilian Job

Brazilian JobTitle: The Brazilian Job
Author: Michelle Vernal
Publisher: Createspace
Release Date: January 2014
Length: 336 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Humor

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Nobody’s perfect, are they?

Rebecca Loughton’s bumbled her way through her thirty something years making a few cock-ups along the way. Of course, these wouldn’t be so obvious if it wasn’t for her golden haired, older sister Jennifer. In a bid to escape Jennifer’s lengthy shadow and to find her happy ever after Rebecca, high-tails it out of her hometown of Christchurch to the other side of the world landing a legal secretary job in the buzzing city of Dublin. A few drinks later, all she has to show for her new life is an embarrassing one-night stand and a dollop of flirtatious banter with her boss Ciaran who just happens to have a predatory receptionist in hot pursuit of him.

Amidst plans of preventing such a merger, Rebecca receives news that Jennifer’s picture perfect life has a big, fat crack down the middle of it in the form of a philandering husband. Summoned home to look after her sister’s children and cooking school while she works on her marriage, Rebecca finds the reality of looking after two young children along with the bizarre array of guests booked into the cooking school grim. The only bright spot on her horizon are Ciaran’s e-mails but then she meets David Seagar whom she thinks might just be the ending to her happy ever after. But will he prove to be far from perfect too?


I don’t quite know where to start with this book.

Becca is the younger sister, and has the prodigal older sibling who is that person who wears the shining diamond tiara while sitting on her pedestal made of gold. Becca has never followed through on anything in her life, picks and chooses at her own whimsy, and has no true direction, let alone goal, for her life. Becca has essentially run away from home to Dublin to take a paralegal position, with her no-good best friend tagging along.

Her older sister, though, is a totally different story. Jennifer was Ms. Everything, then got married, had two kids, and started a business out of the dilapidated house she bought and fixed up.

Fast forward two years. Becca is sort of on the hunt for a man, and does everything in her power to forget that one night with her boss. Her very sexy boss. Ciaran. Even his name sounds sexy! And then she gets the call from Jennifer that turns everything on its ear, especially Jennifer’s life.

Despite Becca being the screw up of the family, does what a good sister does and goes to help Jennifer in her time of need. (And her best friend tags along!) Only, Jennifer comes back from her “fix-our-marriage” vacation only a day after she’s left! Meanwhile, Becca is very interested in single dad David…until Jennifer throws up a no-holds bar.

Google Maps
Google Maps

This novel was very complex. The first thing I noticed is that this is not a traditional novel as we know them, but written more in the style of a memoir with a lot of reflection of events told through narration with little dialogue. It takes quite a while for Michelle Vernal to set the scene.

Halfway through the book I was wondering why in the world the title was The Brazilian Job. Neither Becca nor Jennifer live in Brazil. The title stems from one small incident in the novel, albeit one that is a catalyst for her relationship with BFF, but…really? Naming the entire book after a Brazilian wax job? Not only did I find it an inadequate title, but it just didn’t seem in good taste. Perhaps New Zealanders think otherwise, I really don’t know. It’s a catchy title with a bright cover, but I could think of a handful of alternate titles.

One thing that really annoyed me was Jennifer. She was such a bitch to Becca! Not only did Becca have to take two weeks of vacation – and kept the situation hush-hush to their parents – but she was there for Jennifer! She listened, tried to be helpful and supportive of her sister, and she flew all the way back home to take care of her family and her business. Before Becca even left for Christchurch, after her phone conversation with Jennifer, I was already pissed off.

And then Michelle Vernal goes and makes us feel bad for Jennifer. Then I felt like an ass. However, that sentiment did not last long at all. Not long at all after Jennifer came back to town, minus a husband. The true truth of Jennifer’s unraveling marriage comes to light. Still, Becca is there for her sister.

Meanwhile through all of it, Becca experiences a whirlwind two weeks of heartbreak, love, betrayal, forgiveness, and most of all: maturity. She stands up to her no-good friend who only puts her down. She realizes she’s at a dead end in life and decides to make a major change. She bonds with her sister. She discovers who is really the right man for her.

*****About the Author*****

7444813Michelle Vernal is a 42 year old, married mum of two boys who lives in the pretty little town of Oxford located in New Zealand’s South Island. Writing is something she has always used as a way of expressing herself and was her first foray into the romantic and humorous world of chick lit as recorded in her thirteen year old self’s compulsory school journal. In it, much to the delight of her English teacher, she described in minutiae the heartbreak of being dumped after her first school disco. It was a scene she re-wrote into The Brazilian Job.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Brazilian Job

  1. This sounds like a with friends like those who needs enemies kind of book! I’m in the middle of one myself and don’t know how I feel about that one either. Becca sounds like a good character and I like that it is about her figuring out what she wants but I’m not sure I can handle another book with friends/family who the MC would be better off without! Great review!

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