“Don’t Tell Penny” by Anna Bell was a free short story that I downloaded through BookShout. It was very short, but it did give me a chance to sample the author’s writing and find out if it would be worthwhile to invest in more of her works. That is part of the reason that I have been reading so many short stories lately. I enjoy branching out in my reading and a short story is a great way to get a small taste without having to devote a lot of time in an author you do not know.
The premise for the story is a girl named Penny that is convinced that her boyfriend Mark is about to propose. “Don’t Tell Penny” is narrated by her best friend, Louise whom is simultaneously excited for her best friend and worried that Penny has misjudged all the signs and that tonight is not in fact the night. There is a big party that has been planned to celebrate the end of Mark’s accounting exams. At the last minute it was moved from a local low-key place to a swanky hotel. That combined with the fact that Penny read a message on Mark’s phone that said “Don’t forget ring” has her completely convinced that he is going to pop the question tonight.
Would I recommend this book? Probably not, the writing was nothing extraordinary and although I could relate to Penny, I didn’t like her at all. I personally do not agree with the idea of snooping on my significant other’s phone and I kind of feel that she set herself up for disappointment by expecting the proposal. I certainly could relate to her eagerness for the engagement – I’ve been there – but at the same time I thought it was overly presumptuous for her to get her nails done and her hair fixed and to tell others that it was going to happen that night. She got very pushy when things weren’t happening the way that she had planned out in her head. Her best friend tried to diffuse the situation as best as she could and in return has Penny force her company upon Louise and her husband Russell when they very clearly wanted alone time. Penny wasn’t a likeable character and I thought Louise was a bit of an enabler. Overall, I was left unimpressed and with no desire to read the rest of the series.