Watching Willow Watts

Rated 4.58/5 based on 14 reviews
For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching TV. But everything changes when a YouTube video of Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets millions of hits. More

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Published by Prospera Publishing
Words: 73,740
Language: English
ISBN: 9781907504228
About Talli Roland

I drink coffee. I write. And then I have wine. My debut rom-com novel 'The Hating Game' (Prospera Publishing) is out as an e-book Dec 1, 2010; paperback 2011. I'm also the author of the 24 Hours travel guides under the name Marsha Moore.

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Reviews

Review by: Gina Borkowski on April 29, 2012 :
Willow Watts finds herself in an unusual situation after a video is posted on YouTube. What follows is an interesting and amusing tale that was great fun to read. This was my first experience with Talli Roland, but I will definitely be looking for more of her books in the future.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Gina Borkowski on April 29, 2012 : (no rating)
Willow Watts finds herself in an unusual situation after a video is posted on YouTube. What follows is an interesting and amusing tale that was great fun to read. This was my first experience with Talli Roland, but I will definitely be looking for more of her books in the future.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: LindyLouMac on Sep. 24, 2011 :
Review by: LindyLouMac on Sep. 13, 2011 : (no rating) (Remove)
Well the date has arrived; tomorrow September 14th is the official launch day of Talli Roland’s much awaited second novel. Talli is one of the new generation of writers that understands the importance of an online presence for an author. She certainly went to town with the launch of her debut novel The Hating Game clicking on the title will take you directly to the review I wrote last year. I said it in my last review but will say it again, Talli Roland is a very enterprising young woman that totally understands the importance of publicity. She made a successful job of promoting her last novel and I think that she will do so again this time. Readers who enjoyed her debut are in for a treat as within its genre she has written another sparkly lively modern novel that will appeal to many. For fans of light humoured and easily readable modern women's fiction, love stories with a happy ending than Talli Roland is a name to watch out for.

Once again this young author has come up with an original story line, this time about a Marilyn Monroe look a like, who discovers by playing Marilyn that one of the most important things we learn in this life, is to be true to ourselves.
Our heroine gives her name to the novel and it starts as Willow leaves behind her successful London career as a florist to return to Belcherton, England’s ugliest village, to care for her recently-widowed father. Her life has become rather mundane helping her father in his struggling antiques business. At the local village fete her best friend gets her to dress up as Marilyn Monroe, just for a bit of fun. Before they know it someone has posted a video on You Tube and everything escalates out of control in double quick time as Marilyn mania takes over village life. Surrounded by a fascinating cast of characters including the ghastly Jay who becomes her agent, Willow totally embraces the character of Marilyn. To find out how this all works out for our heroine you will have to read the book for yourself.
Having lived for many years in an English country village, some of the descriptions of the events and characters had me giggling at how well she has captured the essence. Talli obviously has a tremendous sense of humour which has shown through in both of her novels so far. For her humour alone I recommend her writing to you, but even more so if you are a fan of chick lit style romantic fiction.


For much more information, including an invite to the party please visit LindyLouMac's Book Reviews
http://lindyloumacbookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/09/watching-willow-watts-by-talli-roland.html

This review was removed and reposted as I inadvertently left out my 5* rating in the original post.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Amanda Amanda on Sep. 22, 2011 :
What I Think About Watching Willow Watts:
Willow Watts is definitely someone who you want to be your friend. She’s loving, loyal, supportive, and caring and very much a people pleaser. And because of being a people pleaser she has gotten herself into quite a pickle. Her best friend Paula coaxed her into wearing a Marilyn Monroe costume and singing ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ and it was just Willows luck that someone got it on film and put it on YouTube.

Now this person wasn’t trying to be mean by posting the video. No, they were just trying to help the town get rid of their Ugliest Village ‘award’ and gain tourists, revenue and what not. Well because of this video and the little Marilyn head that was added to it, by the ‘director’, people now think it was Marilyn’s ghost in the video and that Willow is the new Marilyn! This sets off a chain of events; people coming from all over the world to get a glimpse of the new Marilyn, her ex (who’s she still madly in love with) shows up and some low life agent wants to sign her.

Willow is a fairly shy-keep to herself kind of person so all this attention is rather overwhelming. On top of all that her father’s antique shop in seriously in debt and Jay the sleaze ball agent convinces her that this new Marilyn thing is her ticket to the big time and the big bucks for him. Willow doesn’t want to let her town or her father down. And most of all she doesn’t want to tell him about the debt so she takes on the burden herself and then signs with Jay to get the shop back on track. She has good intentions, but now she is stuck in a ten year contract dressing like Marilyn and doing crazy stunts just to get the money she needs and the money Jay wants! And as always here’s my breakdown:
The town, village, whatever you want to call it: Belcherton? Every time I read the village name I kept visualizing a balding fat man with his belly hangin’ out just lettin’ one rip! But, hey, I guess that’s part of the reason the village was named Britain’s Ugliest Village, right?!
Paula, the best friend: I love that she was a total 80’s chick! If I could dress like that and not be made fun of I probably would! She always wanted to be the one in the spotlight so for Willow to rise to ‘fame’ so quickly kind of put a damper on things.
Dickie and Betts: Dickie is Willows dad. Willow moved from London back to Belcherton after her mother passed away and her father got sick. Betts is an American woman who idolizes Marilyn Monroe. She flew from Georgia because of the new Marilyn, but also because she needed a break from her grown children who still act like teenagers. I love the little thing going on with Dickie and Betts. They are so adorable!
Jay the agent: Wow I could just see the sleaze dripping off this man like the grease from the sausage he was force feeding Willow. That guy was seriously a dick! Sorry, but it just had to be said! The whole time I wanted to take his Blackberry and shove it down his throat. Willow may be a people pleaser which kind of made her naïve and lead her to sign with Jay, but I kept thinking ‘Wake up Willow! Can’t you see what a scheming lying jerk this guy is?’ But then again she just ran into the love of her life, her ex, and Jay just started making out with Willow in front of him. Now she is left broken hearted thinking maybe things can work out with Jay and has the pressure of trying to save her dad from financial ruin.

My Overall Rating:
4 out of 5

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I loved the concept of a YouTube-ers rise to fame and it’s even better that that person was Willow Watts; a shy small town girl who just wants to be a florist! Thanks Talli for sending me Watching Willow Watts! I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Michael Di Gesu on Sep. 18, 2011 :
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go from a passive, simple life only to be thrown in the mixed of paparazzi and adoring fans as a U-Tube superstar?

Willow Watts certainly does. Innocently donning on a cheap bleached-blond wig and a stretched out moldy dress for a local charity event in the small town of Belcherton, Willow is coaxed into singing Marilyn Monroe's signature "Happy Birthday Mr. President" song.

Filmed by the head of the town's tourist board, Simpson Dyer, who is desperate to put his dull, non-descript town on the map, doctors up the film by adding a picture of the real Marilyn floating through Willow's performance.

Willow cringed at the whole production, hoping to forget about her humiliation and find a way to help support her father's dying antique business.

Simpson posts the video on U-Tube, claiming it would help in exposing the world to Belcherton. At first his plan failed with only two hits all morning. Then on comment posted and changed all that. This one comment about Willow being picked by the ghost of Marilyn Monroe to be her predecessor ignited a four-alarm-fire. Later that day the hits rolled into a hundred thousand and growing.

People from all over the globe flocked into Belcherton to pay homage to the "new" Marilyn. Of course, this was the last thing Willow expected and couldn't believe any of it.

This is just the beginning of Willow's new "life." As you can well imagine, with success brewing and endless opportunities on the horizon, Willow encounters all sorts of people good and bad.

Jay Bellamy slithers into town. A has been agent, trying to land Willow for his next client. Jay's only thoughts focus on taking full advantage of Willow's naivete. Slick, good looking, and oozing with charm he sets out to seduce WIllow any way he can. Will she fall for his charms and be his next victim?

Across the great pond, in Carter, Georgia, Bette Johnson, relaxed in her living room, sipped Dom, and thought about her idol Marilyn Monroe. Pushing sixty, she felt a closeness to Marilyn Monroe. He hum drum life as a newly divorced woman left a lot to be desired. As she listened to the news a reporter excitedly spilled out information about the "New" Marilyn discovery. Betts in on a plane the next day for Belcherton, England and a new adventure.


Now you ask, what could possibly happen next? You might guess correctly, but then ... you might not? You don't want to miss out on Roland's charming tale of what Watching Willow Watts is all about.

What I loved most about Talli Roland's new novel? Her cast of characters. She paints rich, detailed, funny, crazy, lovable and most of all, memorable people who kept popping up throughout the story, starting with Willow's BFF and local beauty parlor owner, Paula.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not an avid reader of "Chick Lit," I would have to say Talli might just make me one. So download your copy from Amazon or Amazon UK. You will have a blast this weekend with some new literary friends.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Joo on Sep. 13, 2011 :
Now that's what I like, a 100% Chick Lit book. You know exactly what you are going to get. A darned good read.

I was going to save this for holidays next week, but I thought I'd read a page or two. Next thing I knew was I'd finished it and it was dark outside.

It's the story of Willow Watts who, after living in London for a while, goes back to her small village to live with her dad and gets caught up in whirlwind after appearing on You Tube.

It was a great read. The story just flowed and even though Willow is extremely naive, I liked her and the other characters.

Is it too early to ask when your next book is out Talli? I want more
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Cherie Reich on Sep. 12, 2011 :
Talli Roland's WATCHING WILLOW WATTS shines like a bright star in the chick lit world.

Willow Watts never imagined dressing up as Marilyn Monroe for her best friend's celebrity picture booth would change her life. When her imagine is up on YouTube and appears sanctioned by Marilyn's ghost, Willow goes viral. Marilyn's fans proclaim her as the new Marilyn and everyone is clamoring to make a pound, including Willow. As the new Marilyn learns what fame means, Willow discovers the truth in who she is and what she's willing to sacrifice for happiness.

Talli Roland excels in quirky, unique novels. Willow Watts transforms on the page and inspires not only her small village in England but the world around her. Fame is fickle and tiresome. The romances of the secondary characters were sweet. I cheered as Willow discovered it was better to be herself than anyone else. Roland breathes life into her characters. I cried, laughed, and felt a deep passionate hatred for Willow's you-know-who, also known as the agent. The only minor distraction for me as a reader was in the portrayal of Betts the American, who didn't sound like she was from Georgia sometimes. Overall, I loved how the 'new Marilyn' inspired the village and changed it for the better.

Talli Roland's WATCHING WILLOW WATTS is a must-read with unforgettable characters, a unique storyline, and a beautiful message that being who you are is better than being anyone else.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Nikki Bywater on Sep. 11, 2011 :
Willow Watts lives in the small and very quiet village of Belcherton in the UK, having moved back there from living a good happy life in London, where she had graduated from a prestigious flower school in Knightsbridge after doing really well and landing a great job in Liberty’s. She had made the decision to return to Belcherton to be there for her father who since her mothers death seems not to be coping too well and Willow finds out his business is in debt. She is living a quiet life in the village where nothing much happens.

When Simpson Dyer the head and only member of Belcherton’s tourist board is making a film to promote Belcherton and attract more visitors he films Willow dressed up as the icon Marilyn Monroe and he puts the film on You tube with a grey image of the real Marilyn’s face floating in the background. Willow finds herself an instant internet sensation when the post gets thousands of hits and starts trending due to a comment a fan of Marilyn posts claiming it to be the ghost of Marilyn! Thousands of fans follow suite and after the clip is shown in the media fans of Marilyn start descending to the usually quiet Belcherton, even going as far as to setting up a campsite. Even after seeing Willow in the flesh they all go on believing that she is the essence of Marilyn.

Jay Bellamy introducers himself as a hot shot London agent who wants to sign Willow to work and earn good money being Marilyn and Willow sees this as the answer to helping clear her fathers debts.

Betts Johnson is a massive Marilyn fan who is unhappy with her life she flies over to Belcherton from America to come in search of finding her idol.

Will Willow lose her own identity and become Marilyn?

Is Jay all he claims to be?

Will this not only change Willow’s life but the people who are closest to her?

A fantastic funny read that is entertaining from beginning to end. A brilliant storyline.

Watching Willow Watts is one to watch out for!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sharon Goodwin on Sep. 10, 2011 :
The story starts at the village fete where we are introduced to the characters. Willow’s best friend Paula is running a stall where fete visitors dress up as a celebrity and have their photo taken. Paula talks Willow into dressing as Marilyn Munroe, Simpson (who is the village tourism rep) makes a video which gets uploaded onto YouTube … and this one incident sends Willow’s life into a whirlwind of activity and emotions.

Belcherton explodes with visitors wanting to see Willow and along with this influx of people arrives agent Jay. Jay, who on the surface is very supportive of Willow but underneath is controlling and hungry for revenge (and money!). Amongst the visitors to the village we meet Betts who has stepped out of her comfort zone and come to the UK from Georgia. She stays with Willow and her father and becomes an integral part of their lives.

Another character central to the story is Cissy. A retired former actress living on the outskirts of the village, she has met Jay in the past. She is not happy with how things are working out for Jay.

The characters in Watching Willow Watts are so believable. You become involved in either rooting for everything to turn out well or wishing for their downfall.

Behind Willow’s decisions all the time are considerations of others - money her father owes or in supporting the village to become more than Britain’s Ugliest Village. She puts her own feelings aside. When Jay enters the village she is in a vulnerable position emotionally so it is entirely believable that she only sees what is on the surface. If you’ve read my reviews you know that I love watching a female heroine make the journey from being down-trodden and insecure to becoming her own person … and we certainly see this for Willow.

Watching Willow Watts is a wonderful emotional ride. We have all the elements of love, friendship, family, community and revenge to keep us absorbed. You won’t be disappointed in accompanying Willow on her journey as the iconic Marilyn Munroe!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: deniz bevan on Sep. 08, 2011 :
Talk about chick lit at its best!

I don't usually read this genre, but I've been very lucky in the ones I do read. They've always:

a) been British; and

b) come at just the right moment, when I'm on vacation or simply need a book to unwind with.

Who can forget Carole Matthews' Let's Meet on Platform 8 or Claire Calman's Love Is A Four Letter Word?

And now I've got a new favourite - Watching Willow Watts by Talli Roland.

Featuring the charming, down to earth Willow, hilarious one line send ups about small village residents (not to mention the village itself - named Belcherton!), and a host of varied secondary characters, Watching Willow Watts is a fast-paced, sweet yet daring story.

Roland subtly introduces the reader to Willow's world, deftly raises the stakes, and there's no way to put the book down. You've just got to find out what happens next. I was almost late for work one morning as I couldn't stop reading!

She has a knack of making you care for each character's fate, right down to that of Krusty the rooster. I've already started thinking about which actors could play Betts, and Dickie, and Willow herself...

Don't miss out!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: deniz bevan on Sep. 08, 2011 : (no rating)
Talk about chick lit at its best!

I don't usually read this genre, but I've been very lucky in the ones I do read. They've always:

a) been British; and

b) come at just the right moment, when I'm on vacation or simply need a book to unwind with.

Who can forget Carole Matthews' Let's Meet on Platform 8 or Claire Calman's Love Is A Four Letter Word?

And now I've got a new favourite - Watching Willow Watts by Talli Roland.

Featuring the charming, down to earth Willow, hilarious one line send ups about small village residents (not to mention the village itself - named Belcherton!), and a host of varied secondary characters, Watching Willow Watts is a fast-paced, sweet yet daring story.

Roland subtly introduces the reader to Willow's world, deftly raises the stakes, and there's no way to put the book down. You've just got to find out what happens next. I was almost late for work one morning as I couldn't stop reading!

She has a knack of making you care for each character's fate, right down to that of Krusty the rooster. I've already started thinking about which actors could play Betts, and Dickie, and Willow herself...

Don't miss out!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Lisa Maliga on Sep. 08, 2011 :
Talli Roland has created a warm and likeable titular character in her second book, "Watching Willow Watts." The reader feels lots of sympathy for Willow as she's trying to keep her widowed father's antiques shop from going under. Not only does she miss her mother, but also the life she led in London. The Willow of two years ago was happily working as a florist and was in a relationship with an architect.

The action starts early and never lets up. Willow is reluctantly turned into a Marilyn Monroe impersonator due to a tourist board organizer who uploads a video onto YouTube that goes viral. The quiet village of Belcherton becomes the latest place for an international deluge of Marilyn fans to congregate. Suddenly, locals are making money and Willow realizes that she can get her father's business out of debt.

But as she's transformed into Marilyn by a smarmy agent, we wonder how all this will play out ...
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Rosie Connolly on Sep. 08, 2011 :
First, I want to say that I love Talli Roland's style of story-weaving. Her creativity never ceases to amaze or amuse me. The sense of humor in each scene always keeps me laughing. Several moments in this story move toward dark humor, and maybe I'm not laughing out loud then, but I'm still entertained and ready to read more.

The story progresses through several weeks as Willow Watts struggles with her own identity and her new life as Marilyn Monroe. One of many facets of this story that make it great is Willow's strength and perseverence through these tough times. We can all take a little something from Willow's strength, which she finds within herself throughout the story.

If you like a good, fun ChickLit tale, you should definitely read this (and anything else by Talli Roland).
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Margo Benson on Aug. 29, 2011 :
I loved Talli Roland’s enchanting new book, having adored The Hating Game. I was drawn in straight away and couldn’t put the book down!

Willow Watts, a gifted florist beginning to make a success of her business in London, has returned to the weary village she hails from to care for her widowed father and his ailing antique shop. Life for her and the village takes a bizarre turn when the ghostly image of Marilyn Monroe is seen in an otherwise embarrassing YouTube video of Willow, performing at the local fete. Events move quickly to transform Willow into the new Marilyn, make her a star and save the shop.

Talli Roland has written a wonderful cast of characters, from a devoted best friend, a ruthless charmer, a warm and loving Texan, to an eccentric band of elderly locals and we see Willow fighting to find herself in the midst of both adoration and exploitation. The parallels with Marilyn herself are worked in beautifully.

An aspect of Talli Roland’s writing that I love is that, amongst the pace and frivolity, is pure pathos and heart. Characters overcome past hurts and discover inner strengths and talents they didn’t know they had.

I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to read more Talli Roland.

On a Kindle note – this is well formatted, which is very welcome as so many Kindle books have appalling formatting!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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