I have never before purchased anything I’ve seen advertised on Instagram, that was until I came across, rather by chance, the account of writer Joshua Humphreys. Strange the things you remember – it was Australia Day and I had just posted a picture of myself and my mates on a picnic when I noticed some guy had liked it. I’m not sure what made me click on his profile, or what compelled me to head to his website, but as I read his bio, laughing aloud, I figured if his new novel. Exquisite Hours was half as funny as his profile then it was worth the read. I also like to support independent Australian authors who self publish, knowing first hand how difficult that process can be.
Soon after I was sent the image below through Instagram – my book was about to be personally inscribed before being wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string – a very nice touch.
Anaïs Spencer travels the world lying to men.
Exquisite Hours is a comedy novel – my first – and within its pages is the story of the beautiful Anaïs Spencer, whose escapades defy belief as she travels the wold with a suitcase, a passport and a smile. Despite her constant deception, Spencer is an incredibly like-able and endearing character. It is a credit to the author that he can create such a person and still make her someone you would want to be friends with. From Hong Kong to New York to Bangladesh to Venice Spencer meets, captivates and uses every man she comes across until she lands in Venice, a place she has dreamed of and felt an affinity with her whole life. It is here she meets Octavian, a novelist and fellow liar, and suddenly our protagonist finds herself striving for things she had never before needed or wanted – stability, contentment, love.
Witty, ironic, with fast-paced dialogue, Exquisite Hours will make you laugh in spite of yourself and make you long to jump on a plane. Laced heavily with escapism, Humphreys’ second novel contains no big moral lesson, while Spencer does get herself into several close calls, she always manages to talk her way out of any sticky situation – and we can’t help but love her for it. It is evident that the author spends considerable time researching the places explored in his novel. Written in such detail, it is as if you are walking the canals of Venice with Spencer, you see the city through her eyes – full of wonder and light. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but I will say that it surprised me and I’m not entirely sure it’s what I would have chosen for her. That’s the thing about Exquisite Hours, by the end of the novel you are so invested in Spencer’s character it is difficult not to have an opinion about her future.
Beautifully written, Humphreys talks a big game and thankfully, he delivers with Exquisite Hours. It will make you laugh, make you cry (with laughter), and make you see the world just a little bit differently.
You can grab a copy of Exquisite Hours through the website.