Claudia Carroll's latest novel 'I Never Fancied Him Anyway' is decent, light-hearted fun, much like her other recent offerings. Steering away from the fantastical that graced her debut novel 'He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not', this girlie romance is much more rooted in reality, although it does hang on to that slight element of the extraordinary, much to its benefit.

Cassandra is a young woman with a rare gift. She can see into other people's futures, that is she's a psychic. She can't predict the lotto numbers or the horse-racing results but she's usually pretty certain who her friends are going to fall for and who's cheating on who. Sometimes she loves that she can use the gift to help other people. Sometimes it just feels like a curse.

A chance meeting leads the psychic, who writes a magazine advice column, into a new career as a television personality, opening her up to a whole new world of possibility. Coming along for the ride are her best friends, high-maintenance Charlene, tree-hugger Jo and camp fitness instructor Marc with a C. Add to the mix some very complicated love lives and you've got a recipe for disaster.

Claudia Carroll writes with a real affection for her characters and their quirks, painting a very vivid picture of each personality in the frame. She has a very natural, conversational style of writing, that somehow makes you feel like you could just be listening to one of your friends telling a story. What works about this novel is that it includes plenty of the mundane aspects of life that we can all identify with (squabbling with friends, falling for the wrong person and trying desperately to hide our insecurities from others).

As a line that is trotted out by most people, at least once in their lives, 'I Never Fancied Him Anyway' is difficult not to like. There's a nice mix of gentle humour and some wonderfully eccentric characters, making for a touching tale.

Linda McGee