Wednesday 15 December 2010

Book review : Temptation - Olivia Darling

Temptation, Olivia Darling's third novel, contains many of the ingredients of classic chick lit : hard-working, glamorous, feisty women, determined to make their dreams come true whatever the odds, exotic locations and a smattering of sex and romance. One look at the cover with its glitzy lettering and the elegant lady in a cocktail dress sitting in the moon and you instantly know what you'll be getting for your money.

The novel follows the intertwined destinies of three women - internationally-renowned opera diva Cosima Esposito, city banker Juliet Hunter and office cleaner Mercy Campbell, the underdog, with no money or qualifications but a great voice and dreams of making it big. They all have love interests - Cosima has an on-off relationship with her ex-husband and fellow opera star Nolan O' Connor, Juliet is having an affair with her married boss and Mercy starts dating one of the bankers in the building she cleans. But the girls all have so much else going on in their lives that the tales of romance are pushed to the sidelines and are far from the most important element.

Where the book departs from classic, frothy, frivolous, hearts-and-flowers chick-lit is the way it tries to incorporate gritty realism : Mercy's teenage brother falling in with the wrong crowd, gun crime and drug dealing, crazed fans stalking their idols, MI5 and computer hacking. This chick-lit-dressed-as-thriller somehow didn't sit quite right and reminded me slightly of my five-year-old parading around in my high heeled boots, trying to act all grown-up ! The inevitable happy ending meant that the gritty realism couldn't be followed through sufficiently - in the real world, nice people would end up in the morgue and the bad guys wouldn't necessarily get their just desserts, so it all seemed a bit too good to be true and too nicely tied-up at the end.

This slight criticism aside, it's a very good read. The plotlines are cleverly woven together, even if it's a bit contrived at times. The secondary characters are a bit too one-dimensional but the leading ladies are well-developed and you can't help but cheer them on when the chips are down, even if you know that in the end, they're all bound to come out smelling of roses because they're chick-lit heroines and that's what always happens !

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £6.99

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (18 Feb 2010)
ISBN-10: 0340992735
ISBN-13: 978-0340992739

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  1. This sounds exactly what I like, I'm a right book nerd :D

  2. I love books I can just loose myself in., matters not a jot whether it's believable or the character is likable... I just become them, and live a different life for the little while I have the book in my hand!

  3. Reading is certainly great for a bit od escapism, much better than the telly for mentally whisking yourself away for a couple of hours !


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