14 January 2011
Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Lulu Taylor
This is the third book Lulu Taylor has released, and the third that I have read, so I was really looking forward to reading this. I was surprised when it arrived in the post because at nearly 700 pages, it was an enormous book but with a gorgeous striking red cover that really drew my attention to the book. Taylor is known for her glamorous stories set in high society, a world which most of us will never be able to immerse ourselves in, so it really is escapist literature that I enjoy very much. Even though the book was really long, I found that it flew by because it was so enjoyable, and by the end I was disappointed that it was all over!
The book begins with the 21st birthday party of our leading ladies Octavia and Flora. We don't actually meet the girls for a good few pages, which I think builds up their entrance and certainly sets the scene for the world that they live in. The other characters around them at the party are not nice at all, very self-obsessed and bitchy, but exactly what you'd expect at a party like this. The twins therefore seem very naive and oblivious to the ways of the world, and I think it's a good contrast to begin the book in this way as you just know something bad is going to happen because of the girls naivety. We then finally get to meet the girls properly, and this for me is where the book really starts and I feel it certainly picks up pace.
Once the girls are told about their fortune, both react differently and I think that's very realistic as not everyone would cope with the news of such wealth in a good way. Octavia is thrilled to be rich, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on clothes, furniture and other expensive things she doesn't need with no thought for the cost. Flora on the other hand wants to be more careful, and hires their cousin to look after their personal lives. Soon though, Flora is swept into a world she has no experience of, and falls in love with a German aristocrat. But things aren't as they seem for Flora and before she knows it, her life has changed beyond belief and there is no-one around to help her. I really liked Flora, despite her naivety, and thought she was much more likeable than the
The largest bit of the book takes place in England, mainly London which is where Octavia and Flora live. I feel Taylor has really captured 'high society' in London very well, and certainly gives the essence of life with obscene amounts of money perfectly. The supporting cast of characters were also really good - I particularly liked Octavia's circle of designer friends, and their cousin Vicky was also a very good character. There were some good subplots involving these characters too, which I felt built on the book as a whole and were certainly a good addition to the main plot involving Flora and Octavia.
I do have to mention the fact that there were a few scenes in the book that left me feeling quite uncomfortable, and they felt quite out of place in the book. I don't want to go into too much detail because I don't want to spoil the story for everyone, but it was scenes involving Flora and the German aristocrat, and were uncomfortable reading. I felt they were too graphic, and felt really out of place within the book, and the genre too to be honest. The scenes could have been dealt with in a different way, still taking place but in a slightly less graphic and over-the-top way, I was very tempted to skip them but felt I couldn't give a fully rounded review unless I did. It's a shame Taylor felt she has to stoop to these shock tactics in what is otherwise a very good book. I really liked the characters, the setting and the plot - it kept me entertained and actually didn't have a too predictable ending, so I would recommend it but please, PLEASE be aware of these uncomfortable sexual scenes if you find it hard to read that sort of thing.