10 January 2011
Book Review: New York Valentine by Carmen Reid
Amazingly, this is the fifth book in the "Annie Valentine" series by author Carmen Reid, and I still look forward to the release of a new Annie adventure each year. I wasn't overly keen on the first in the series, The Personal Shopper, but I feel the books have got better as the series has progressed and now they are certainly ones to look out for on my releases calendar. The fifth outing sees Annie Valentine, a superb chick-lit character who a lot of women will be able to relate to, jet across to the other side of the world New York. I've been lucky enough to visit there twice, and so it was great to read about one of my favourite cities in the world again!
Annie Valentine seems happily settled at home, she's married to her husband Ed, with her four beautiful children and her own shopping TV show as well. I love Annie's eternal optimism - she knows how lucky she is to have her lifestyle, but she also knows she has to lose a few pounds so she doesn't get spotted in the same old comfy dress again and again! Annie is a character that a lot of women will be able to relate to - she works hard, she runs a family life and of course, she loves her shopping as well. I really warm to Annie every time I read a story about her, but at the same time, when I pick up an Annie Valentine book, it's like I've not stopped reading them, it's like picking up a book about an old friend!
I really like the fact we see a lot more of Annie's teenage daughter Lana this time around. She is present in all of the previous 4 books, but we've never really got to have her as a main part in the story, she's more in background, but she is definitely a character that I liked a lot. Lana is a typical teenager - a bit embarrassed by her mum but we can how she has grown up through the book. Lana in the book this time around is fun, she loves fashion and most of all she loves New York, and it's nice to have a younger character in a main role of the book. Ed appears a little bit as well, and is just a good as ever, and I loved that we saw more of the ever mad Svetlana too.
The book mainly takes place in New York City (as you may have guessed from the book title!) and for those of us who are lucky enough to have been there, it'll certainly being back lots of memories! Carmen Reid has clearly done her research - she takes a lot of big landmarks and makes Annie and Lana tourists visiting them so we get to see them through their eyes and this is fun. It was nice to read about New York, but at the same time, Reid introduces us to the not-so-nice side of NYC we don't always see, the back alleys and dumpsters than Annie ends up in through various things that happen, and it certainly creates some good comedy moments. The setting of New York works really well as it's one of the big fashion capitals of the world, and it only seems right Annie Valentine makes a trip over there too!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It's another great outing for Annie Valentine, and I like that Reid is keeping the series fresh by taking Annie to other places, and bringing other characters like Lana more to the front line, which also adds a fresh perspective to the reader as well. Annie is a great character who leads the book so well - she's a character the reader will love and warm to, and therefore we care that Annie makes a success of her life and her business. The storyline about the failing business and Annie's keen-ness to revive it keeps the book moving along at a good pace, and gives it an aim at the end, but it's the journey along the way I really enjoyed. Definitely recommended if you are a fan of the Annie V books so far, but also recommended if you're not - it'll make you want to read them all!