17 November 2013
Book Review: The Proposal by Tasmina Perry
When Amy Carrell's wealthy boyfriend ends their relationship just before Christmas, she's left to nurse her broken heart alone. With nothing to lose, she replies to an advertisement requesting a companion for a mysterious 'Manhattan adventure'.
Whisked off to New York with eccentric British aristocrat Georgia Hamilton, Amy experiences a glamorous side of the city that she's never seen before. Along the way, Georgia initiates her protegee in the arts of old-school elegance.
But as Georgia shares her life lessons, Amy discovers a painful secret in her mentor's past. A secret that shattered her future. A story of love and betrayal that only Amy has the power to put right."
You can buy The Proposal as a hardback or an eBook now.
I am a big fan of Tasmina Perry's summer blockbuster novels - in fact, they are quite often one of the highlights of my summer reading, and together with her gorgeous book covers, they always tell me summer has well and truly arrived! However, Tasmina has decided to break from tradition and has brought us a winter-themed novel - not only that but it's a breakaway from her blockbuster traditions too, with more of a love story, split between modern day New York and 1950's debutante London. I was hoping it would be just as good as Tasmina's other novels I have loved before, and luckily she hasn't let me down!
Amy Carrell, a talented dancer from New York now living is London, is gutted when her rather wealthy boyfriend dumps her just before Christmas. She feels like she wasn't good enough for him, and now doesn't know what to do at Christmas now she's by herself. When she spots a small advert in a newspaper asking for a companion for a New York adventure, she decides it is worth the risk if she can get to see her beloved family for just a few days. Amy is taken over to New York by wealthy British aristocrat Georgia. Georgia is determined to see the sights of New York at last, and is fascinated with Amy's account of her city. Georgia decides she can show young Amy a thing or two as well, and the pair strike up an unlikely friendship. As the pair spend more time together, Amy uncovers something in Georgia's past that the older woman would rather keep a secret. Will Amy be able to write those wrongs, or is it too late?
What I loved about this book was the way it really focused on Georgia and Amy, and that's pretty much it. While other characters in the book come and go as it moves between past and present, our two leading ladies remain and I loved that, I felt very invested in their stories because of it. I really liked both of them as well, both incredibly different women with totally different outlooks on life, but each respectful of each other's worlds too. I did very sorry for Amy, stuck in a different country from her family at Christmastime and being dumped too, but she had a good heart and was determined to make the most of it. The adventure with Georgia just brought her out of herself and I really enjoyed reading about New York from both a native's (Amy's) and a tourist's (Georgia's) points of view.
I've lost count of how many novels I have read set in New York, and although I've been lucky enough to visit twice, it is still magical to read about it in books and picture the places that I've visited myself as well as mentally making a list of the places to visit when I next go! While the modern New York scenes were fantastic reading, it was the part's set in 1950's London that I really loved. Before I started this book, I didn't know much about the debutante scene, the balls, gowns and traditions that went with it so this was an eye-opener for me too. It was fun reading about a much younger Georgia too, and her struggled to fit in on a circuit where she felt she didn't belong. Her relationship with her mother was touching too, and some of the characters she meets along the way were very interesting, and certainly open up your eyes to the expectations of that time.
There's a bit of a mystery running throughout, in that we know something happened in Georgia's past that left her a bit broken, and she is feuding with her family but we don't find out until nearly the end what it is. I liked this small touch of her summer blockbusters in this lovely wintery novel, and I was shocked when I found out what it was - for me, it was totally unexpected. I loved how it was all handled though, and it brings together the 1950's part and the modern day perfectly, and for me the ending was just perfect. By the end, I loved both Georgia and Amy, and was sad to see them go, I could have read much more about these two women. For me, this book was utterly brilliant, and I loved every page. I needn't have worried about not enjoying it as much as Tasmina's summer novels because this was brilliant too, in a totally different way. It had it's festive part, with it being set in the run up to Christmas, and with Amy enjoying Christmas with her family at last (very emotional!), but more than that it's a story of lasting love that defies the years. A beautifully romantic story spanning the ages that you will love.