26 May 2009

Book Review: The Fidelity Files by Jessica Brody

Jennifer Hunter has a somewhat unusual job, one that she keeps hidden even from her family and friends. Jennifer works under the code name of "Ashlyn", a Fidelity Inspector, and a pretty good one at that.

Jennifer basically receives a call from a suspicious wife, and then tests her husband to see if he has an intention to cheat. But this lifestyle is taking its toll on Jen, and her friends are concerned that she's still single.

When she meets Jamie Richards after one of her trips, she begins to wonder about retiring and settling down, but there is one last surprising assignment Ashlyn has to complete.

For some reason, I am not immediately drawn to books written by American authors. I find their style to be very different from British and Irish authors, and I find a lot of "Americanisms" odd and when I don't get them, it annoys me. However, this book was fantastic, it drew me in straight away with a fun first person narrative from a character that I straight away loved, and I forgot I was reading a book written by an American! I am quite ruthless and if I don't like a book, I won't carry on reading it so this must have been good to keep me going, especially considering the size of the book as well!

A lot of female fiction is about relationships, fidelity and all things related to those topics. However, this story is slightly different because it isn't written from the side of the wronged wife or the mistress, but instead from someone who is intending to see if a man is going to cheat on his spouse. The whole idea does make me a bit uncomfortable but in the context of a fictional story, it works well and makes for very good reading indeed. Brody has really captured the essence of this story, not just making life sweet and easy for Jennifer, instead also choosing to focus on the not-so-nice side of the job too and this was very readable and intriguing.

Jennifer was a fabulous character, and a really brilliant narrator too, which really helps the books appeal for me. I think with a story like this one where the job of the main character is a bit questionable, you have to like them and luckily Brody has written Jessica in such a way that she's a nice person who genuinely thinks she is doing a good thing for people. Jennifer's relationships in the book were similar to those of the couples she is helping in the book, in that none of them are completely honest. However, this works well in the book because you want it to work out for Jen and her friends, and I just wanted to keep reading to see if they were ever going to find out anything!

The only other characters that pop up were her 3 best friends, and even then we don't see very much of them. The story is very much focussed on Jessica and her life, and the fact we see so little of them is testament to how much she sees them herself. The book seems to try to reflect real life in that aspect, and Brody does this very well and in a very readable way. Although the book travels across America, and indeed other places too, there isn't much description of them because of Jen's job, all we hear about is her job and its a shame because it would have been nice to hear something about the places, but I guess this wasn't the aim of the book in the first place!

If you are after a very entertaining read that will stay with you for a while after you have finished reading it, then look out for a copy of The Fidelity Files. It is a well-written and enjoyable story that sways away from the normal sort of storylines that many chick lit authors use again and again, and puts a spin on the whole "affairs" plot. The book moved at a really good pace, and with believable twists as well which is always good in a book like this. The author has written a follow up due out later this year that follows the characters and I am very much looking forward to that release because I loved the characters in this book, Brody did such a good job of making them likeable and I really can't wait to see what happens next. A super book and highly recommended for chick-lit fans.

Rating: 5/5


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