5 June 2009

Book Review: Flawless by Tilly Bagshawe

tillybagshaweflawlessScarlett Drummond Murray is an ex-model turned jewellery designer and is doing well for herself in London. But when Scarlett starts getting involved with her campaign Trade Fair to get people to take note of bad treatment of diamond miners, things start to become sinister for Scarlett.

Diamond mogul Brogan O'Donnell isn't happy his mines are being bad-mouthed and sets out for revenge. London twins and diamond dealers Jake and Danny Meyer are also caught up in the corrupt world, and their lives are taking turns they didn't quite expect along the way.

Who will come out on top in the ruthless diamond world?

I first came across Tilly Bagshawe when I read her previous novel Do Not Disturb, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So when the chance came to read this, I jumped at it and I'm glad I did. It certainly lived up to Tilly's other works, and for me is perhaps her best yet. This book is set in the diamond world, travelling from London to LA to Scotland and back again. Bagshawe has clearly done her research because the book is packed with facts and information about diamonds, the diamond world and all that is involved with it.

Bagshawe has chosen to tell her story through quite a few characters, and I felt that this really worked for this book. She uses a third person narration which helps the story to be told fluently and seamlessly which is crucial when telling a story using multiple viewpoints. Scarlett is the lead character, and all other threads of the story inevitably lead back to her which keeps the story tight and together. She's a strong, independent business woman who is distancing herself from the family estate up in Scotland, but also getting into trouble through her Trade Fair work. The twists and turns kept me really interested in the book, but I also liked Scarlett as a character too. Bagshawe likes her strong female leads, and Scarlett is definitely no different.

Bagshawe puts a big of light-hearted relief in the form of cockney Jewish twins Jake and Danny Meyer. They don't care how they come by their diamonds, and sell them at extortionate prices, often enjoying a little something extra from the rich women of Hollywood. I really liked these characters even though they are both cads, and the banter Jake had with Scarlett was amusing, although I could see right through it at times! The other main characters are Brogan and Diana O'Donnell. Brogan is a diamond dealer, and has mines in Russia which are becoming controversial thanks to Scarlett's Trade Fair campaign. He vows revenge and he's the baddy of the book, willing to stoop to real lows to get his way. As a character he was well written, and sat well in contrast to goody-goody Scarlett in the story.

Although the characters were great, this isn't what made the book so good for me. Bagshawe really has done her research when it comes to diamonds, diamond mines and all things to do with the industry. She talks convincingly of conditions in the mines, the different stones and ways they are set into jewellery and the competitive jewellery world. This sort of writing allows a reader to grasp the world they are reading about, and makes it far more enjoyable because you understand the subject. Bagshawe doesn't shy away from the seedy side of it either, the rich dealers selling to the rich Hollywood wives and what goes on at these sales, but it just makes the book a bit more exciting and fun to read! There are quite a few sex scenes in the book, but they don't seem gratuitous or out of place.

I do recommend this book because it's such a fun yet interesting read. Bagshawe has a talent for creating a world for her readers that allow you to totally lose yourself in, and characters that lead the story well and that you actually like! The diamond world was fascinating reading, and the book is very glamorous throughout, just like its world. The book is long and seems to go on forever (although not in a bad way) but wraps up well with a satisfactory if quick conclusion. I found myself wanting to pick it up eagerly in the evenings and was loath to put it down, so that says something for the book! It's highly recommended from me, and a really fun and intriguing read.

Rating: 5/5

My review has also appeared at http://www.thebookbag.co.uk

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