2 April 2010

Book Review: Scandalous by Martel Maxwell

Meet Max and Lucy Summers – half-sisters and the best of friends. Max is a gorgeous showbiz reporter whose life is a whirlwind of celebrity parties, glamorous bars, juicy gossip and gorgeous men. Lucy, a beautiful, elegant fashion writer, has always been the sensible one, taking care of her little sister and never seeking the limelight. But that all changes when she falls for Hartley, Britain’s sexiest royal bachelor, and her lovelife is suddenly splashed across the front pages of the tabloids.

When Hartley's ex-girlfriend starts scheming to get her man back, Lucy realizes that she’s up against more than just the paparazzi… Meanwhile Max, tired of the non-stop partying that her job entails, has finally met the perfect man but when she finds out who he really is, she realizes that they can’t be together. Can Max walk away from the love of her life? And will Lucy play the fame game in order to keep hers?

This is Martel Maxwell's debut novel, and what a good one it is. Martel used to a journalist/showbiz reporter for The Sun, so I did wonder when I was reading this book how much of this is based on Martel's real life experience with celebrities because some of the stuff that happens in the book is pretty outrageous and would be great if it was real! The cover of the book is pretty glam, with lovely bold pinks and purples that is sure to stand out on the shelf, and I think it'll be a hit for people who like a real - not necessarily a bonk buster of a story - but something a little more gritty and celeb oriented that your usual chick lit.

The characters of Max and Lucy are really great, and very likeable. When you have a plot that focuses mainly of 2 women, they have to be likeable because obviously the main audience of this book is going to be women too, and if the characters aren't right, the readers aren't going to like them either. Luckily, I really did like Max. She's a young showbiz columnist for a newspaper, and while she loves her job, she doesn't like some of the stuff that goes with it. I enjoyed her journey throughout the book and think the way Maxwell has portrayed her is really good because she is such a likeable character, despite her slightly brash exterior when she's in "job mode".

Lucy, her sister, is nice but maybe a little too perfect for some. She never seemed to step a foot wrong throughout the whole book, and while that's nice enough, I enjoyed Max a little more because she had her flaws and that made her seem a little more realistic. The blossoming relationship with Lucy and Hartley was well done throughout the book, and I loved the little chapters that appeared with Hartley's evil ex, they added a little something extra to the book that I really enjoyed. It was the relationship between the pair that I found most fun to read though, and think that Maxwell has done a good job with her cast overall.

The setting for the book is London, but does flit around to other places at times too. I loved how Martel has drawn on her experiences as a journalist and this comes across in the book because of the confident way she writes about the job and Max as a character within her job. As I mentioned before, I'd love to know how many of these stories are based on things that have actually happened, and if any characters are based on real life celebs too! The showbiz parties that Max attends are great to imagine, yes some of it is quite strong with sexual references and drugs, but that is to be expected in a book like this, and didn't feel out of place to me at all. Lots of designer labels were name dropped throughout the book which was quite relentless, but again seemed to be in-keeping with the rest of the book, even if I didn't know half of them!

The writing is very easy to read, and again I think this is due to Martel's journalism career.I found that the book moved along at a really good pace, chopping and changing between Max and Lucy at good points, and I felt it easy to keep up with both stories without a problem. For a debut novel, I think that this is really good and I think that Martel is going to have a successful career ahead of her. I loved the book, thought it was a really fun read that would be perfect to take on holiday with you, and I definitely recommend it!

Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review.


  1. Just got a copy of this and can't wait to read it! Glad to hear you liked it!

  2. I saw Martel talking about this on Sky News with Eamon Holmes and it sounds as if a lot of the novel is based on Martel's life, which sounds encouraging as my only critism of some chicklits is that they can sometimes be a bit frothy. I also can't believe the Tom Cruise story!!? I'm a fan of the more grippy chicklits and enjoy Marian Keyes because she's not afraid to tackle issues others do not touch.
    Thanks for the review, Scandalous is definately on my wish list! Love the site!

  3. I read it and LOVED it. Your review was super accurate. It was like BEING showbiz reporter. I felt like a fly on the wall. I laughed out loud so many times and even cried. I agree there was quite a lot of sex and drugs but thank goodness as I want a gritty read and that is sometimes hard to find. But there was sweetness and romance in there too. And I loved how Lucy was so different and mixed with the aristocracy - that was quite an eye-opener too. I ended the book stumped as to who I wanted to be - Lucy or Max. Still deciding. A bit of both I think. Wonderful. The best book I've read in ages.