23 April 2010

Book Review: Wild Things by Jo Carnegie

The Churchminster residents are thrilled when a glamorous film crew descends on their quiet village. But with just four months to prepare for the final of the 'Britain's Best Village Competition', the chaotic filming schedule may do more damage than good. Meanwhile Camilla grows suspicious of the attention boyfriend Jed is receiving from the film's demanding leading lady. And younger sister Calypso has caught the penetrating eye of dashing leading man 'Rafe Wolfe'. Brim-full with lavish garden parties, illicit affairs, sordid shenanigans and a sneaky bit of sabotage, not to mention a spot of fund-raising with 'Churchminster's Got Talent!

This is the third in a series of books set in the village of Churchminster, and it's the second in the set that I have actually read myself. The first book, Country Pursuits, is the one I haven't read, but I thoroughly enjoyed the second outing calling Naked Truths which was released late last year. Surprisingly, the third book has already been released, just 6 months after it's predecessor but I was very much looking forward to meeting up with the Churchmister gang again. I have to say when I saw the purple and green cover I really wasn't keen because the two just seem to clash, but in reality it's much nicer than the image you are seeing on your computer screen, thank goodness!

The book has a slightly different shift of focus from the previous book, so if you were expecting it to pick up where the last one left off, then it's not I'm afraid! The characters who were the major players in the last book aren't so much around in this book such as Caro and her family, instead the focus shifts on to residents of Churchminster itself, not those based outside of it. We meet Granny Clem, an old lady who is Churchminster through and through, her grand-daughters Calypso, who runs an events business but is a bit of a free spirit, and Camilla who's happily settled with Jed but more desperate for a baby than she expected.

The fun bit about the book is the arrival of a big Hollywood movie into the sleepy Churchminster village, just when they are trying to win the 'Best British Village' competition. With it comes the arrival of Sophia, the leading lady who is used to every man she meets falling under her spell whether or not they are otherwise engaged, and leading heart-throb Rafe who sets pulses racing around the village. Jo has captured the chaos of the movie's descent on the village perfectly, and it was fun to read about all the mishaps, and the way the residents went mad over it's arrival too.

The book is quite fast paced, and there are a lot of characters to get your head around initially, not really helped by the fact the 3 leading ladies all begin with the letter C, and I did find myself getting a little confused at the beginning for a while! However, once you are into the story, there is no problem at all, and you'll enjoy the journey of finding out what mad things are going to happen to the villagers next! It's quite a sexy read with some saucy scenes throughout with various couples, but they aren't out of place in the book in any way, and fitted in perfectly with the story. I enjoyed the ending too, it was a nice touch that things didn't go how I expected them too, and I'm glad Carnegie didn't take the easy route!

If you enjoyed the first two books by Jo Carnegie, then you'll definitely want to pick up a copy of Wild Things! The book was originally titled "Role Play" but I think the new one suits it much better overall. The characters are great fun and get up to things I certainly won't ever do, I loved Calypso in particular who really is the life and soul of the book, and old Granny Clem was pretty fun too! However, what I enjoyed most about the book was the serious storyline involving one of the characters that really took me by surprise but was so well done by Carnegie that I just have to mention it. She approached with a subtlety that befits the topic and its good to see such an important issue being raised in Women's fiction, well done Jo! It's a very enjoyable read, lots of fun and will definitely be a great beach read!

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

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