17 March 2011

Book Review: Getting Away With It by Julie Cohen

"Liza Haven couldn't wait to escape the small village where she grew up with her perfect identical twin sister, Lee. Her life in LA as a stunt woman is reckless, fast and free - and that's just the way she likes it. But when a near-fatal mistake drives her home, she finds Lee gone and everyone in the village mistaking her for her twin sister. Liza has to deal with her ailing mother, the family ice cream business, and Lee's dangerously attractive boyfriend. Liza's always been the bad twin, but as she struggles to keep up the masquerade and puzzle out where her sister has gone, she realises it's not so simple. She's spent her whole life getting away with it - is it finally time to face up to who she really is and where she really belongs?"

Rating: 5/5

The book focuses of Liza Haven as our main character, and her twin sister Lee as the more minor character, but none the less she is still very much involved in the book. Liza has a pretty free life, doing daredevil stunts for money in the Hollywood film industry, whilst phoning her sister for updates once a month if she remembers. Liza isn't close to her family, and feels better off miles away where they can't bother her. However, when she has a shocking acciddent, Liza wants to be closer with her sister and so returns home to Stoneguard much to Lee's delight. She doesn't expect though for her sister to abandon her without a word on the eve of a special party leaving Liza to pick up the pieces and this is where the fun begins.

Liza becomes Lee... she answers to her name, takes on her lifestyle, even the care of the mother she hasn't spoken to for 10 years. I really thought Liza would be caught out early on, I have friends who are identical twins and can tell them apart in an instant yet the town of Stoneguard was fooled by Liza's deception, and I was constantly on edge wondering when someone would twig. Liza's main problem comes in the way of Lee's on/off boyfriend Will Naughton, a rather posh "Lord of the Manor" type who Liza can't stand... it causes a few funny moments when she reacts as Liza when she should be Lee! The other characters in the town, from Doris at the Haven's ice-cream shop to Ma Gamble, the town busybody were all perfectly written, and I'm sure we all know a "Ma Gamble" in our own town!

Perhaps the most touching thing about this book is the storyline between Liza and her mother. She has terminal Alzheimer's disease and refuses to take treatment for it, preferring to stay at home alone with just a carer for company until "Lee" can come and see her. Cohen has tackled this issue of this awful and destroying disease very well, showing it not just affects the sufferer but those around them too, and how important it is to have your friends and family around you. Liza's character struggled with it at first, and it was very moving to read how she came to create a relationship with her mother despite the fact she didn't always know who she was, and by the end it was very emotional and touching to read. I like how this more serious plot was easily mixed in with the twin-switch storyline, and it was very well done indeed.

Overall, I thought this was a superb book and I am so glad that I picked it up to read it. From the gorgeous cover to the excellent story within, there isn't anything to dislike about this book and I felt quite sad when it was over. However, I fully expect that Cohen will continue to write stand alone novels, because there is certainly room in the market for fabulous chick lit like this. I loved every page, every character, and Liza was the perfect lead character - she was funny, kind and natural all the way through, there was nothing to hate about her, even though she was deceiving everyone. I can't recommend this book highly enough, it's just brilliant!

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