11 October 2011

Book Review: The Camera Never Lies by Tess Daly

Britt Baxter is unaware of the effect she has on people. A big-hearted, no-nonsense northern girl, she naturally looks for the best in everyone she meets, but in her attempts to make it as model she finds she struggles against being pinned down on the casting couch by the most unlikely people. So when a happy accident lands her a career as a presenter on breakfast television, it looks as if she has made it out of the modelling world of close-ups and cattle calls and into the big time - or at least daytime TV. But scarcely has Britt had time to wonder at how far she has come, when backstage machinations propel her with ever increasing speed through a series of trapdoors and she soon realises that the drama backstage far eclipses anything that happens in front of the camera.

I'm still in two minds when it comes to celebrity novels - they seem to either be really good or really bad, and it's always a bit of a gamble when you try a new book because you never know what you're going to get. I don't think you can ever be 100% sure that a celebrity has written the book themselves without the aid of a ghost writer either, and while I haven't found anything about Tess Daly that suggests she has used a ghost writer, it's a very tight and well written book for a debut, so if it was all done by Tess, then all credit to her. I have to say the cover isn't overly inspiring and I never like it when an author name is bigger than the book title, which is usually the case for celeb books, but aside from those things, I think this is one of the better celeb books that's been released this year, and I think Tess Daly might actually do quite well with this one.

Britt Baxter is the leading lady in this one, a blonde northern bombshell so clearly Daly didn't look far for inspiration on this one!! However, I really liked the character of Britt and perhaps that is why I enjoyed the book so much. She was quite normal and reacted to situations in a believable way, and I felt she was just a likeable person overall. She's a model who is about to get put on the shelf (despite the fact she's only in her late 20's!) and feels a bit stuck in her life at the moment. Britt's relationship with boyfriend Alex is getting a bit stale too, and she doesn't know what to do. I didn't like the character of Alex and couldn't work out why Britt didn't try to make a difference in their relationship earlier on, but this is just a small thing.

It's hard to talk about the book without talking about Britt's special job in TV, and I expect Daly took a lot of inspiration for this from her own experience on TV, such as on Strictly Come Dancing which she currently presents. However, I felt it was a realistic look at the behind-the-scenes on a successful TV show, and it was well written that you really felt you were there and watching Britt from the sidelines. I enjoyed seeing Britt's character develop as she became more confident on-screen, although I didn't like her friendship with American hunk Josh at all, I could see the ending of that one coming a million miles off! The other characters at the TV show were realistic, and I felt that whole portion of the book was very realistic and well approached by Daly.

I have to admit the constant name dropping of designers did really get to me at first, to the point where I wanted to put the book down simply because I didn't think it was necessary to name drop designers and labels so frequently, but I decided to perservere and I'm glad that I did. In the end, these things just glossed over me and I wasn't too bothered by it, but I did feel it was a bit too much and over the top which was a shame. However, the rest of it was realistic and enjoyable, to the point where I didn't want to put it down as I wanted to find out what was going to happen to Britt Baxter next. I didn't like the turn her character took in the middle third of the book, but luckily the old Britt I knew and loved did come back towards the end thankfully. For a celebrity read, this is one I definitely would recommend, and think Daly has done really well with this novel. There is a great set of characters, a good story that'll keep you reading and it's well written - well done to Tess Daly for breaking the celebrity novelist mould and producing something readable and good!

1 comment:

  1. Love Tess so was going to read this anyway but even happier that it sounds so good!