16 October 2012

Book Review: Shopping With The Enemy by Carmen Reid

"The opponents : mothers vs. daughters

The battle scene : a boutique changing room

Fashion-guru Annie’s well-dressed world is falling apart – first she’s lost her legendary sense of style, and now her daughter Lana seems to have become her worst enemy. Even her multi-millionairess friend, Svetlana, is having daughter trouble – she’s at war with Elena over their business in New York.

A trip to a luxurious Italian spa seems like the perfect way to forget her problems. But celery juice and Pilates can’t solve the disasters that are about to strike . . .

Will Annie rescue her passion for fashion?

And can mothers and daughters ever truly be friends?"

Rating: 3.5/5

I love a good book series, so when I found out Carmen Reid was writing a 6th book in her Annie Valentine series, I was really pleased and looking forward to catching up with Annie and co, and finding out what they are up to now! I've read all 5 books up until this one, but as usual, you don't have to have read the previous novels to read this one, although it of course helps to know the back story when you're reading. I have to be honest and say that I didn't like the cover for this one - it looked a bit cheap and like the publishers hadn't put a huge amount of effort into it either. I couldn't work out initially who the two women on the front were meant to be either. Now I've finished it, I can safely say I enjoyed the book, but am still not sold on that cover!

Annie feels like she's losing her fashion mojo. She doesn't 'get' any of the fashion on the catwalks or in the shops - it's like she's rewound back to when she was younger and she doesn't know what to do with it. For someone who presents a fashion show, this isn't a good thing. Annie's daughter Lana now lives and work in New York, working with Elena, her colleague at Perfect Dress, their new company which is doing reasonably well. However, when Annie's billionaire friend Svetlana offers Annie the opportunity for some much needed R&R at an Italian spa, Annie jumps at the chance. But as usual, things with Svetlana never quite go to plan and Annie's peaceful break is quickly shattered. Will she be able to help her friend in her hour of need, and save her failing relationship with her daughter before it's too late?!

I was wondering where Reid would be able to go with these characters, as I felt a lot had happened to Annie and her family in the previous 5 books, and whether any further stories starring them would be realistic enough to be believable, or not. I was surprised that the main story of this book didn't really involve fashion at all, and was actually based around Svetlana, not Annie herself. The more secondary storyline with Annie's daughter Lana and their company Perfect Dress was more enjoyable, and I liked reading about the younger members of the cast, and seeing the fire the girls had in their bellies about their product and fashion. Annie seemed a little bit tired and old in this book, and I felt like she wasn't at all the same person we had in the earlier books which was a shame. I didn't like Svetlana much either, she's a bit too much for me and I don't like her attitude and how she treats Annie.

I don't want to spoil much of the storyline for you, but the plot with Annie and Svetlana wasn't something at all I expected to find within the pages of this book. It was quite to fun to read about, completely mad because of the people involved but Reid did manage to touch on Svetlana's desperation very well, and it was a well written storyline. I enjoyed the travel across Europe, it certainly made a change, but I also loved the scenes in New York too, from Lana and Elena's small Fifth Avenue office to the clubs they visit and the other things they get up to. It's certainly an international book, and there's always something going on to keep the reader entertained. If I'm honest though, it isn't my favourite of the Annie Valentine series, there just seemed something missing for me.

Overall, this was a good read that I was happy to pick up and enjoy to pass the time, but as I said it wasn't my favourite of the series by a long shot. It moves quite a way away from fashion in the book, mainly staying linked through Lana rather than Annie, and I missed the old Annie, she seemed to have lost some of her sparkle within this book which was a pity. I do wonder if this book spells the end for Annie and co, I wonder how much further they can go as a series, and if so, this would be a good final book for Annie. Shopping With The Enemy is a book you'll want to read if you've read the rest of the series simply to find out what's happening next, but if you haven't, it's an enjoyable light-hearted read.

You can buy Shopping with the Enemy as a paperback or an eBook now!

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