10 April 2013

Book Review: A Family Scandal by Zoe Miller

"The Rock Star

It is twenty years since rock musician Zach Anderson plunged to his death. When media interest in the incident is re-ignited, hidden tensions fracture the glamorous facade of the Morgan family, totally changing their lives.

The Sisters

Twenty years after this tragedy, the Morgan sisters Ellie, Miranda and their half-sister Lucy, Zach Anderson's love child, find themselves in the harsh glare of the media spotlight once more.

His Legacy

Beautiful fashion designer Ellie has spent her life trying to forget Zach Anderson so flees Dublin for the anonymity of New York.

Miranda, desperate to spread her wings, reclaims her life in the vibrant city of Hong Kong.

And in London, fashion model Lucy is full of unresolved questions about her father's death.

But what secrets are they all hiding? And will their love for one another hold them together or tear them apart?"

You can buy A Family Scandal as a paperback or an eBook now.

Rating: 5/5

I read my first of Zoe Miller's novel last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Rival Passions was a fun read, and I was surprised that after reading it that it had taken me so long to pick up one of Zoe's books! Therefore when I received a review copy of Zoe's latest book A Family Scandal (published in the UK by Piatkus), I immediately stuck it at the top of my to-read pile because I was so eager to get stuck and reading it as soon as I could! Luckily, it didn't disappoint, and I whizzed through the book in just a couple of evenings as I was so keen to get to the end and find out what was going to happen!

The book is about 3 sisters, who have very big life differences and don't always get on. There's eldest sister Ellie, a fashion designer who's in a relationship but isn't sure that it's forever; middle sister Miranda who has fled across the world to Hong Kong where she feels she isn't living the shadows of her sisters, and their younger half-sister Lucy, who is the daughter of tragic rock star Zach Anderson, and a fashion model in her own right. It's the 20th anniversary of Zach's death, and the sisters are more deeply affected than they will let on, and turn to each other at the tough time. But when things happen that threaten the relationship between the Morgan sisters, will they be pushed together or pulled further apart than ever?

This story dove straight in to the action, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The Morgan sisters are introduced to us one by one, and their life and story is roughly explained to the reader so we know who is who, and what is going on. It continues this way throughout the book actually, and it allows us to follow each of the sisters throughout the book and across the world without being too confusing as well. Miller's writing throughout is seamless, and I found it so easy to keep up despite the chopping and changing of who the book is following, and everything that is going on throughout. I liked the use of the third person narrative which was the perfect voice for the book, and Miller writes the three women in particular so well, that by the end of the book you really feel like you know the Morgan sisters.

While we see perhaps the least of Miranda in Hong Kong, I enjoyed her story and her "middle child" syndrome too, and you can see how being away from her family makes her a stronger person which is interesting. The book does mainly focus on the other sisters, Lucy and Ellie who were great characters. Lucy is a bit of a spoiled brat to be honest, used to getting what she wants thanks to her looks, and doesn't seem to appreciate a great deal. However, the death of her father when she was a baby clearly still affects her, and I liked how this brought out a softer side to her as the book progressed. She was the main part in another important part of the story involving a stranger called Ian who weaves himself into the lives of the Morgan family, and is a bit of a mystery... this part of the book was fantastic and it really helps with the tension and excitement towards the end of the story.

Ellie is perhaps the character I liked the most. She is the eldest of the sisters, and feels the responsibility of this all the time, especially towards Lucy. You do feel very sorry for her as the book goes on, but I liked how she took off to New York to try and get over the betrayal she suffered, and starts to try and make a new life and new friends over the pond. In the book, Miller highlights the delicate bond between sisters, and how even the smallest betrayal can tear them apart, and I was really hoping that the Morgan sisters could forgive each other by the end of the book. As I mentioned, the book flits from Ireland to London, Hong Kong and New York, and Miller writes the places so well you can clearly picture them all as you are reading. I especially loved the parts in Hong Kong, I felt they really stood out in my mind and were good to read.

This was a fantastic read that I enjoyed from start to finish. It's quite a detailed book in that you have to concentrate and follow what is going on with the characters, but once you are into it, it's a joy to read and there was plenty going on to keep you interested. The family dynamics were interesting, and you can see how the bonds between the sisters are stretched to breaking point. I liked the sinister overtones that lie throughout the book, and the inclusion of the mysterious Ian makes it all the more intriguing, you're desperate to keep reading to find out more about him! I loved this, and Miller's writing is a joy to read from beginning to end. I can't wait to read Miller's next book, she's certainly become an author I really want to read!

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