26 July 2013

Book Review: Party Games by Jo Carnegie


I'm Vanessa Powell.

People think they know me because I'm famous. They think I've got the world at my feet and the husband every woman wants to marry.

But fame can be a lonely place and the perfect marriage can be even lonelier. Now someone's come into my life who makes me feel alive.

For the first time ever, I'm thinking about what I really want. No matter what the consequences."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Party Games as a paperback or an eBook now.

I love Jo Carnegie's novels, and have read all of her 'Churchminster' series of books, which were fantastic bonkbusters that you could really lose yourself in! With her latest book Party Games, Carnegie has moved away from the village of Churchminster and the familiar characters and introduced us to a whole set of brand new ones. This time, we're in the village of Beeversham where things aren't quite as picture perfect as they may seem. I really loved the book, and the cover is bold and fun looking too. Carnegie hasn't failed me yet in her deliverance of brilliant summer reads, and luckily she didn't let me down with this one either!

Vanessa Powell seems to have it all. Married to handsome TV actor Connor, living in a huge mansion house in a quiet village, and all the money she could ever want. But behind her glitzy facade, Vanessa is a very sad and lonely woman. What could she do to make herself more happy? Catherine had a successful career as a magazine editor, but has now settled down to country life with her loving husband. But Catherine is worried that the quiet life means that she's forgetting about the more exciting side of life, like the one she had in London. Finally, there's Fleur, who is trying desperately to save her family farm from financial ruin. When local hotshot playboy Beau starts making eyes at the farm, Fleur is worried she's going to lose it all forever. Will Fleur, Vanessa and Catherine be able to make their lives in Beeversham a little happier or are they destined for a life of upset and misery?

I have to say that right from the start of this novel, I loved it and I was completely taken in to this new world around Beeversham and it's residents, and I couldn't wait to see what secrets the village was going to hold within. I don't want to spoil it by talking too much about the story because I really enjoyed finding out what was happening as I read, and not knowing anything about it made it all the better for reading it. However, the twists and turns as I read were fantastic and really kept me hooked, and the main crux of the story involving Catherine was completely unexpected, and was actually quite a breath of fresh air! It isn't a subject I've ever read a lot about in chick lit before so I was surprised to see it in the book but it worked really well. Beeversham, the new village, sounds picture perfect, with its rolling hills and countryside, gorgeous mansions and eccentric villagers and I found Carnegie's writing really brings it to life from the pages and into your mind.

The main three characters are brilliant to read about, and between them there is plenty of scandal, shocks and loving going on as well! Catherine is happily married but her inability to conceive is slowly destroying her marriage. She's a troubled character, unable to settle for the quiet life and missing the buzz her London job gave her. I liked her emotional back story as well, I felt Carnegie balanced all aspects of this character well and I really warmed to her. Vanessa seems like a spoilt princess, expecting everything that she wants given to her but is sad behind the happy facade she puts on to the villagers and the press. I actually felt really sorry for her, she was definitely trapped, and needed a way out that wouldn't destroy her beyond repair. As the book progresses, we see other sides to Vanessa and it shows you can't judge a person by how they present themselves to everyone around them!

Finally, there's farm girl Fleur who is desperately trying to save her family farm from financial ruin, after her father is losing the plot after his wife's death. Her storyline with local playboy Beau is really intriguing and I was constantly left wondering whether there would be a happy ending or if he had ulterior motives. The three women, and the funny villagers were brilliant to read about, and I really enjoyed reading about a new cast of characters to get involved with. There was a lot going on in the book and I really had to concentrate as I was reading, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and Carnegie is able to bring these villages and their inhabitants totally to life with her writing, you really can lose yourself amongst the pages of this book. It's a big old book with lots of sex, scandal and surprises within, and it's the perfect escapist read this summer. It's a real page-turner, and I loved it. Read it now!

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