6 December 2013

eBook Review: Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge

"Swapping downstairs for upstairs… How hard can it be!? 

Look up the phrase ordinary girl and you’ll see a picture of me, Gemma Goodwin – I only look half-decent after applying the entire contents of my make-up bag, and my dating track-record includes a man who treated me to dinner…at a kebab shop. No joke! 

The only extraordinary thing about me is that I look EXACTLY like my BFF, Abbey Croxley. Oh, and that for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve agreed to swap identities and pretend be her to star in the TV show about her aristocratic family’s country estate, Million Dollar Mansion. 

So now it’s not just my tan I’m faking – it’s Kate Middleton style demure hemlines and lady-like manners too. And amongst the hundreds of fusty etiquette rules I’m trying to cram into my head, there are two I really must remember; 1) No-one can ever find out that I’m just Gemma, who’d be more at home in the servants quarters. And 2) There can be absolutely no flirting with Abbey’s dishy but buttoned-up cousin, Lord Edward. 

Aaargh, this is going to be harder than I thought…"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Doubting Abbey as an eBook now.

I was asked by author Samantha Tonge to review her new book with publishers Carina, called Doubting Abbey. According to the internet, it is perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, a show I have no interest in whatsoever so I was a bit nervous when I started it that it really wouldn't be my cup of tea at all. However, I decided I had to give it a chance and I'm really pleased that I did because I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was quite different from other things I have read lately and had me laughing away at points. I also loved the cover, although I do have to note the similarities between it's title format and that of Lindsey Kelk's 'I Heart...' series... perhaps designed to draw readers of that popular book series in?!

Gemma Goodwin works as a waitress, likes her short skirts, tight clothes and layering on the make-up. So when she is asked by her flatmate, the aristocrat Abbey Croxley to pretend to be her for a few weeks at her crumbling family home Applebridge Hall, for the popular TV show Million Dollar Mansion, Gemma is sure she can't pull it off. With a crash course in manners, etiquette and dressing like Abbey, Gemma is thrown in at the deep end with Abbey's cousin Lord Edward and the rest of the family. Gemma is sure she will found out and kicked out of the home, but as time goes on, Gemma finds herself adapting to the role of Abbey quite well. But will she be able to save the Croxley family home before it's too late, and win the TV show's huge prize?!

As I said before, I'm not really a fan of Downton Abby and have never seen an episode, so I was wondering how much I would enjoy this. Luckily, I needn't have worried and that's mainly due to the brilliant lead character Gemma, otherwise known as Abbey in the book. She's a pretty normal girl, happy with her life until she's thrown into a world that is completely alien to her. This of course leads to lots of hilarious calamities that Gemma finds herself in, mainly because she had good intentions but they don't always come off for her, and it really does make you smile and cringe at the same time! Gemma really does try so hard to be Abbey though, and you really love her for it, although my favourite part of Gemma was when she was being herself, observing what was going on around her, very funny!

Another of my favourite characters in the book was the brilliant Lord Edward. He's a stuffy aristocrat, but Gemma is sure there is more to him than meets the eye. Included at the start of chapters in the book is his blog, his first outing online like this actually and it really brings a smile to your face! You do see a different side to him here, and I liked the inclusion of it, it certainly gives the book something different. The descriptions of the house and the other members of it too were excellent, everything from the lavish grounds to the bedrooms, from the cook to the TV crew who descended on the house were well written and brought to life on the pages so well. I did fall in love with Applebridge Hall, it sounded perfect despite it's few flaws, and you really do want the poor old building to win the money and get a second chance at being fabulous again for the Croxley's!

The book was a really good read, and I really enjoyed the whole read. It was very amusing from start to finish, and the trials and tribulations of poor old Gemma definitely put a smile of your face and keep you turning the pages ready for more! The Croxley's suspicions about "Abbey", lovely Lord Edward, and a bit of competition makes for a page-turning read, and I found it so easy to read, and was able to pick it up and dive straight back into the story immediately because I was so involved in it, and was really hoping for a happy ending for the Croxley's and Applebridge Hall! Samantha Tonge's debut novel is a real fun read, and definitely one I can recommend. It's not a festive read despite the cover perhaps hinting at that, but it was still a great story, even for those of us who don't like Downton like me! A lovely, easy-to-read, enjoyable book.

1 comment:

  1. I've been wondering whether to get this one. Think I will now after reading your review :)