This week I’ve been reading:
Perfect Strangers by Tasmina Perry (£12.99, Headline)
Sophie Ellis used to be a typical spoilt Chelsea girl, wanting for nothing, until her wealthy father lost his fortune through a bad investment and then suffered a heart attack and died. We meet Sophie at her dad’s funeral as she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her father – and her lavish lifestyle. She finds herself a bedsit and a job working part-time in a gym, where she meets the glamorous Lana who asks her to do some personal training for her. After one of their sessions, Lana asks Sophie to house sit for her at her posh mansion while she’s on holiday. Sophie can’t believe her luck – or the pile of invitations of the mantelpiece that Lana has left. So she and her friend gatecrash an exclusive party and rub shoulders with London’s elite. There she meets Nick, who whisks her off her feet – and into bed! They spend the next week wrapped up in each other, until one morning when she leaves his hotel suite and comes back to find him dead on the bathroom floor… Sophie finds herself a witness and possible suspect in the murder inquiry, and is thrown into a dangerous world of gangsters, guns and glamour that takes her from Chelsea to Paris, LA and the south of France. She starts to realises that nothing – and no one – is as it seems…
This is one of the most pacey and entertaining and books I’ve read all summer. Tasmina Perry is brilliant at painting the glamorous but shallow world of Chelsea socialites, complete with vintage champagne, designer dresses and massive chandeliers. And as the story develops, so does the suspense and mystery around each character, so you’re left wondering whether Sophie – and you as the reader – should trust what she sees and hears. Perfect escapism!
I’ve also been reading:
Every Vow You Break by Julia Crouch (£6.99, Headline)
This is another book that had me on the edge of my seat, but at the same time it’s completely different from Perfect Strangers. Lara and her family are spending the summer in America as her jobbing-actor husband, Marcus, has got a part in a small theatre production of Macbeth, where his agent promises some hot-shot talent spotters are likely to drop in. The couple, their 16-year-old twins Olly and Bella and small son Jack, arrive in Trout Island and feel the full force of the scorching-hot humidity. As they settle into the strange, dusty house they’re staying for the summer and are welcomed by James and his partner Betty, old friends of the family who are as camp as Christmas, James tells them he has a surprise for them: the famous actor Stephen Molloy is staying near by. They know Stephen from back in the day when the men were starting their acting careers, but haven’t seen him since he left abruptly 17 years ago. But for Lara he was always more than just a friend, and she finds herself increasingly drawn to him and away from her husband, who she realises has always been second best to what might have been with Stephen. But that’s not all Lara has to worry about – there’s a strange tension between the twins, Bella’s new boyfriend, Olly’s weed-smoking mates, as well as some unexplained and perturbing accidents – plus a shadowy figure on the edge of everything who always seems to be watching…
This is a really well-written story that draws you in with each chapter. The suffocating heat of Trout Island is reflected in the rising tension of the book and you’re left constantly on edge wondering what will happen next. The dark undertones fill you with foreboding as the story builds to its conclusion and secrets are revealed. An absorbing, unsettling read that will keep you gripped right to the end.
Have you read these books – what did you think? Tell me what you’ve been reading this week on Twitter @Fabfrosty