This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Personal shopper Annie Valentine is about to hit the big time: presenting a glamorous TV makeover series! But too late, Annie discovers this is TV on a shoestring – her budget is zip. Can she make do with Primark when all she wants is Prada? While Annie performs miracles with the minimum, boyfriend Ed is left at home with one son (deeply green), one daughter (deeply teen) and one sexy, Russian blonde (don’t ask). He wants more together-time. He wants a dog. He may even want…a baby! But could non-stop, fame-seeking Annie ever handle that?
I haven’t read any of the previous ‘Personal Shopper’ books by Carmen Reid, and I was worried about whether this would hinder my reading experience. However all of the characters are introduced in a way that doesn’t alienate fresh readers, which is great.
The book however, was just not my cup of tea, I’m afraid. Of course there were many good points, including the character of Ed, Annie’s ‘put upon’ husband who came across as a well rounded, real person. The concept of the novel, despite the overdone subject matter, was executed brilliantly with the unique setting of a budget tv makeover show.
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BUT I just could not get going with the character of Annie. She was vain, shallow and said ‘Darlin’ far too much.
It also irritated me that she wore her hair in a tight high ponytail all the time. Surely no-one (not least a fashionista) wears a tight high ponytail anymore? Not unless they channeling a chav, or someone from the 80s (and even then it would be a side pony tail) (Feel free to correct me, we could have a Carrie and Berger ‘Scrunchie’ row!). Annie’s only redeeming feature, I felt, was her kindness with the contestants on the TV show, but this was overshadowed by her general fakery.
The book was extremely well written, was paced nicely, and I had no trouble finishing it. But one of the most vital elements of women’s fiction, is to have a protagonist with whom the reader feels an affinity. and I really didn’t get Annie at all.