This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
REVIEWED BY LAURA STANNING
This book fell through my letterbox at just precisely the right moment. A month into a new job my head was spinning from memorising mathematical formulae and learning about pension funds and then suddenly, there was Wicked Games on the doorstep which, if you ask me, is proof that Fate understands girls very well indeed. The cover was irresistible – good work from Headline, who changed the cover when they brought this out in paperback. The new, bright white cover with the title picked out in a bold ruby red is perfect for the style of the book – I fell on it like a starving girl on a Hummingbird cupcake.
If Wicked Games was a cupcake it'd be a red velvet – dark, rich, utterly indulgent and completely delicious. A lot of the books I’ve read and loved recently have been what I’d describe as gentle chicklit – the magic of them is their delicacy: the complex characters; the original plot; the writing that moves you to tears. And, don’t get me wrong, they’re wonderful books but there are times you want, well, something a bit more substantial. And that’s exactly what Wicked Games provides – a pure, punchy, wildly entertaining romp.
This is chick lit straight out of the Jilly Cooper school – to the extent that most of the characters reminded me irresistibly of people from the Riders / Rivals / Polo series and I had an absolute ball working out who was based on whom. I was dubious about how good the plot could be (really, a book has to have some drawbacks, right?), but as soon as I read the copy on the back cover I was hooked.
“Debonair and dynamic, millionaire Judd Harrington is back at Brockett Hall. With his socialite wife and family in tow, he’s returned from LA a glittering success. But as he stares across the valley at Lochlin Maguire’s beautiful country house, all he can think of is revenge.”
Really, what’s not to like? The plot also reminded me strongly of Jilly Cooper’s books but Wagstaff makes it very much her own and includes some excellent (and sinister) twists, which render it completely gripping. And, to continue my cake metaphor, the characters are the cherry on the top – evil or good, gorgeous or plain, they create a complete fantasy world and you can’t wait to find out what happens to each of them.
When I finally put the book down I felt completely refreshed – it takes you out of yourself so well you feel like you’ve had a mini-holiday when you finish it and I can’t recommend it too strongly for the end of a stressful week. Get a bar of chocolate, get a glass of wine and above all get this book for a real, indulgent girly treat.
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