Beaufont Hall stands like a spectre in Cassie Cooke’s life - a beautiful yet mysterious house that has remained off limits to her, until now. As her mother begins to think about selling the familial pile, Cassie wants the chance to visit. And in doing so she discovers a diary belonging to an unfamiliar relative: Eliza Tempest. A contemporary of Cassie’s mother, Eliza’s upbringing couldn’t have been more removed from the luxury of Beaufont, raised in a cramped flat with her parents, she seeks her independence and moves to Soho in the 1980s just as it’s beginning to earn its infamous reputation. Eliza’s past is worlds away from Cassie’s present, so just how does she fit into the Beaufont legacy? These dual narratives, with the present-day story offset by a historical narrative, have taken off in women’s fiction recently, but Ilana Fox brings a refreshing spin by giving us a more contemporary history. Eliza’s story is gritty, edgy and compelling and is a great addition to the novel, although it is quite dark and unpleasant at times, such is the context. Cassie’s story didn’t feel as developed as Eliza’s but Fox connects them in intriguing and fascinating ways, with a twist that I didn’t see coming until later on. The final chapters offer a poignant conclusion to the story and I also have to make mention of the fabulous title. However, for me, although this was well-written and interesting, there was something missing that failed to give the story the wow factor. (JC)
American Madison Miller dreams of becoming a famous singer and she is going to do all she can to make it happen. Starting off in an exotic strip club, Madison meets Beau Silverman, Slade record manager. He offers her a sweet deal and the chance for all her dreams to come true and become "the girl in the spotlight". But after a series of events, Madison realises that being famous has its price and it is now up to her to make the decision of a lifetime - is it really worth it all to be famous? Across the Ditch in the UK is Jess Piper, in a dead-end job as an assistant fashion writer for the Daily World. Jess dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer. On a whim she jets to New York where she meets Beau, who also offers Jess the chance at her dream. But as Jess gets sucked in deeper into his world, can Jess escape before it consumes her? When Jess and Madison meet it's like looking at twins. Can these girls turned against each other by Beau instead form a bond. This is a really enjoyable story that sucks you into the world of celebrity and fame. (PP)
Ever since being a girl, all Jo has wanted is to work for a glossy magazine. Problem is she's overweight, dowdy and despite a scholarship to a private girls' boarding school, even misses out on getting into university. But Jo persists with her dream, finding another way to enter the hallowed halls of Garnet Publishing, where she encounters the cocky publisher Joshua, whose wife edits Gloss magazine. Writing under an assumed name, Jo finds her ideas are helping to boost circulation. But she realises that all the smarts in the world don't mean a thing when you don't look the part of a chic magazine editor. Follow Jo as she takes drastic measures to turn into Mia and reinfiltrate Gloss magazine. Think the Ugly Duckling turning into a swan thanks to designer clothes; Cinderella becoming the belle of the ball thanks to her plastic surgeon fairy godmother.