Spa Wars by Chris Manby

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Spa Wars by Chris Manby

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Emily Brown is very excited when she opens The Beauty Spot, her first beauty salon and after a public endorsement from new reality star Carina Lees, it is soon a great success. However, just when things are really starting to take off, big problems occur and it looks as if Emily's future, as well as The Beauty Spot's, is in jeopardy. It could just be bad luck but then again it could be that someone is out to sabotage the business. If so - who? Maybe Emily's best to trust no one!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: October 2008
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 978-0340937013

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I've read quite a few of Chris Manby's novels and they are always lighthearted enjoyable reads. Spa Wars is no exception and it's the sort of book that you can read very easily in just a few days.

Spa Wars tells the story of Emily Brown, a young woman who achieves her ambition of opening her own beauty salon. Things start off going very well especially when she receives a public endorsement from latest reality star, Carina Lees. It looks as though The Beauty Spot is going to be a roaring success! That is until everything starts to go wrong – the salon is burgled, gentlemen start making appointments expecting treatments very different from the ones that Emily is offering and the final straw is a visit from the health inspector following up some anonymous complaints. Either Emily is incredibly unlucky or someone has got it in for her.

As the novel progresses Chris Manby keeps introducing new characters and twists in the tale that really do keep the reader guessing. As I was reading I kept coming up with my own theories only to discover that I was often completely wrong. I didn't mind though because I found that this kept me involved in the novel and it would have been quite boring to have been right from the start.

Although most of the story is set in a beauty salon it does not really focus on beauty treatments and the sort of people who might spend lots of money there. In fact we don't actually meet any of the customers not even any of those sleazy gentlemen. There is a wry look at the world of reality television though and the whole notion of celebrity. I enjoyed Chris Manby's cynical but humourous view on this.

Emily, the main character is very warm and open and I found myself caring about what happened to her. I also liked all the other main characters who are well rounded and likeable but it's worth remembering that, just like the illusions they achieve for their customers, they might not always be what they seem. As I was reading I found myself regarding all of these characters wondering if they could be the saboteur.

Overall this is a lovely light enjoyable read which held my interest from the very first page. It's a modern tale for the modern woman. Although it is mainly humourous, it does have its more serious themes such as bullying and obsessions with appearances. Therefore as well as making you smile it also makes you think. I loved its clever title and also the tantalising tag line – 'Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the salon...'

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals you may also want to take a look at Notting Hell by Rachel Johnson.

Buy Spa Wars by Chris Manby at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Spa Wars by Chris Manby at

Buy Spa Wars by Chris Manby at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Spa Wars by Chris Manby at


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