|Up Close and Personal by Leonie Fox|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Katie Pullen|
|Summary: Best friends Juliet, Nicole and Yasmin seem to have it all. But when things start to unravel will they have anything left but each other? A disappointing and lacklustre third novel from Leonie Fox, let down by a lack of plot and stereotype characters.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 352||Date: July 2010|
I had high hopes for a bright and breezy bonkbuster from Leonie Fox's third novel, having read some favourable reviews of her first two books. The title, cover art and blurb suggest a frothy, fun, flirty and sexy read, so I was very disappointed to find this is anything but.
The novel centres around three rather stereotypical friends living in the small town of Loxwood. First we have widow Juliet who has just brought back her hunky toyboy husband Dante from Aspen. Juliet has turned her late husband Gus' country home into a hotel to make ends meet and unluckily for Dante there are reminders of Gus everywhere. Now you'd think that these two wouldn't be able to keep their hands off each other as they have met and married in a matter of weeks, but no they seem to slip into a rather comfortable married life immediately and Juliet barely gives Dante much attention.
Next we have downtrodden doctor's wife Nicole who has a young daughter. Nicole is stuck in a passionless marriage and to begin with is quite determined to get her husband into bed before a hunky visitor to Loxwood catches her eye. Unfortunately said hunky visitor isn't seen again for most of the novel so her chance of fun looks set to evade her. Unlike Nicole her husband Connor is getting plenty of sex from his mistress and to be fair these passages are highly amusing.
Lastly we have Yasmin, a showbiz journalist with little interest in relationships preferring sex for its own sake. With her forthright ways with men I was expecting lots of steamy encounters for Yasmin, but we hear little of these and for most of the novel she disappears entirely until something rather major happens to her which completely changes her attitude to sex.
Unfortunately I didn't really warm to any of the three female characters finding them a bit one-dimensional and vacuous, despite the fact they are all clearly intelligent. I also didn't feel I had a chance to really get to know them as individuals and how they relate as friends as there just aren't enough chapters where all three play a part or even talk to each other the way real women do, as they become bogged down in expositional dialogue.
Just over two hundred pages into Up Close and Personal I started to wonder just exactly where it was going as the novel seems to meander here and there in and out of the three friends' lives with little direction. Thankfully things started to happen, but having to wait for nearly two thirds of the book seems a bit much and even then the events that take place all lack the necessary drama and become rather dull and predictable. Don't get me started on the ending which is rushed and trite.
There was one part of the novel that genuinely made me chuckle to myself though and I'm sure Leonie Fox must have reach Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca at some point as Juliet's hotel manager Nathan takes on the role of Mrs Danvers in his obsessions with her dead husband and is determined to get rid of Dante. This is just about the only bit of the book that kept my attention, but even then it was a bit of an effort.
All in all, I'm really not sure why this book is called Up Close and Personal as its contents is anything but. It's more a novel of friendship and three women facing unforeseen challenges and growing as individuals. I would only recommend if you have enjoyed Leonie Fox's previous novels; otherwise there are plenty of better writers and better reads out there.
I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further Reading Suggestion: For a more satisfying bonkbuster try Midnight Girls by Lulu Taylor.
You can read more book reviews or buy Up Close and Personal by Leonie Fox at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Up Close and Personal by Leonie Fox at Amazon.com.
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