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A Whiff of Scandal - Carole Matthews

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Carole Matthews / Paperback / 352 Pages / Book is published 2007-06-04 by Headline Review

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      24.11.2009 13:05
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      Amazing chick lit! :)

      == About Carole Matthews ==
      I have read a few of Carole Matthews books now, but this was the first one I ever read.
      For me her writing style is very much like Belinda Jones' writing, if you have ever read any of her books (I Love Capri, Divas Las Vegas, The Love Academy). Who is one of my favourite authors, so when I realised I loved Carole Matthews' books just as much, I started buying lots of her books!

      Matthews was born in St Helen's Merseyside (North West, UK, just up the road from where I live now in fact!), and worked in London before training to be a beauty therapist. She then started working as a television presenter and wrote a few magazine articles, and even ran her own aromatherapy practice, which actually features heavily in this book! Matthews now lives in Leighton Buzzard with her husband and cat!

      Her love of writing came around when she entered a short story competition, it been the first time she had ever written in a creative sense since school, and she was surprised when she won the competition and £1000. Spending the money on a writing course, the tutor was impressed with her writing style and persuaded her to write a novel, and so emerged her first ever book: Let's meet on Platform 8, since then she has continued writing and has become more and more popular!

      A Whiff of Scandal is her second novel! Some others you may have heard of, in order of release...

      * Let's meet on Platform 8
      * A Whiff of Scandal
      * More to Life than this.
      * For better for worse.
      * A minor Indiscretion
      * A Compromising position
      * The Sweetest Taboo
      * With or Without You
      * You Drive me Crazy
      * Welcome to the Real World
      * The Chocolate Lover's Club
      * The Chocolate Lover's Diet
      * It's a kind of magic
      * All you need is Love.
      * The Difference a Day makes.
      * That Loving Feeling.

      I am currently trying to work my way through the books, but only becoming a fan in the last couple of months, I need to buy all of her books first! The books I have read are: A Whiff of Scandal, A Compromising Position, With or Without You and I have The Chocolate Lover's Diet on the shelf ready to read! And I plan on buying the rest with my next Amazon voucher!


      == Story ==
      Now onto the important stuff! The story!

      A Whiff of scandal is about a young woman, Rose, who moves to the small quaint village of Great Brayford when she discovers the man she is in love with back in London is already married. Rose Stevens is an aroma therapist, and has people coming and going from her house, which starts to cause a stir in the village with the two nosy elderly sisters Anise and Angelica who live opposite Rose, and spread it quickly around the village that Rose is a "lady of he night". Poor Rose was trying to run away from a terrible life, but instead she runs into one of scandal and gossip. She soon meets the lovely Dan, who is a friendly face, and the local builder who is in to fix her fireplace. They soon become friends, much to the disappointment of Gardenia, the nasty, money chasing, bitchy girlfriend of Dan.

      Rose is determined not to get into another affair, and tries to steer well clear of Dan, but it may be harder than she thinks in such a small village, and with Hugh coming back on the scene her heart feels like it's been torn in two directions, does she give up her own little business to go back to working for a Corporate company in London, or does she stay in Great Brayford and face her issues there and try and make friends?

      What with Rose's problems and the REAL local prostitute making her way around the local constabulary, and Gardenia keeping her own secrets, and a romance with one of the sisters the tiny little community of Great Brayford suddenly is full of a Whiff of Scandal.

      === Opinion of the Story ===
      The story was very hard to get into at first, and although I had the book sitting on my shelf for around a year, I had tried to get into it a couple of times, but could never get past the first chapter. I think the main reason for that was that the first chapter is about Anise and Angelica the two old ladies who nosy out of their window, and I got the impression the whole book was going to be about old people, and thought the book was going to be much older than I was used to. At that time, I wasn't a big reader, and it would take me months to get through a short(ish) book, as I would always have something else to do, or something better to watch on TV at night. But within the last year I have really got into my books and read them pretty quickly and really get into them, so I decided to give this book another go a couple of months ago, and once I got past the first chapter I fell in love with the book and realised it wasn't about old women at all, but about this young woman, who was very misconstrued by the people around her and the unlikely friendships she would make over the course of the book, and the changes she will go through over the year or so the book is set.

      Once I finally got into the book, I very quickly finished the 342 page story, and loved the way the story went on.

      Something which I didn't really like was that there were no real twists to the plot, it was all very simple and happened as it happened, without too much going back in time, and learning new little secrets, which in a way is good as the book doesn't confuse you, but also makes it a little predictable in some ways.

      The book is definitely for anybody aged between around 18-70, and very versatile, maybe this is because of the mix of characters in the book, some young and some old, so we can all relate to someone in the book in some way, so it's great that once you have finished it, you can pass it on to your mum, or your younger sister, in fact I was passed this book on from my mum, who as far as I know liked the book as well!

      == Characters ==
      The book has a few characters in it, and quite a few people to try and get your head around, unlike a lot of books where there are only a handful of characters, say 2-3 main protagonists, in this book there are around 10 main characters who have big storylines and aren't just sitting in the back ground, and there are 5 stories going on at one time, although there is only one main storyline with Rose, the other storylines are still there, and have the odd chapter here and there. I don't know if this was done to bulk the book out, maybe the story of Rose, Dan and Hugh on its own was a little weak and so Matthews had to add more people into the mix to make the book a little longer and give it more substance.

      This could have been done in a very confusing way of flip flapping between people's stories and confusing the reader, but in fact it's done in a very good way in that they all fit together like a jigsaw and mix together very well, going from one to the other seamlessly.

      The characters are all very likeable where they should be, or very un-likeable where appropriate (in the case of Gardenia and Anise), but we can all really find someone in the book who we can relate to, and we see them change, and feel what they're feeling at times.


      == Readability ==
      As I said earlier, it took me a few tries before I could actually get into this book, but once I had got past the first chapter, I really started to fall in love with the story, so my advice is that if you are finding it very hard to get into the book, then just keep at it, the first couple of chapters may seem a little hard going, and a little boring, and you can't seem to be able to see the story progressing, but once you get past that first chapter, it all starts to come together.

      After that, the book is very well written, and quite addictive in a way that you really want to know who ends up with who in the end of the story. It took me around a week to read the book, which is average for me as I read around three nights a week. So it is a good weeks read, or a day in my mum's case who reads faster than anyone else I know!!!

      The book is nice and simple to read, and there is no complicated plotline or characters, which make it a nice quick and easy read making it perfect for a summer read or holiday read. And also perfect for bedtime as there is no hard going story to confuse you before sleep!

      == Conclusion ==
      The story is excellent for all people to read! The story is a memorable one, and it is definitely a book I would read again in a few months time.
      It may be hard to get into the story at first, but if you stick through that first difficult chapter then you will most certainly continue through the book and love every minute of it!
      The book is 342 pages long, and the RRP is £5.99 for the paperback version, and is available on Amazon.co.uk for £4.99 (new from Amazon shops) with free UK delivery. Or 1p used, with £2.49 delivery costs from other Amazon users.

      You can also get a combined novel of both Let's Meet on Platform 8, and A Whiff of Scandal on Amazon, which is two novels in one book, this is just 1p (used) with £2.49 P&P, which I recommend buying if you can find it on Amazon, as I would definitely recommend all Carole Matthews books after reading three of her 3 of her books already! The newer books do tend to be better than the older books, and are more to do with travelling (i.e. With or Without you, is about Nepal), and more research has been done for them!

      Something I loved about this book was the addition of facts about certain aromatherapy oils, at the beginning of most of the chapters, usually names the same as the characters (i.e. Gardenia, Rose, Angelica) and also with "cures" for certain ailments (i.e. Cure for Hangover, Cure for Broken Heart). So you learn something as well as reading a great novel!

      Definitely worthy of a 10/10! :)

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