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Lately I've got quite bored of Louise Bagshawe's books but this offering from earlier in her career appealed to me so much that I recently bought it again to re-read.
The two main characters are Rowena and Topaz, who meet at Oxford and form an unlikely friendship. Blonde, upper crust Rowena is a million miles away from fiesty American redhead Topaz but it seems that opposites attract. Until Rowena betrays Topaz, that is. After their far from amicable parting, both girls pursue their dream careers - Rowena is the male-dominated music industry and Topaz as a journalist. However, Topaz's dislike of her former friend is never far from the surface. Eventually their paths are destined to cross once again and not being one to forgive and forget, Topaz sets out to destroy Rowena once and for all.
I actually really liked both characters and unlike many chick lit characters, they are multi-dimensional with plus points and bad points. I did have sympathy for Topaz after Rowena's betrayal but on the flip side, Topaz's intense focus on this makes it easier to also emphasize with Rowena, especially as she is completely unaware of the real situation. Both girls are strong characters and I was really intrigued to follow their lives and guess at when the inevitable showdown would occur and how things would pan out.
There is a fair amount of sex in the plot but that seems pretty standard these days and it's nothing particularly offensive.
If you want a book that's racy, true to fashion and inspirationally escapist than this is the book for you. Basically imagine a Jackie Collins novel 90's style! Basically the story line is quite familiar to other Louise Bagshawe books but this is the first so definitely the best as it was an original idea. Poor little rich girl (Rowena Gordon) and one from the wrong side of the tracks (Topaz Rossi) meet up at university, both determined on their careers, both determined to succeed. However Rowena steals Topaz's man away from her, inevitably Topaz finds out and is none too pleased and basically sets out to hurt her in the best way she can-her career. The story then follows the two women over the space of a decade and mirrors their successes in their respective careers all the while giving juicy details of their sex lives, great fashion descriptions that makes you want to shop and of course Topaz's revenge attempts. The good thing about this story is that you find out that you admire and respect both heroines, as they are strong, determined and intelligent women. It's more likely that you will prefer Topaz (as I did) as she's much easier to relate to and admire because of her background and how she overcame all her obstacles to get to the top whereas Rowena seems to be reliant on men to get where she is. The aspiration that that you could become as successful as them will pervade throughout the story. Great lifestyle descriptions of New York, London and Oxford that are very true to form. It's great for reading on the beach or if you want some motivation for your own career. Once you start reading it you won't want to put it down. If there are any criticisms with the book it's the unrealistic rise in each of the heroines careers so quickly as if in the space of about 8yrs you can go from office junior to chairwoman of a magazine house! The detailed sex scenes which are hardly realistic and makes y
ou feel unsatisfied with your own sex life and the boring finding the love-of-your life syndrome that seems to happen in the majority of novels aimed at the 20 something woman. But then this is fiction after all!
I've been a "semi" fan of Louise Bagshawe's books ever since I read "Tall Poppies" about two years ago. I then went on to read Venus Envy, A Kept Woman, and her new one When She Was Bad. The only books I hadn't read were her first two, Career Girls, and The Movie. So, imagine my delight when I find a 3-in-1 book with those two and Tall Poppies in! All for the knockdown price of £5.99 :-) Anyway. Career Girls. Bagshawe's first book, and although not her best, still enjoyable. The book centres around two girls, Topaz, a fiesty Italian-American who has a passion for writing and publishing, and Rowena, a rich Scottish girl with a passion for rock music. Both virtually disowened by their parents for really no apparent reason; they meet at Oxford and become friends. But that friendship is soon shatters when Rowena betrays Topaz......(I won't give anymore away about how!). Their new position as enemies gives them motivation to "make it" in their respective careers, while doing battle with eachother the whole time. The book follows the girls from the age of 20 to 30, and they both attract many men during that time too! As predicted, both girls do "make it" to the high life, but not without a lot of bitching, sex (a whole lot of it!), hard work, and revengeful activity first! I don't think this book is as good as "A Kept Woman", or "Tall Poppies", but we do have to bear in mind that it was her first novel. Also sometimes it gets a little boring when we are bogged down with the details with a certain business deal (you'll know if you've read it), and the ending does seem a little rushed, even if it is a happy one. Overall I would recommend this book especially if you can get hold of it in the 3-for-1 deal which makes it excellent value for money :-)
Louise Bagshawe’s hugely enjoyable first novel charts the decade long feud between former best friends turned bitter enemies, fiery American Topaz Rossi and poor little rich girl Rowena Gorden. The 2 career girls fight their way from students at Oxford University to the top of their respective careers in the magazine and record business, trying to destroy each other while accumulating fabulous riches, boyfriends and dresses, dresses, dresses along the way. Though it’s slightly more realistic Career Girls has more than a hint of the Jackie Collins bonk-buster. At one point a character remarks "its like the eighties never ended" in regard to Ms Rossi. And large parts of the novel are devoted to describing the girls’ 80s style apartments, designer clothes and amazing sex they have on their expensive sheets. These aspirational lifestyle touches get more than slightly annoying (especially when I realise one of Rowena’s outfits would cost a year of my wages) and distract from the plot as Bagshawe is clearly capable of telling a good story and creates a couple of compelling red-blooded heroines. Topaz was by far my favourite character having overcome real betrayals and oppositions, without losing her humanity. I didn’t care much for Rowena, for all her attempts at independence, her definition of feminism seemed to involve getting the men in her life to cover for her while she took all the credit. And I cheered silently every time Topaz beat her, even though I’d knew she’s eventually get her own back . Career Girls is the kind of inspirational fantasy that makes you feel like you could conquer the world, even as you realise that its essentially a fairytale of New York media life. I can’t imagine any office junior making managing editor in six months no matter how talented (or good looking) she was. Its the definitely the best of Bagshawe’s books which cover more or less the s
ame ground but to less effect, like a couple of pale photocopies. Sure, Career Girls is trash but it’s wonderful trash and perfect for light or holiday reading. Take this book to the beach and you won’t regret it.
Book about 90's women. Betrayal, sex, revenge and determination (not my description!)