“ Author: Marisa Mackle / Genre: Fiction / Publisher: Little Black Dress „
The Little Black Dress collection was available on thebookpeople.co.uk and my mam and dad said they would buy them for me for Christmas. The Little Black Dress collection is a set of modern chic-lit fiction from a variety of authors. From The Book People the current set cost £12.99 for 12 books (rrp £47.88).
~ Background ~
Marisa Mackle is a number one best-selling author and has written a number of novels. Her latest novel Chinese Whispers, which is part of the Little Black Dress collection, was based on her own experiences as working as a social diarist for the Evening Herald.
She has also written 'Confessions of an air hostess' for the Little Black Dress books.
~ The Book ~
"Is it true Fiona's been playing around with best Ellie's new beau?"
When Ellie catches Fiona and Connor (Ellie's boyfriend) half-naked together she jumps to the obvious conclusion and doesn't give them a chance to explain what really happened. Now Fiona needs to find a new flat mate as Ellie has moved out. Then pretty, wealthy Bunny Maguire comes along and she seems to be the answer to Fiona's problems.
Fiona works as a gossip columnist and she really dislikes her job but doesn't know what else to do. Then an opportunity arises for a travel writing trip to Birmingham and Fiona takes it straight away. Here she meets Angela-Jean (A-J) whom from this point in the book has quite a large role to play, including helping Bunny have a fashion make over and turning her into a 'celebrity' to make Ireland's events more exciting.
Fiona thinks that A-J has the perfect life, working as a social diarist and attending parties and meeting celebrities as part of her work, but it is really as perfect as it seems...
"A brilliantly funny and original tale of mixed messages, misunderstandings and making up."
~ My Opinion ~
I thought this book was excellent, and although due to lack of time it took me a while to read, I still followed it really well.
I really liked the character of Fiona and as it was written in first person from her point of view this made me feel like I knew her well. I felt like my emotions mirrored hers and when I was reading the book I almost felt like I was looking through her eyes and experiencing her life as it was so well written.
The title of the book is perfect as there certainly are lots of Chinese whispers going on, although some of these don't surface until near the end, making the book more exciting towards the end.
When Fiona gets a temporary job as a Social Diarist for Ireland's top female magazine, she is excited and expects it to be really glamorous but quickly finds out that it's difficult to write about celebrity appearances at events when no celebrities turn up! I hadn't really thought about such a career before and I feel like a learned a lot about it. I think it is clear that it is based on an experience of the author, as it seems to be well informed and gave an interesting insight into the job.
It is clear from the beginning that Fiona is attracted to Connor but she tries to push these thoughts out of her mind, as she knows that he is Ellie's boyfriend. I enjoyed reading about these characters and I felt sorry for Fiona, as she is really upset that Ellie won't talk to her.
Fiona is a strong character and the whole story is written from her point of view. I sometimes think it is better when a book is written in first person because you get to know the main character better but also there is sometimes a bias (the first person's opinion) on the book. I think under the circumstances of the title it was a perfect choice to write in first person as Chinese Whispers can get out of hand and this was demonstrated through Fiona's story.
Fiona is nearly 30 years old and is not particularly happy with her life, especially since Ellie moved out and she no longer likes her job as a gossip columnist. Also, she is overweight and feels second best all the time. I enjoyed reading about her life throughout the book and I was happy with the ending.
Bunny is quiet and shy when she first arrives in Dublin looking for somewhere to live, as she is on the run from her abusive ex-boyfriend. She is delighted to move into Fiona's flat and quickly starts to improve her life, with the help of Bunny and Angela-Jean. She soon comes out of her shell and we see her a fun-loving party girl who loves going out and experiencing life in Dublin. She still remains down to earth and is grateful for everything that Fiona and A-J have done for her. I quite liked Bunny and the more I read, the more I liked her despite Fiona being envious of her at times.
My opinion of A-J kept changing throughout the book. I don't want to say what my final opinion of her was as it will spoil the ending of the book, but A-J made a big difference to the ending and I was surprised with what happened.
She was helpful and kind to Bunny, getting her a makeover and getting her publicity in the Newspaper, so she quickly became a 'celebrity' in Dublin.
Although Ellie is Fiona's best friend we don't really get to her well due to the incident at the beginning of the book. Fiona does mention her though and we do encounter her towards the end of the book. From what I read, I did like Ellie but think I would have liked her character to have been developed a little bit more.
Connor is the most attractive man that Fiona has ever met and she finds it difficult to forget about her feelings due to him being Ellie's boyfriend. Towards the end of the book the reader gets to know Connor a bit better and I really liked him.
~ Overall ~
I really enjoyed this book and thought that the characters were very believable. The ending of the book made lots of things clear and was a brilliant closure to the book. I enjoyed reading this book from start to finish although it did become faster paced towards the end. Despite Fiona being older than me I could still relate to her quite well. I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more from this author.
~ Boring Stuff ~
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Little Black Dress (1 Nov 2007)
Currently £3.99 from amazon.co.uk
Thanks for reading!