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Lisa Costello is a gold-digger as far as the rest of the world is concerned. So when her new producer husband, Josh, is murdered in their bed and she wakes to find the murder weapon lodged firmly in her hand, it's obvious what happened. Right? Terrified about the consequences, Lisa heads off on the run. Hot on her heels is journalist Sam, who's after the scoop of his career. As she flits from country to country in a desperate bid to escape from both the law and the hitman who was hired to kill Josh and is now in deadly pursuit of her, Lisa realises that she's been set up. Far from clearing her name, the main priority is to stay alive...
Having just read another of Louise Bagshawe's books and not been terribly impressed, I wasn't sure what to expect her. From the plot synopsis, it sounded more like something that her sister, Tilly (who I have enjoyed more on the whole if I'm honest) would write. I hoped for a gritty read and to some extent, I got it.
It's not an easy read - after all, the plot really begins in the middle of a murder scene! It's not a mystery though by any stretch. The plot blurb lets the reader know from the off that Lisa is not the killer and that a hitman is behind the murder so there's no sense of a whodunnit. That said, I found myself relatively gripped by Lisa's plight as she hotfooted it around the globe and kept wondering whether she'd really be able to escape arrest. Later on, that intrigue builds further as it becomes obvious that Lisa's own life is in danger.
There was one big downside though: I didn't much care for Lisa herself. Sure, I felt sorry for the fact that she'd been well and truly set up but she wasn't a character that I immediately took to. Perhaps it would have worked better from a first person perspective as I often warm more to characters that I can really 'get'. Whatever the reason, I didn't connect with her, which is unfortunate as she's the main character. She's supposed to be a real bombshell and I often fail to connect with this type of character as their beauty and sex appeal is repeatedly mentioned, often at the expense of a likeable personality! I couldn't help but feel that another author may have been able to flesh out Lisa's character more rather than piling on the action (which defied belief at times). The likes of Tasmina Perry and Tilly Bagshawe have got the mix better in that respect in my opinion.
Don't get me wrong - the book is not awful. Far from it. I read it in a few days, which isn't bad considering that my library copy was a fairly thick hardback. There's good suspense and intrigue but like most books of this fashion, be prepared to suspend your belief at times.
This is a review of the 2010 book 'Desire' by Louise Bagshawe. I picked it up from readitswapit website and liked the sound of a murder mistery combined with a romantic storyline.
The book follows Lisa Costello, a normal everyday girl who has stumbled into the lives of the rich and famous, becoming the wife of famous movie mogul Josh Steen in Hollywood. Little does she know that he is not the perfect husband and in addition to that she is being lined up as first culprit for his untimely murder. All this is covered in the first ten pages so I'm not giving anything away here!
The first chapter begins at the wedding of Lisa and Josh in Thailand. Lisa sees Josh getting off with one of her bridesmaids and vows to divorce him immediately. But first she needs to get very drunk. She has a chance meeting with the handsome journalist Sam Murray who writes puff for the celeb pages and is covering her wedding. They click as friends and she knocks back a few more glasses of champagne before storming off to bed, much to the amusement of the wedding guests who are all Josh's friends and never liked her anyway.
Twelve hours later Lisa wakes up next to her dead husband, covered in blood with the murder weapon in her hands. Her first thoughts are that she must flee while she works out what happened and she is terrified that she will be arrested and put in prison with the death penalty sentenced in a country such as Thailand.
The rest of the book covers her journey, emotionally and romantically. Whilst she is sad about Josh she is also angry about his infidelity and that keeps her going whilst she is on the run.
The real romance
Predictably she hooks up with Sam the journo pretty quickly whilst he tries to solve the case and keep her from being arrested. I enjoyed 'the chase' around the world and felt they made a nice couple.
I was expecting a really sloppy romance with the title and cover of this book. It wasn't exactly that but more exciting with some fiery sex scenes thrown in for good measure. It's amazing how these people don't have time to sleep, eat or wash but have plenty of sex!!
This was a great book for thinking on your feet and getting out of a major dilemma. I liked Lisa and found her gutsy - she doesn't think twice about cutting off her lovely hair and dying it quickly as a disguise on the run. I didn't guess whodunnit right until the end (amazingly) which made it a better surprise when it was revealed in the book.
I enjoyed this book far more than I expected and have read other books by this author in the past. It was original and compelling and could easily have been made into a film in my opinion. I would recommend this read to women and even men may enjoy it too if they don't mind being seen with the girly cover!
I have been a huge fan of Louise Bagshawe for many years, and she is one of the first authors to start my love affair with contemporary chick lit. Her books are always very easy to get into and hard to put down with larger than life characters and a bit of raunchiness thrown in for good measure. I had been longingly looking at Desire in the supermarket debating whether to break my no book buying pledge when my wonderful best mate presented me with a copy, saying it is the only book she has managed to finish in ages!!
The main character of Desire is British born Lisa Costello, who on the morning after her lavish Thai wedding to movie producer Josh Steen finds her new groom lying stabbed to death next to her. The bloody knife is in her hand and she has no recollection of how it got there. What she does remember is discovering her new husband had cheated on her the night before, and then getting drunk. Could she have really killed Josh? With FBI agent turned Journalist Sam Murray on her tail trying to get the scoop of the century, as well as a professional assassin out to kill her can Lisa discover the truth about that night before she is caught?
As others have noted the book is very similar to Louise Bagshawe's last offering Passion, which is probably my favourite book of hers so far. However this did not really spoil my enjoyment of Desire. The third person narrative is very easy to read, and worked very well in the book as allowed to see both Lisa and Sam's perspective as well as occasionally that of the assassin. The chapters are a decent size and there is enough action in the book to keep you on the edge of your seat! It took me two days to get through Desire, at almost 450 pages, so I was pretty gripped.
I liked the character of Lisa - her grounded nature amongst the LA bimbos means she is practically vilified. However she is sharp and cunning, pretty without being overdone - like a girl next door with an edge. Her loyalty to Josh is admirable although a bit misguided and at times. I think she has been written as a heroine us girlies can try to relate to! I also liked Sam, although he didn't seem to be as strong a hero as Will Hyde was in Passion - there was less of a back story with Sam which meant he didn't quite have the same lovability, however he did seem to be a bit more roguish and rough around the edges which did add to the appeal a bit
I really enjoyed Desire - Ok it was not as good as passion and the plots were remarkably similar. However I still don't think I could give it less than 4 stars, as it was well written and I couldn't put it down. I'm not sure if the books are similar because that is the direction Louise Bagshawe is choosing to take with her writing, or whether it was a bit of a cheek rehash to meet deadlines alongside her political campaigning, but whatever it was it worked for me! Yes it was larger than life and predictable in places but so what - I read chick lit for a bit of escapism and a bit of romance, and that is exactly what I got!!
I got this as a freebie, but it is still available in larger supermarket book charts, or on amazon for £4.60 new or £2.74 used delivered.
Paperback 440 pages published by Headline Review
I have been a fan of Louise Bagshawe for a while, she usually provides the perfect beach read. However, I haven't quite enjoyed her past couple as much as some of her older ones, but I found this for £1 in my local charity shop, so thought I might as well give it a go.
This story centres around Lisa Costello, an 'ordinary' Brit who wakes up the morning after her expensive, glamourous wedding to a man she doesn't love, in Thailand, to find her hotshot Hollywood producer husband Josh, lying dead in the bed next to her. She is covered in blood and holding a dagger. With no memory of the night before, Lisa goes on the run.
Is she the killer? Was she set-up?
Hot on her heels is ex-FBI, celebrity journalist Sam who is set to make a fortune if he finds Lisa and gets the exclusive the world's media wants.
Becoming convinced Lisa is innocent, the pair go on the run. Will romance blossom? Will they find the real killer? Will there be a series of unlikely narrow escapes? A couple of quite frankly, not that good, hitmen? A protagonist with a not that believable reason for killing Josh?
Bet you can answer all of those eh?
Yep, this novel is predictable. To say the least. How many times has this story been done? It's written well enough and it's certainly an easy read but it was so cliché ridden that I ended up feeling it was lazy story-telling.
The relationship between Sam and Lisa doesn't really ring true for me, it didn't seem genuine, likeable enough though they are. One thing I do like, is that she always includes a strong female heroine and she has in this too.
I did finish the book, but it wasn't gripping, it was obvious what was going to happen and I wasn't actually that fussed about who killed Josh - I actually was hoping for a huge twist, but there wasn't one.
The plot is just a little bit silly and a very overused format, so if you don't mind suspending belief, then I'm sure you will enjoy it.
I really like Louise Bagshawe's earlier books, her London-based ones especially (I love Tall Poppies for example) but this is really not good enough.
If you've not read her books before, then go for an earlier one. And if you have, do what I did and pick up a charity shop bargain!
Must do better!
Lisa Costello is leading what you might call a charmed life up until she waves up the morning after her lavish Thai wedding to find her husband dead in bed beside her and no recollection of what happened the night before. All Lisa does remember is seeing her husband Josh being unfaithful to her and realising just what a sham her wedding actually is. Realising that things are looking increasingly bad for her she does the only thing she can think of and she flees. Ex FBI-man Sam Murray is quickly on Lisa's trail though and as Lisa ends up in Europe, Sam isn't far behind her believing that Lisa could indeed be innocent. The two eventually join forces and it soon becomes a race against time to unearth the truth particularly since there's a disgruntled assassin on their trail...
I've become quite a fan of Louise Bagshawe in the past few years. I really enjoyed Sparkles and thought it was a very well thought out and absorbing read. I then read Tuesday's Child which I just plain old loved before finally getting my hands on her last release Passion which was touted as a James Bond for girls. I thought Passion was just as absorbing as Sparkles and I loved how much of a thriller it was. Chick lit books rarely have thrills and assassin chases so it's fair to say that Louise Bagshawe proves a welcome distraction. I was obviously thrilled to receive a proof of Louise's newest book Desire and I finally succumbed to reading it.
Most of Bagshawe's novels revolve around a similar style plot - a strong female heroine ends up in a difficult situation of sorts and ends up needing to have a man by her side to help her through it. But all of her plots differ - Sparkles was about the diamond industry, Tuesday's Girl was more chick lit than usual and Passion was James Bond for girls. Therein lies my problem with Desire - it's not dissimilar to Passion. In both Passion and Desire you have Melissa and Lisa respectively finding themselves on the run from an assassin and having the help of a man to guide them through it. Will in Melissa's case and Sam in Lisa's case. Although Lisa is also on the run from the law it just seems that Louise Bagshawe has trotted out the exact same plot from her previous book.
Much like Passion, Desire begins by introducing us to our assassin and the client who hired him (although we don't find out who the client is until much later) before bringing us back to Lisa's story and her wedding in Thailand. After Lisa discovers her husband being unfaithful before her very eyes, Lisa then wakes up the very next morning to find her husband dead. The reader of course is well aware that Lisa didn't do it but thankfully the unravelling of the plot is still worth reading. What I think is done well in Desire is the descriptions of all of the countries Lisa - and later Sam - find themselves in. Lisa is a Brit living in America but there's not much time spend in America and the book flits from Thailand to Hong Kong to Europe and I very much felt like I was there with Lisa and Sam. I also liked the initial chase between Lisa and Sam as Sam tries his hardest to track Lisa down until it becomes apparent that Lisa actually needs Sam to help her prove her innocence. From then on they make a very good team.
I quite liked Lisa. She's, as I said, a Brit girl living in America looking to make her life better and then Josh comes along and literally sweeps her off her feet. We learn how their relationship came along and we learn how it all came to the sticky conclusion of Josh's murder and I thought it was a shame Lisa had to put up with so much. I also liked how her survival instinct came rushing up to her once she discovered Josh's dead body. Enjoyed might be the wrong word for someone running away from a crime scene and evading the cops but I liked how smart Lisa really was in knowing that she had to get away to be in with a chance of surviving. I also liked Sam, he seemed very much in the mould of Will from Passion, but he was still a likeable character despite the similarities. I liked the way he managed to track Lisa down and I thought he was wasted as a celebrity journalist as his tracking instincts were fab.
Louise Bagshawe's writing is as good as always but as I was reading I just couldn't help comparing it to Passion. There are subtle differences - particularly why both Melissa and Lisa end up on the run - but bar that the similarities are seemingly endless. I had my suspicious about who it was that had hired the assassin right at the beginning of Desire and it turns out I wasn't too wide of the mark so when it was eventually revealed I didn't feel too shocked as I kind of saw it coming. There are lots of action scenes throughout the book which I thoroughly enjoyed though. There's nothing like a chick lit action scene and Bagshawe excels at writing the action scenes. I could feel the tension between Lisa, Sam and the chasing assassin.
Overall I thought Desire was an OK read. It loses out by being so so similar to Passion and I agree with the review I read on Amazon - it was as if Louise had changed a few points of the plot as well as the characters and title name and came up with Desire. Had I not already read Passion then I would have thought this was an outstanding and original read. As it is, I thought it was far too same-y. My advice would be to read either Passion or Desire and personally I'd pick Passion having read them both.
Lisa Costello is leading a charmed life - until she wakes up the morning after her glamorous Thailand wedding to find her new husband Josh dead in their bed, the murder weapon in her hand. She remembers learning at the wedding that Josh had been unfaithful, but she certainly doesn't remember killing him. As Lisa flees the scene for Europe, ex-FBI trainee Sam Murray is on her trail. Catching up with her, he's quickly convinced she's been set up, and they start to work out which of movie producer Josh's many enemies could be behind the hit. It's a race against time to unearth the truth and keep Lisa out of jail - or gunned down by the professional assassin tailing them. And the danger only adds to the excitement of the passion brewing between them...
I've been a huge fan of Louise Bagshawe's books for a long, long time. It was actually her books that got me into Chick Lit quite a few years ago, so you can say I owe my obsession with the genre to her a little bit! Louise has recently taken a bit of a shift in the direction of her books, and perhaps she is all the better for it. Her latest two books, Passion, and now this one, Desire, have been a little darker and grittier than her previous releases and I must say that I really loved this one far more than I was expecting, and I just couldn't put it down!
Desire begins with a fairly shocking beginning, with the introduction of a mystery assassin and the storyline leading up to the murder of Josh. I love that from the beginning, the audience is in on who the murderer is, whether we know the assassin's identity or not, but this just makes it more exciting because you want everyone else in the book to know too, and therefore I just wanted to keep reading and finding out whether it would dawn on people what is going on. The pace of the book is very quick, with a lot happening very fast, and this continues right the way through the book.
The characters are all fantastic, especially the leading lady Lisa. She is a British character in amongst an American setting so she stands out immediately and that's important to the people reading the book as she is the one that requires our sympathy, and you have to want it to work out right for her. She is very likeable, and I enjoy her character development throughout the book. She starts off as a bit of a bimbo trapped in a world she doesn't understand, but as the story moves on, so does Lisa as a character and I really enjoyed this. Bagshawe has also written a great relationship with Sam, the American journalist who tries to help Lisa, and he's also very likeable, and a bit of a "hero" character!
As well as following these characters, the book moves across several different countries as well, and I really enjoyed this aspect of it. Bagshawe really translates each of these places onto paper really well, and I had no difficulty in imagining them in my mind when I was reading which made it all the more exciting. There were some great action scenes in there, which weren't too over the top and fitted well into the whole book. There are two big dramatic scenes which went really well in the book right near the end, and I was literally on the edge of my seat reading them, it was really well done and I couldn't believe how much I loved them!
I was a little worried about a chick lit book about an assassination because the two don't really go hand in hand but for this book it definitely works! Bagshawe definitely has a real talent for writing and I think that if this is the direction she is going to take her books in from now on, then it's going to be very successful because I can't think of anything else like it out there at the moment! The characters were all well written and believable, the plot was fast paced and exciting, and the book as a whole was just great. I loved it, and cannot recommend it enough, particularly if you like something a bit different from your normal chick lit! Fabulous!
ISBN: 978-0755336135. Published by Headline Review in April 2010. Pages: 384.
Thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com
Thank you for reading.