Karen is picking up the pieces after her husband, Jason, has left her for a younger model (quite literally, as 'The Slut', as Karen likes to call her, is a glamour model) but at least she's got her mates on the Girl Talk panel to rely on, right? But this is television and Karen is about to find that it's every woman for herself when the biggest role on TV is going begging. As secrets come tumbling out of the closet, Karen's about to learn who she can really trust.
Aside from Karen, the other main characters are:
JULIA - A strong character and not the most likeable. For the vast majority of the book, I actually loathed her but surprisingly, I did feel some sympathy for her towards the end when her big secret came out in the open.
LESLEY - A former soap star who fell from grace when a lurid kiss-and-tell hit the newspapers. Girl Talk revived her ailing career but her personal life is still a mess. She's something of a commitment-phobe, no stranger to alcohol and goes through men like there's no tomorrow but will Lesley ever fall hook, line and sinker?
FAYE - Married to a war reporter but all isn't what it seems in their marriage. Faye has a secret that she doesn't want to get out.
CHERYL - The former athlete knows Faye's secret and wants her to tell all. Will she expose her colleague?
Some of the less prominent but still fairly crucial to some aspects of the plot are:
JASON - Karen's estranged husband is having second thoughts about taking up residence with his new bimbo and wants to have his cake and eat it. Can he worm his way back into Karen't good books?
HANNAH - Jason's bit-on-the-side has hooked her man and now she means business. Has Jason bitten off more than he can chew?
JOEL - The cosmetic surgeon who regularly injects all kinds of fillers into Julia's face at her request. They've known each other for years but how much does he know about the TV presenter?
LAURA - An investigative reporter who makes it her mission to expose Julia. What does she know?
THE NARRATIVE AND WRITING STYLE
It's written in the third person and flips between the various characters. Mostly, we delve into the worlds of the main Girl Talk presenters but some brief sections of the narrative do focus on the less prominent characters that I've touched on. The tone is fairly informal but I wouldn't call it a chick lit writing style as such as it's not as fluffy as that.
I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure what to expect at first as books with a celebrity name attached to them can be rather hit or miss depending on the ghostwriter involved and I was especially spectical when I heard that Coleen had actually written this herself. I was pleasantly surprised though and quickly found myself sucked into the story, especially Karen as she came across as very likeable. Julia was hardly my favourite character but she added to the plot by being such a strong and often unlikeable character. As far as the rest of the main characters go, I was mostly indifferent to them in that I didn't dislike them but I didn't find myself really rooting for them as much as Karen. The plot moves at quite an easy pace for the most part but things speed up a lot towards the end as various secrets come to light. The ending is a bit ambiguous but not to the point that it's frustrating.
I didn't realise the Coleen Nolan (Loose Women panelist and member of the band ' The Nolans') , had released a fictional novel , until I read a agazine which had a review of the book printed. Envy is Coleen Nolan's debut fictional novel released in June 2010 and is available to buy from Amazon for £4.00 which I think is good value.
Karen King is loving life ; she has the best husband ever , a great job as a presenter on a late night show , and she also loves her Spanx pants. Although , her world is soon to turn upside down ? How will she cope ? Will she ever be happy again ? Read Envy to find out.
At first , I was a bit like 'oh here we go again!' another celebrity 'writing' a book , and so I wasn't too sure what to expect , and whether to buy it or not. There was something about it that made me really curious and interested , although there was another part of me which didn't want to buy the book as I thought these celebrities are making money out of everything these days and it annoys me. This book is a bit like Katie Price's novels (although I think that this one's a bit more genuine) and so if you like her novels , then I think that you will probably like this one).
I found the character Karen to be similar to Coleen , in the terms that she was a presenter on a late night women's chat show , and also the character 'used to be in a band' and so it does seem a bit like reading Coleen's life story as there are a lot of aspects which are similar to her life , although this certainly wasn't enough to put me off the book. There are five main characters in total , and so I did find that it got quite confusing at times , trying to remember who so-and-so was and so on , although as the book went on , I got used to the characters and didn't get confused after that. It's quite easy to say that some of the characters are based on some of the 'Loose Women' , I found it interesting trying to work out who was who!
I thought that the plot was a really good one , despite Coleen obviously getting the idea for the storyline from her own life. Although , I really did enjoy the story , and the fact that you were kept guessing all the time. It wasn't as predictable as a lot of other chick-lit books and so it keeps the readers on their toes. I really liked the unexpected twists and turns as they were just so.....well unexpected.
I really enjoyed this book! It's so glamourous and is perfect for girlie girls as it is the perfect chick-lit book , which would make a great book for 'on-the-beach-reading'. I found the book to be very addictive and the minute I started reading it , I just wanted to keep on reading and reading ; it's a real page turner! I read all four hundred and six pages within a couple of hours!
I was impressed at how well written and put together this book was , and was even more suprised when I discovered that , apparently Coleen didn't use a ghost writer and so this is said to be all her own work , which I find quite hard to believe , as it really is brilliant! So if it is her own work , well done Coleen! I cannot wait for the next one , which Coleen is rumoured to be writing at the moment!
I really enjoyed this book , and would definately recommend it to all chick-lit lovers and Loose Women / Coleen fans!
Thanks for reading!
August 18th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciaoc under xdonzx)
TV favourite Karen King has been having a difficult time of late. She caught her husband of twenty years, Jason, cheating on her, before he left to shack with the girl in question, and although her presenter job on Girl Talk is going well and she believes that her four co-presenters will always be there for her, she's about to be in for a huge shock. When it's announced that Helen England, anchor of Channel 6's Good Morning Britain, is to leave, the Girl Talk girls are suddenly pitted against each other in a bid to all try and land the job. But in the cut-throat, dog-eat-dog, world of TV presenting, can Karen rise above it all to come out on top, or will one of her co-presenters beat her to it?
Whenever I hear a celebrity is writing a book, I'm immediately skeptical because, let's face it, more often than not, the only reason they've gotten themselves a book deal is because of who they are rather than their writing abilities. To then make matters worse, the celebrities then go and get a ghost-writer to pen their book, which I find insulting to all authors out there with genuine talent who don't, and may never, have the chance to have their book published. So when I saw Coleen Nolan was trying her hand at fiction, I was dubious as ever. However I received a copy for review and the sparkly cover really caught my eye so I decided to try my luck and see if Coleen could change the trend of bad celebrity books.
When I first read the synopsis for Envy, I assumed it would be like reading Coleen Nolan's auto-biography (not that I have) and that Karen would be a fictional Coleen. My second assumption was that the book would focus solely on Karen because that would have been the easiest way to write a book. I was wrong on both counts. Yes, Karen does have some similarities to Coleen; she's a TV presenter and stars in a show similar to Loose Women and yes, she was in a band many years ago, but she didn't base Karen on herself entirely, like I know a few authors have done. And secondly, the book doesn't focus solely on Karen and it actually encapsulates the lives of many different characters which makes for a well-rounded, thoroughly enjoyable read.
As well as focusing on Karen King and her failed marriage with Jason and proposed new romance with Dave, the majority of the book centers on all of Karen's co-presenters and it definitely feels like one big ensemble cast. Girl Talk, the show on which Karen co-presents on Channel 6, is very much in the vein of Loose Women, albeit in a later time slot, and as well as herself, there's also Julia, Lesley, Faye and Cheryl. So when it's announced that Helen England, the anchor of the morning show Good Morning Britain (a parody, I assume of This Morning), it's obvious to think the job of anchor could go to one of the five Girl Talk ladies. This obviously causes ructions because each of the ladies believe that they should be the one to land the job and it all descends into cat-fights, allegations, counter-allegations and all kinds of secrets coming out but the question is whether any of the Girl Talk ladies will come out of it alive.
As well as having five female leading characters in Karen, Julia, Lesley, Faye and Cheryl, we also have plenty of other characters to flesh out the book ever more. There's Jason, Karen's husband, Hannah, Jason's girlfriend (and the girl he cheated on Karen with), Dave, Karen's potential boyfriend, and then there's James Almond, the new controller at Channel 6, Helen England, the anchor of Good Morning Britain, and then there's still more on top of that. How Coleen managed to juggle so many characters is beyond me and after the initial bewilderment of 'Who is who', I eventually managed to piece everybody together. With such an ensemble cast, you do have to concentrate just to keep track of everything going on but I personally didn't believe there were too many characters at all. Karen is probably our 'main' main character and was a good one if a little naive at times. Her co-presenters aren't particularly likeable but that only adds to the book and makes it more appealing. Julia, in particular, was vicious and was a great baddie. It would take a long while to discuss each and every character but all I will say is that they're all different and they're all well-thought out and well presented, good and bad.
From what I have gleamed from a quick Google search, Coleen appears to have written this all by herself without the help of a ghost-writer which is what most celebrities appear to do. And although this may be a surprise, Envy is well written. It's told in third-person and switches around the characters very frequently and the book never seems to drag at all; how could it drag with so much going on? My first criticism of the book is the constant name-dropping and everyone from the Loose Women to Kate Thornton are name-dropped and the Loose Women references did make me cringe, because as everyone knows, Coleen Nolan is a member of the Loose Women panel. My second criticism is the fact there's a pretty serious bomb dropped about one of the characters mid-way through the book and it kind of appeared from nowhere (which wasn't the problem) and I would have liked to have seen it explored a bit more and I hope that, should there be a sequel, it will be picked up again as it was an interesting sub-plot.
Overall, I hugely enjoyed Envy. I didn't expect to, and that makes my liking of the novel all the better; there's nothing better than enjoying a book you had no hopes for at all. Coleen is apparently working on a sequel and I can't wait for it's release as there was lots left to explore throughout the book and there were a few revelations I would love to have been explored more, which will hopefully happen in book two. There seems to be a glut of showbiz novels being released at the moment, and Envy is definitely one of the better ones on the market. I hugely recommend it.