With me now using trains on the commute to work, it does mean a lot of time doing nothing which is why I decided to start taking a book with me. It does pass the time more reading something, especially if it is a very good book, so I decided to pick up something from my favourite genre, chick lit a.k.a general fiction and give it a whirl. I actually was given this book from my mother, I had bought her it as a gift but she'd loved it that much that she insisted I simply must read this as it really did make her laugh and took her out of her daily life to a world more glamorous.
The book isn't the most illustrative of designs but is quite simple and elegant which is why it caught my eye. I originally bought it by just browsing the shelves and being in a creative industry I always pick up books by their cover, even though this is not a good thing to do but I just get drawn to art work. This cover is a deep pastel blue and in gold type has the title of the book as well as an image of an Audrey Hepburn-esque lady and a cruise ship in the background which are all crucial elements to the plot of this story.
The story begins with us being introduced to Holly Ross; she is a slim fashion obsessed girl living in New York, which I know sounds like the start of a lot of books these days. However, Holly is different as she is not rich like every other character in most books but is just middle class, her dad is not well off at all and is almost homeless but he keeps upbeat and lives life. Holly is a fashion historian and works for the New York Fashion Museum and at the start of the book she is on her way to a job interview to hopefully get a promotion at work but everything goes wrong for her getting there and it seems nothing goes right for Holly.
Holly luckily meets Denis King the fashion museums biggest donator who gives her a lift but has no idea she works for the business he invests money into. Holly is engaged to Alessandro an actor and thinks life is alright well not perfect but better than it could be, she loves Audrey Hepburn and always flashes life back to her films or a what would Audrey have done moment. Once Holly finds she does not get the job at the museum to be promoted but is kept in her same role for the same minimal salary she gets really annoyed. Sammie Kittenplatt is a socialite and obviously has contacts in high places who will get the museum in worthwhile donations which is why Tanya her boss has given Sammie the position which should have been Holly's.
This is when the book really starts, Holly is shamed when it turns out her fiancé has had a one night stand with a younger girl and then her job is on the line also. Her colleague gets her a ticket onto the Tiffany Star which is a very high class cruise ship only for millionaires. The deal, Holly must deliver the Audrey Hepburn gowns to Rome for an exhibition in their fashion museum as well as do some fashion talks on the cruise but overall she must be the first to come back to Tanya with a high donation for the museum before Sammie and then she'll be given a higher up job with a bigger wage.
The question is, is Holly daring enough to succeed, can she get the Audrey Hepburn gowns to Rome in one piece, will she be able to get a millionaire to sign over a few zero's to her museum and will she make it back safely to New York herself. Follow Holly on her once in a lifetime cruise trip around the Mediterranean with glitter and glamour and Holly's charm as she dazzles and takes her father with her on the trip of a lifetime.
The main character in this book Holly Ross, is a great leading lady, she seems very down to earth and is not your typical snob. She is a real life girl, very thin, into fashion but has a good sense of humour which makes her very likeable and relatable. The fact not everything goes right for her is what makes her seem appealing and charming and I really liked this character a lot. I like how she wants to do everything for herself and her father and like every girl just wants her dreams to come true.
Denis King is another good character in the book, he comes across so differently in every chapter but he reminds me a little bit of a Mr. Darcy type who seems cold and a bit stand offish at first but in reality is really warm and caring deep down.
Pops, Holly's father is a great character he is very blunt and overly down to earth with his humour even though a bit crude at times. He shakes up the high class banter a lot on the cruise and is a good father figure to Holly even though at times she can be looking after him more than the other way round.
Lastly, there is Tanya and Sammie the enemies in the book as every read needs a bad character and these two are the ones in this novel. They are both stuck up and treat Holly like she is beneath them which makes you just want to read on and see if they will ever get their come uppance after the way they deal with Holly.
The book is created on an array of backdrops which only adds to the interest appeal of the book. It starts off in rainy New York, where you get the idea it is grey and a little bit cloudy but then it perks up to the higher end New York streets as well. You also get the idea where her father lives is probably very low class and dirty as this is how it is described, yet she still adds a form of warmth to it with it being where her father lives.
The Mediterranean scenes of Rome, Turkey and Greece all seem very warm and picturesque, they are very well described and it really does bring the scene to life. Also, aboard the cruise the finest details of the furniture and dining areas really make you wish you were aboard the Tiffany Star as it really does seem like luxury.
I think the book is written in a very flowery but classy language which I like. The humour is very relatable and there is nothing too complex in the language which is why reading it was very straight forward. The stories are never too in depth and the dialogue is very easy to adapt to and pick up on as are the jokes which is always a good thing. Being a chick lit book, these are never too hard to read and the language is kept to a minimum with no overly fancy big words.
Comparing this book to other chick lit books in the market, I'd say this one was probably for people who like a shorter read and smaller chapters. I read this book very quickly, as the chapters are small and it is very easy to turn the pages. Each chapter is titled and the book is not really one aimed for too old a target market. It would appeal more likely to a younger woman I would say as I am early 20s and I enjoyed it, however my mother is older and she liked it so maybe I shouldn't put an age on it.
The book is very to the point and doesn't drag itself on to too many pages which is another plus side of it. It always has something going on and the fact that this girl is being opened up to a world of wealth even though she was not raised in one makes her very much more like you and me.
I think this book was a great read and if you are staying in over the coming months with it starting to get colder then this would be great to curl up with. It gives you a sunny back drop on the colder nights and is easy to pick up and put down and easily slide back into. The book is one every woman should give a chance to if they have time to read. I don't think I would read it again just because I never read a book twice as the
excitement for me is over when I know the ending.
This book says on the back that it retails for £6.99 but got it cheaper than that. You can buy this on Amazon for £5.49 which is saving you a little bit of money. However, if you are really low on cash you can try your local library or go on eBay as there are a lot of second hand and new copies being sold at a fraction of the retail price, the book is 464 pages long.
During my recent week off work , after picking up a few books for really good offers (such as £1.99 each or 3 for £5) from The Works , I had a lot reading to do. One of the books I picked up was called 'Holly Would Dream'. This particular book caught my eye because it had a picture of a ship on it , and when I read the blurb , it said something about a cruise , and as you are all probably aware of (I have mentioned it many times in my recent reviews!), I am going on a cruise this year which I am so excited about! So I thought this book would be useful in helping me prepare for my two week holiday!
Holly Would Dream is a fictional 'chick-lit' book written by Karen Quinn.This book was released on August 15th 2008 and has four hundred and twenty one pages. This book is available to buy from Amazon for £5.27 or if you have a The Works store nearby , head down to there , they may just have some copies of this book selling for £1.99 , and might still have their "3 books for a £5" offer still on , where you can get three books for less than Amazon are selling just this one for.
Holly is a fashion historian and works at a fashion museum. A big fan of Audrey Hepburn , all her life , she has wished that her life would be exaclty like the movies. With a marriage soon to happen and a promise of a promotion , Holly thinks that she is finally getting the life she has always dreamed of. So how on earth does she end up losing her fiance , with no money in the back , and losing her job , yet still manages to grab a ticket to go on holiday on the biggest and richest ship ever? How will she cope with coming face to face with property tycoon Denis King again ? Read Holly Would Dream to find out!
To begin with , I didn't really like this book. It was ok , but as it went on and on it got very boring for me , and a I even considered putting it down and stop reading it completely. Although , not one to give up , I decided that I was going to finish this book whether I liked it or not , otherwise I wouldn't know if I would have liked it by the end or whether I hated it even more , so I continued to read , and by the end I was sad to finish it! Although one thing that annoyed me was the fact , that for me it didn't turn interesting until page one hundred and seventy six (to be precise). I hated the whole 'before the cruise' bit , as it was really boring and all about fashion. Although once the cruise part began I was hooked! I even learnt a LOT about cruises and so I do have a slightly rough idea of what a holiday on a cruise is like , which makes me even more and more excited about my cruise.
I think if your a fashion fan then you'll absolutely love this book. Also if your into old films like Audrey Hepburn films then you'll also like this. Because the main character Holly is a massive fan of the actress there are a lot of references made to the actress in the book ; there are in fact over one hundred references (a lot of them hidden) in the book , and you can even email the author (who claims to be 'the author who always writes back) , for a list of the hidden references which she will send to you on request.
I liked how light-hearting this book was with lots of charm and humour. In the end , it was real gripping book. I especially liked the author's style of writing and her way of connecting with the readers. There are some great characters in this book , my favourites of course being Holly and Denis King as they had such chemistry which certainly came to life through the book. I hated Holly's boss and her side-kick Sammie , although I was soooooo happy with the ending!
I havn't read any of Karen Quinn's books before and have read numerous reviews about how good her book 'The Ivy Chronicles' is and so I think I may have to check that one out soon. Because I havn't read any of her other books , I cannot therefore compare whether this one is as good or better than her other written work. What will say is that if you love chick-lit , then I have a feeling that you will love this too! This would especially make a great holiday book , especially if your on a cruise yourself!
Thanks for reading!
February 1st 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
Ever come to the end of a book, put it down and think that you enjoyed it much more than you "should" have done? This was this book and me.
"Holly Would Dream" (see what Karen Quinn has done with the title?), is a light and innocuous romp through a rather anachronistic pre-credit crunch and Manoff scandal New York world. British readers familiar with "Sex and the City" and "Ugly Betty" and the like will find nothing too unfamiliar in the world that Karen Quinn has painted.
The book is set in a fashion obsessed world where beautiful clothes are to be aspired to, even if like the main character of the book Holly Ross, you don't have the money to buy your own and in fact just work in the world that values them - in this case Holly is (rather conveniently) a museum curator wannabee working in a museum with lots of couture clothes. This being set in fictional New York I wasn't too shocked when there was a stereotypical gay friend with a shared fashion sense, and that Holly had the boss from hell who seems overdue her comeuppance from the start, in the form of Tanya. She also had a fiance called Allessandro, who you just knew was going to be on his way out as soon as he entered the story. All of this all seems very familiar and unsurprising and, as a read, quite enjoyable in a non too-taxing way.
The plot, such as it is, and without giving too much away is a little ludicrous. The heroine ends up trying to fulfil her dreams of Audrey Hepburn chicness and the life of luxury she previously enjoyed as a little girl as the daughter of an employee in a luxury Manhattan penthouse. This is all via the means of setting off on a cruise as part of her job with her father, Pops, who has now fallen on hard times.
I found I was able to forgive the author the silliness of the plot, even though the cruise part of it seemed to be heavily "The Love Boat" influenced - (for younger readers "The Love Boat" was an Aaron Spelling 1970's show set on a cruise boat). I am not sure, however if I, and perhaps other British readers can readily forgive the author for calling the romantic hero Dennis however. No offence to all men called Dennis but I found it a bit hard to find the concept of Dennis even with millions at his disposable alluring at all. His whole name was chosen for one comic moment in the book, of which there are a few, some more successful than others. If I could forgive Dennis his unsexy name I couldn't forgive him for one line of dialogue; "You're turning into a prune......but I love prunes, I - always have"...a bit lost in American English to English translation I fear!
All that said quite a few of the comedy moments that were actually supposed to be funny in the book were very amusing. I did find the main character quite likeable, even though I fear she was easy to "get" because, as mentioned earlier, she just seemed part of the Manhattan that we came to know and love in the 1990's, a Manhattan that probably no longer exists. As a contemporary chick-lit read as long as you could put behind you the whole new inappropriateness of a world where there are waiting lists for £900 handbags and fashion is all and suspend disbelief at all times, this book was good escapism, and I have to admit that I did enjoy it. It seemed remarkable to me that this book was only published in 2008 - how the world has changed! Whilst Holly in the book hankered back to a simpler 1950's time where life would be like the films, reading this I didn't want to worship at the temple of all things New York pre-credit crunch, I did however find the book to be quite good light relief.
Karen Quinn is probably best known for the Ivy Chronicles, which I read and enjoyed. This isn't one of the best books I have ever read, but I did enjoy it and would probably even give it 4 stars if I could excuse the Dennis thing. I would recommend it if you are looking for a light read that will fill a few hours, not make you have to think too much and if you can take it all with a pinch of salt and a wry smile.
The published price of this book is £6.99, and it is currently £6.29 from www.amazon.co.uk.
Holly Would Dream
By Karen Quinn
Published by Simon & Schuster, 2008
ISBN 1416573127, 9781416573128
I took a bit of a gamble buying this book, having loved Quinn's ingenious first title, "The Ivy Chronicles", but been disappointed by the subsequent "Wife In The Fast Lane". Still, with a silly amount to spend in Waterstones courtesy of my kind colleagues in my old job, I decided to risk it.
As a child, Holly would dream of living her own Hollywood dream, preferably set in the fifties, complete with wonderful fashions and debonair gentlemen. Now an adult, she has submerged herself in the world of old Hollywood glamour. She may not have the breeding and background many of her contemporaries have, but this poor girl done good is getting by quite nicely. She has a job she loves as fashion historian at a New York museum, is engaged to a handsome actor and finally feels life is turning out as it should.
Just as she begins to relax and feel her future is sorted, things change in an instant. Gone are her future promotion, her future husband, her future income, her home. Before she can flutter an eyelash, Audrey Hepburn style, she finds herself ensconced on a cruise ship in the Med, hunting a potential millionaire donor in a bid to redeem herself. There are a few obstacles along the way - she has some insanely randy octogenarians to keep track of, the only way people will attend her lectures is to strip off and appear clad solely in chocolate body-paint, and she might just be falling for one of the crew - but Holly doesn't feel too out of her depth, for now.
Things change when an idea that was, ok, slightly below the table to begin with, turns into the crime of the century, at least in Holly's mind. With Interpol now tracking her across Europe, and Holly unable to leave the ship, she is forced to enlist the help of one of the butlers in getting her and her cargo safely to Rome. Throw in some snotty socialites, a handful of cruise veterans, a dead Italian mother, a case of mistaken identity and an increasingly attractive billionaire, and you have a brilliant page-turner with a new revelation on every page.
Readers familiar with Quinn's previous two books, may find this story somewhat similar. Though the storylines are completely different, the heroines in all the books share certain qualities, rely on certain phrases, have certain views on life. The stories always have various twists and turns (some predictable, some much less so), and there's always a smattering of Yiddish slang thrown in for good measure. That said, I really enjoyed this book and thought it was fresh and new, even with the same basic formula beneath it. it is a fabulous read, light-hearted and funny, with some hilarious twists. It's a really nice feel-good book that is perfect for summer, though you might want to take some other titles with you on any planned holiday since you'll finish this one so quickly in an effort to find out what happens at the end - who gets the guy, who gets the cheque, and who gets sent directly to jail.
Worth the investment of some of your dooyoo mile funded Amazon vouchers. From 1p (used) or £5.59 (rrp £6.99) on the site at the moment. With just 432 small pages, you'll whizz through it in no time.
This review originally appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk under my name.