Having joined my local library I picked this book up quickly as Brad needed feeding and decided to scream.
This is a sequel
There is a first book called private members which is meant to be stand alone. I have not read this so cant tell you what happened in it. There are vague references to the story of this book throughout Members Only and I could not understand what had happened so maybe would suggest reading this first.
What is this about?
It follows the story of four members of the St Benedicts Private Golf and Members club. These are:
Cindy: An American interior designer who has been asked to work at the Soloman (a very rich couple) house.
Laura: Married to a professional golfer, and mother to three children - currently suffering from post natal depression.
Marianne - a 50 something divorcee who wants to get her hands on the new and attractive vicar.
Amber - (Soloman) married to Daniel and going through a messy divorce.
WIthout giving too much away the story follows the ladies plus some other characters as they live in a small village centred on the club.
The club is completely wild - drug taking and sexual affairs are rife and even the odd bit of swinging goes un-noticed.
The novel centres somewhat on the impending divorce of Amber and her husband - with each taking terrible revenge on the others.
The ending is a bit of a surprise - but by then I had lost the will to live!
What did I think?
IT was lucky that I was using this book as a diversion whilst breastfeeding and not a serious read as it really disappointed me.
The characters are really not developed well - for example you are not made to understand why they act as they do.
Laura illicits some sympathy as she has post natal depression and it is good to see this brought out into the open. It was interesting to see the lengths that a mother with this condition could go to and one incident in particular brings home how much support they need! Her story is resolved (not saying if it is a happy ending or not) which is good.
Amber has gone to the lengths of having plastic surgery to impress her husband but why? It wasnt clear to me as her character is extremely shallow and her motivation is not truly explained. Some of the revenge incidents against her husband are just ridiculous. Trashy to the extreme!
Cindy is really a minor character - she supports the action but doesnt really take part.
Similarly with Marianne - we are told that she does things but given no insight as to why.
So criticism one - poor characterisation.
Two - the stories dont really conclude - apart from Lauras - they are just a string of incidents which are poorly linked and often seem to be just for show rather than tying together to create one big story.
Three - there are sex scenes which are there almost to make this a bonk buster. They are pretty gratuitous and add little to the plot. Perhaps the author wanted to shock!
The style is easy to read and even at three in the morning feeding a baby I could follow what was going on.
There are some funny moments which made me laugh - but these are few and far between.
Would I recommend?
Probably not, it is a fluffy novel with poor characterisatoin and little joined up in the plot. Perhaps one for sleep deprived mums only!
Cindy, Laura, Keeley and Marianne are four girls who live the life of luxury and are members of St Benedicts; an exclusive country club and spa where anyone who is anyone goes. In fact, anything goes when it comes to the club too - discretion is maintained by all members of staff and the millionaires are able to induldge their wildest fantasies, buy drugs and pretty much do anything their heart desires under the protection of their expensive membership.
Members Only follows the lives of these four girls - Cindy has been asked to renovate a room in the Solomons home but is caught between a very public divorce battle, Laura is struggling with post natal depression, Keeley is hoping her footballer boyfriend is about to take the next step with her and Marianne is determined to seduce the new local Vicar.
Despite the back of this book saying it is about these four girls, I found that there were other characters that took the lead which surprised me slightly. Amber Solomon is a rich woman, so totally devoted to her husband that she decides to have plastic surgery to change her whole face to match his ideal woman. However, she catches him in bed with the housekeeper at the beginning of the book. For most of the book, this is the main focus and this was more interesting than the other girls stories by far. At times the author goes overboard with the outrageous revenge plots that Amber has - and the retaliation tactics that Mr Solomon concots, but it did make for entertaining reading.
The other main story was of Lauras post natal depression. Once I started reading Lauras story, I realised that this book was the second in a series - a briefly explained dark past is hinted at. This was slightly annoying as I couldn't quite work out what happened and whether it had any bearing on the present story so I felt like I was only getting half of what I was supposed to! However, Lauras character was one that I empathised with the most; to me she felt the most down to earth, I can imagine women all over the country having similar feelings after giving birth. She was also showed much more compassion and was much warmer than the other characters in the book.
There were, of course, the odd sexy scenes - but to be honest these were a bit weird and unnecessary rather than being at all sexy. Unlike other books in this genre, these scenes seemed rather forced, there is a swingers party and a whole plot line of Lauras golfer husband having an affair with an up and coming American golfer which goes horribly wrong. Neither of these plots really added anything to the storylines over all and in fact, I found that most of the storylines drifted off without any kind of conclusion (apart from Lauras.)
Overall, it was just a very disappointing read. I needed something light hearted and absorbing to take my mind of a very tough couple of weeks, but instead I found myself frustrated and annoyed at the silly characters and ridiculous plot lines. Im not sure what the original book in this series is like, but I would definitely avoid this one.