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Violet Cavalley is the owner of a world famous hat company that she has built from scratch herself, she's raised the three children whom she adores more than anyone in the world and she's now retiring from the world she knows and adores, ready to leave her multi-million pound empire for her children to carry on in her name. However, despite the outward glamour and glitz of the Cavalley family lies some deep and dark secrets that are threatening to come out and ruin the family's reputation for good. Is Violet going to be able to stop the rumours from entering the public domain, or is the secret the beginning of the end for Cavalley's?
This is author Jessica Ruston's second novel, and whilst I haven't had the oppotunity to read her first, Luxury, just yet, after thoroughly enjoying To Touch The Stars, I certainly want to read that as soon as possible because Ruston is certainly a great talent within the women's fiction genre, and it certainly makes me look forward to reading more work from this author. I was drawn to this book immediately by the beautiful cover - the shiny silver stars combined with the vivid blue imagery is beautiful and certainly complements the book itself perfectly - this is a fantastic cover, and it's great to see a publisher getting it spot on for a cover.
The book begins with Violet Cavalley's 60th birthday party at her beautiful villa in Capri. She's surrounded by her 3 children, Blue, Flip and Frangipani, their partners, and her own close friends Kalisto and Patrick. She's ready to celebrate but the shock arrival of someone from Violet's past threatens to ruin everything for Violet and her family. As a reader, we have no idea who or what this person wants with the Cavalley's, and makes a good mysterious for the start of the book. I was intrigued to find out what the secret was, and it certainly drew me into the book, and it's always great to have a start that makes you want to desperately read on and find out more.
I adored the way this book was written. Ruston has chosen to write in both the present day, the events after the birthday party and how this impacts on her family, but also back to Violet's childhood, the coming about of Cavalley's the company and basically everything in Violet's past. The book flits seamlessly between the two, often not defining clearly that is slipping from the present to the past, but as a reader I found it very easy to follow and it was immediately obvious which time which time any particular part of the story was dedicated to. I think the lack of distinction actually works in this book's favour because it is so necessary to have both alongside each other to understand both Violet and the story, and I was soon consumed by the immensely interesting tale of Violet and her childhood.
Violet was a fabulous character, and the perfect person to have as the leading character for the book. Whilst I enjoyed the mystery story of the modern day, and finding what was going to with the Cavalley's and their dark secrets, I actually enjoyed reading about Violet's past, her childhood and the making of Cavalley's far more. Ruston has completely encompassed all that was hard for Violet as a child, from violent and uncaring parents, to becoming a young single mother of 2 in a short period of time, and struggling to come to terms with the losses in her life. It all felt very real as I read it, and I felt myself being drawn into Violet's world and it was fascinating. Also, I have to mention the hats element of the book too - I'm not a huge hat fan and know nothing about them, yet Ruston makes it extremely interesting and readable, and I loved imagining Violet's designs in my mind.
The other characters are well written too, and I liked how they consistently popped up throughout the book. Violet's children, all rather weirdly name as they are, all have their own role in the book, and in particular I liked how Ruston dealt with Blue as a character and all of his eccentricities. Frangipani was another well written character, I felt very sorry for her as she was desperate to find out her own parentage, and this was a good sub-story from the main plot as I was really interested in it. Overall though, I really enjoyed Jessica Ruston's second novel, and was completely consumed by the world of Violet and the Cavalley's for every page that I read, and I felt sad when it ended as I really felt I got to know Violet very well. Ruston creates a complete world of lavish luxury for the Cavalley's yet the secrets behind them were unguessable and I was shocked as they were revealed. It was a brilliant book, and I definitely recommend it, I loved every page.
ISBN: 978-0755370320. Published by Headline in February 2011. Pages: 544. RRP: £6.99
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitreviews.com
Thank you for reading.