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I loaned Valentine from the library after writing a review on Katie Price's novel Crystal and Mummy2Harry, a member and guide of the dooyoo community suggested reading this as it was by the ghost writer of her books. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all four of Katie Price's novels and therefore it was a no brainer that I should read Valentine.
*About the Rebecca Farnworth*
Have you ever heard of Rebecca Farnworth? No? Well neither had I. At least I didn't think I did. She is a celebrity ghost writer who appears to be going it alone. She is the real success behind Katie Price's fantastic novels including Angel and Crystal.
*A Brief Summary of the Plot*
Valentine Fleming has dreams of being an actress but after a succession of failed auditions, she wonders if she can cut it in the industry. Her hopes and confidence are diving rapidly until an opportunity in a theatre group for a Shakespeare production comes up. Could this be the break she so desperately needs? Things start to look up as Valentine is appearing in a production alongside a very handsome leading man but a secret is exposed and her whole world is rocked. Will Valentine deal with this secret? Will her career as an actress take off? And will she find love or will her feelings for someone in her past hold her back?
*Characters and My Thoughts of Them*
Valentine: Valentine is the main character of the book and an entirely likeable character. She is a struggling actress who has a very energetic and comical personality. And the most important thing you should know about her is that she loves peanut butter. From the instant that you begin reading the book, you find her to be loveable, funny and a normal girl who makes mistakes just like we all do. There are times throughout the novel that you get so sucked in and genuinely care about what is going to happen next in her life. And there are moments when you want to shout at her to tell her what to do. I think that part of the reason why this book is a great success is because you really do feel like you know her and can relate to her emotions, especially her insecurities. Even her slight complaining about her appearance isn't enough to make to dislike her even in the slightest.
Lauren: Lauren is Valentine's best friend and flat mate. She, like Valentine is a struggling actress trying to make it in the industry. She is always honest with Valentine and there on hand to give her a push when needed. Lauren has fairly bad language and when she is around, quite a bit of swearing is in the dialogue. This adds to her character and I can see her personality in a lot of my friends! Lauren is very anti-men towards the beginning of the book but will she change her opinion of them?
Lily and Frank: These are Valentine's neighbours. They are an older couple and very endearing. In the story, they have a little sub story and play their own part. A few of the scenes that they are in are very emotional and I think they play a very important part in the book. My friend has also read this book and felt that their characters were pointless but I completely disagree and I think that had they not been in it, there would have been something huge missing.
Jack: This hunk of a man is the guy that Valentine spends a lot of time with romantically throughout the novel. He is a real charmer and an extremely likeable character in the book. I will be very surprised if you don't view him as a idol and fall for him.
Finn: This is Valentine's despicable ex who uses her and treats her like a door mat. He is an actor who is desperate in the extreme to be successful in the industry, using people to get where he wants to go. The way that Farnworth allows us to loathe him helps us to see Jack as more of a hero.
What I particularly liked about this book is Farnworth's ability to clearly have a sole character that we focus on yet still create a number of other fantastic characters. The characters of Valentine and Lauren in particular intrigued me as the characters are so real that you could imagine them being best friends in reality. I think that Farnworth has a real talent for characterisation as I felt the emotions that I believe she was trying to draw out for each and every person in the book, something that many authors fail to do.
Valentine is chic lit at its very best. This novel is full of everything that you would ask for when reading this genre but also includes a number of more serious topics that add an edge to the story. These are combined well with the humour that comes from characters such as Lauren and Valentine herself. I won't go into any depth as I do not want to ruin the book for you. Hopefully you will pick it up and read it for yourself. I think that you'll be missing out if you don't. And what I also liked about it was that it wasn't as predictable as you would expect. There are plenty of twists to keep you hooked.
There is no question that Rebecca Farnworth is the ghost writer for Katie Price's novels as the style of writing and language she uses is pretty much identical. It is written in the third person is very fluid which makes it very easy to read. It is fast paced and energetic and so easy to read that I finished the book in just one day. I found myself so sucked into the story and eager to find out what was going to happen next that I literally couldn't put it down.
*Would I Recommend This Book?*
I would undoubtedly recommend Valentine as a book that anyone who loves a bit of chic lit should read. It is light-hearted for the majority of the novel but it also contains some substance and you can expect to shed a few tears. If you enjoyed reading any of the Katie Price novels, you will love this but I must warn those who don't like scenes of a sexual nature to stay clear as there are a few moments when things get a little racy.
If you are looking for a book to read on holiday whether it is by the beach, at the airport or in your hotel room, this is perfect! You can read it all at once or dip in and out easily.
My recommendations if you are looking for a book similar to this are:
- Angel by Katie Price (or any of her other novels)
- by Louise Bagshawe
- by Cecelia Ahern
I am so pleased that I took the advice of Mummy2Harry and read this book as it is fantastic. I sincerely hope that Farnworth releases her next book soon as I was left wanting to pick up another of her books. She could become one of my favourite authors as I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style and loved how easy the book was to read. So for anyone that sometimes struggles to get into a book, this could be perfect for you.
You can buy this book from www.amazon.co.uk for £5.49 and although I think this is money well spent because it is a super book, you probably won't read it again so you might be better off borrowing it from your library. That's what I did anyway.
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
Valentine Fleming is an aspiring actress, but she doesn't seem to be getting far with her career. So when Valentine auditions for a Shakespeare play and then gets the part, she's over the moon. She's starring alongside handsome new actor Jack Hart, and Valentine is smitten by him, even though she's not over her ex Finn. However, a secret is about to come out that is going to rock Valentine's world as she knows it. Valentine turns to her best friend Lauren and neighbours Frank and Lily for advice, but she knows it's down to her to choose what to do. Is her lucky break about to be over, or is she going to hold it altogether and make it to the top once and for all? And will Valentine ever find true love and get her man?!
You may not think you have heard of Rebecca Farnworth, but you have probably heard of a few famous books she has written! Rebecca is a celebrity ghost-writer and has been the writer behind Katie Price's successful novels Angel, Angel Uncovered, Crystal, and Sapphire. I've only read Angel which I thought was an okay read, but judging by how popular Price's novels have been, I have to credit this to the writing skill of Farnworth and so I was interested to see what this novel was going to be like. It's lovely bright cover and synopsis sounds like perfect chick-lit and it really did deliver on all areas for me.
Valentine Fleming is such a loveable character, and that is really the main reason this novel is such a success for me. From the first few pages of meeting her, I really liked her and wanted everything to work out for her initial audition (which is where we first see her). She's very self-critical, in love with her awful ex who uses her when he needs some "loving" and is desperate to be a success. Valentine is a comic character because she has a funny outlook on life, although we do see a more serious side to her as the book progresses. I could relate to Valentine, and I imagine many women could!
The other characters are actually very important in this book as well, it's not solely focussed on just Valentine which makes it interesting. Her best friend Lauren is also an actress but very anti-men. Her scenes have a lot of bad language but it somehow fits and doesn't seem at all out of place! My other favourite characters were Lily and Frank, Valentine's neighbours who were just delightful to read. They have a special story in the book too, and it was very emotional and touching. Jack is Valentine's love interest, and what a charmer he is. I defy you not to love him, he is the perfect hero! Other characters pop up and are so brilliantly realistic, you can see them clearly in your mind!
'Valentine' is a book that takes you on the journey of one woman, but it really is so much more than that. The book covers lot of issues within, I can't really discuss them too much here because I will give away plot spoilers, but I enjoyed the serious issues being intertwined with the comedy and perils of Valentine's love life. Scenes in Valentine's local off-licence were hilarious and I did find my giggling out loud! Farnworth has a real talent for writing fantastic characters that a reader will care about, and consequently I just could not put this book down. I was desperate to find out how things were going to end for all the stars of this book, and Farnworth really delivers on all counts for me.
Love is something that affects all of us, and being the theme of this book, I would definitely recommend it if you like your books soppy but that pack a punch as well. The author writes in a brilliant third person style which allows you to watch these characters but also get into their heads as well, I loved it. It's not a short book but I read this in just over a day, I simply couldn't resist picking it up at every spare moment. This is chick-lit at its best, a well written, enjoyable story with a fantastic leading lady that you can't help but care about. I loved every page and was so disappointed when it ended. I only hope Farnworth has more material in the pipeline! I can't recommend it highly enough - a perfect read.
ISBN: 978-0099527190. Published by Arrow Books in May 2009. The paperback has an RRP of £6.99 and has 368 pages.
Thank you for reading!