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Wives v Girlfriends - Katie Agnew

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Katie Agnew / 528 pages / Book published 2009-11-26 by Orion

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      21.03.2011 19:39
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      A very good read!

      In one summer in Marbella, the lives of several individuals are threatening to implode. Glamour model Jasmine is set to marry her footballer fiance, Jimmy, but all isn't what it seems in their relationship. Actress Lila is married to movie star Brett but he's far from a model husband. Former party girl Maxine wants to settle down but that ring on her finger is proving elusive. Charlie has done things he's definitely not proud of and dreams of setting out on the straight and narrow but the past just won't go away. As unconnected as they may seem from my very brief synopsis, the characters all become interlinked when their various stories take them to Marbella.

      I've only read one book by Katie Agnew but as I really enjoyed it, I had high hopes that the same would happen here and I wasn't disappointed. The character development was really good and I felt a connection with all of the leading characters. I expected Jasmine to be an annoying stereotypical WAG figure but there was far more to her than that and her intriguing past added an extra dimension to her character. She was a pretty strong character in relation to Lila, who is much more fragile and vulnerable. It's difficult not to feel extremely sorry for Lila because of that. Maxine is another fairly strong character, if a little more flighty than the other female characters and of the three, I found it that little bit harder to connect with her, although that's not to say that she isn't likeable. With Charlie's dodgy past I expected not to like his character, especially as there's a very dark side to his character when we first meet him but there are plenty of redeeming features to his personality which really drew me in. His is probably the most complex character in the book and the most intriguing. Charlie aside, the male characters are not particularly likeable and I could easily find something to annoy me about each of them - Jimmy is a self-obsessed idiot with deep issues to contend with; Brett cares nothing for Lila's feelings, and Carlos (Maxine's partner) seems more than a bit spineless when it comes to his past. Fortunately the main plot focuses on the three women and Charlie so the less likeable characters are sidelined.

      The narrative is in the third person, which I find tends to work the best in a plot that is flipping about between multiple characters in this fashion. The tone is quite chick lit but not overly conversational so it feels a bit more 'gritty' in the vein of Tasmina Perry or the Bagshawe sisters. Running through the book is a side narrative involving a mystery girl whose identity is only revealed towards the end of the book. I was really intrigued by who this girl turned out to be as without giving too much away, her situation isn't a very nice one and I was keen to uncover who she was and how she'd ended up there. There is a bit of a twist when the revelation comes (or at least there was for me!) as I thought I had a bit of an inkling as to who she was and turned out to be completely wrong.

      All in all, I really liked this book and managed to read it in a couple of days. I was suffering from a nasty cold/cough combination at the time and hadn't yet summoned up the enthusiasm to leave my bed so this was a great way to pass the time and take my mind off my symptoms. While I read a lot of books that are unashamedly chick lit and very fluffly in tone and plot, I do like to read these kind of books too which are still chick lit but run slightly deeper and tackle some more difficult issues within the plot. If you enjoy reading books by the likes of Tasmina Perry and the Bagshawe sisters, I'd imagine that you'd also like this book as it's along similar lines.

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