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Covers, lovers and luxury labels (novel set in Antigua, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles…)

24th July 2013

Wicked Wives by Anna-Lou Weatherley, novel set in Antigua, Las Vegas, London (among other locations), Los Angeles, Ibiza…

B00BKQ0PEY.01.ZTZZZZZZThere are no good girls gone wrong – just bad girls found out” (Mae West).

This novel is a homage to the Wicked Women in this world… think Madonna, Joan Rivers, Lady Gaga, Alexis Colby and the polyglot character in this novel, Loretta Fiorentino.

Setting the scene: Wicked Wives by Anna-Lou Weatherley opens just off St John’s Bay in Antigua, and rolls around the world, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Ibiza are some of the locations that form a luxurious backdrop.

In this truly global romp, there are mavericks, gamblers, ex-strippers, imposters, property tycoons (possibly even bigger than Donald Trump), wicked wives, and more money spattered between the characters than is imagineable. The chapters all drip, drip with mentions of luxury brands, like the regular plop from exotic rustling palm trees after a tropical storm; it is therefore a must read for those who love plots peppered with top luxury labels – Chloe Marie totes, Ray-Ban Aviators, Missoni, a de Beers Marie-Antoinette necklace, Bulgari, Graff, Jimmy Choos…..

And if you need reminders that most of the characters are very, very seriously rich (or indeed, wannabe rich), then the innumerable descriptions of Beluga caviar consumption will serve to keep you on track – world stocks of this caviar must now be seriously depleted.

The plot swirls along nicely, it is truly very readable, with the characters crossing paths, sex scenes at regular intervals, and lots and lots of luxury labels (have I mentioned these already?).

Ultimately, however, the enjoyment of this novel was marred by poor proofreading. If foreign words aren’t your thing then it is easy to check the spelling on the internet – Dom Pérignon rightly keeps its accent aigu, but “chérie” loses its little accent somewhere en route. Italian for Do you understand comes out at one point as capicse…(it should be capisce); and we doubt you would find an Italian saying Bueno (which is Spanish, but, hey, Italy and Spain are both in Europe now, so let’s not be picky…).

In Las Vegas, hapless Candy falls into a hotel bed with Tom Black (who is a ‘beacon for discord, a magnet for upset and mayhem’, yet blessed with features as though ‘hand-carved by God himself’), but things get a bit turbulent after Tom disappears from the hotel, and a bit of confusion in the writing ensues between the word brevity and the (I guess) intended word gravity: “the brevity of the situation was only just beginning to dawn upon her, panic swelling up inside her guts like yeast.”… Hmmm.

A central feature in the novel is a disused warehouse in Soho, which a couple of the characters vie to purchase. The building starts out as being located at no.12 Starling Street, W1, but low! The address morphs into Swift Street later on. Now, I am not a birdie twitcher, but I am sure these are not technically interchangeable (having no doubt taken their original inspiration from the real Swallow Street in London…).

And what did we learn? Interestingly, there are vast ranges of thread counts for bed sheets (which was indeed interesting, going right up to 1000 counts), and that the capital city of Brazil is Rio (er, not).

B008M7S7LW.01.ZTZZZZZZAnd finally to the cover! The cover sells the book. It is the unique first port of call. It is the initial draw to tempt readers to it, and serves to give a bit of clue as to what the content might be about. It surely has to be a one-off?. So it was really interesting to find another book out there, also set somewhere ‘exotic’, which seems to be the exact mirror format – bar the lipstick colour – right down to the tiny curl of hair behind the ear. An interesting discovery but ultimately a depressing detractor from what is a reasonable read. And positive for neither book. Find out more about Desperate in Dubai, set in Dubai, here.


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