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16 July 2013

Review: 'Party Games' by Jo Carnegie (2013)

Although the countryside town of Beeversham looks picture-perfect, nothing is quite as it seems. Behind closed doors, three women are struggling to lead the lives they want.

Vanessa seems like she simply must have it all - she's beautiful, rich and married to gorgeous actor, Conrad. But beneath the glitz, she is asking herself whether this really is the life she wants to lead - when she has so much, why does she feel so empty?

Meanwhile, Fleur is trying desperately to save the farm that her family have lived on for hundreds of years, when playboy Beau makes her an offer she can't refuse.

And Catherine has given up the high-flying career she thought she always wanted, and is trying to build a wonderful new life in the country. But finding rural bliss is harder than it looks.

Hopes and dreams, loves and losses - and lots and lots of secrets - let Jo Carnegie take you behind the scenes of one very special town.

Since I first saw the cover of Jo Carnegie’s latest novel ‘Party Games’ and had read the blurb, I was secretly hoping I would be receiving a review copy, and thankfully, I did (thank you, Transworld!). I hadn’t read anything by Jo Carnegie before, but I really liked the sound of ‘Party Games’. A picture-perfect village, three female characters with their own stories to tell, hopes, dreams, secrets... I knew, without a doubt, that this would be an entertaining read!

The town of Beeversham is a small village in England where big things are about to happen. An anonymous building corporation has plans to knock down the town’s castle and build a large theme park instead, promising new jobs and more tourists. The inhabitants of Beeversham are against the plans, but how can they stop this enormous change from happening? At the centre of this, we have three female inhabitants of the small town: Vanessa, the UK’s favourite female celeb, who is stuck in an unhappy marriage until she meets the new hunky gardener Dan; Fleur, who is doing everything she can to save her family’s farm while trying to ignore heartthrob Beau’s romantic advances; and Catherine, who has given up her career as a successful magazine editor in order to start a family in the countryside, but when she can’t get pregnant she finds herself looking for something else to keep her occupied. Much is happening in the small town of Beeversham, but no one knows what enormous changes lie ahead...

Where do I start with this novel?! After about fifty pages, I already noticed a lot was going on. Different storylines, many characters... It really took me a bit of time to get into the story, but as soon as I did, I simply didn’t want to stop reading. The novel became kind of addictive, like a soap opera, with all the intrigue, lies, secrets, unexpected twists and turns. I loved the three female characters (Catherine, Vanessa, and Fleur) and their individual storylines. They were each really different characters that brought a fascinating story to the table, and I loved how the novel focused on them in turns, while using the main Beeversham tale as a red thread to which everything else was somehow linked.

‘Party Games’ can really be described as a soap opera on paper which is scandalously enjoyable and addictive. I really liked Jo Carnegie’s writing style; pleasant, quick, easy-to read. However, I did sometimes lose track of all the different characters and who was who and what their link to the other villagers was. I really loved Vanessa, Fleur and Catherine and the characters close to them, so I wouldn’t have minded if some of the smaller characters would have remained anonymous. Overall, ‘Party Games’ is an addictive, thoroughly enjoyable, scandalous and glamorous read you will not want to put down, and I personally can’t wait to pick up some of Jo Carnegie’s other novels.


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