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10 April 2014

Review & Author Interview: 'Kept' by Elle Field (2013)

Life hasn't quite worked out how Arielle Lockley planned. Becoming the next Coco Chanel, not shopping at Chanel, was always her childhood dream but somehow she's ended up as a kept woman, living the jet set lifestyle with boyfriend Piers.

When the recession hits, it's not just the economy that takes a tumble. Broke and homeless with zero job prospects, can Arielle find her way again in time or will she always have to be a kept woman?

I’ve been following author Elle Field on Twitter for quite some time now, which is how I couldn’t possibly have missed the releases of both her chick lit novels ‘Kept’ and ‘Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not’ in 2013. This year, a sequel to ‘Kept’ will be released in the summer, called ‘Lost’, which is great news for fans of Elle’s work. I thought it was about time I sat down with one of Elle’s novels myself, because I’d been hearing great things. Next to that, I managed to get the lovely Elle to do a short interview for this blog, to go online together with my review of ‘Kept’, so be sure to check that out as well by simply scrolling down!

To the outside world, Arielle Lockley appears to lead a glamorous and comfortable life; an adoring banker boyfriend named Piers who pays everything for her, the most stylish designer outfits, numerous trips to the most luxurious locations, and she doesn’t even need to work. Yet, Arielle never expected she’d end up a kept woman, forgetting her dreams of becoming a fashion designer. When Piers unexpectedly kicks her out after an argument, Arielle is forced to go back to her parents and think about her life. This is her chance to no longer be a kept woman, but fight for her own dreams... But is it too late? And can Arielle really forget Piers?

Elle Field’s debut novel is a really enjoyable read with a fascinating heroine at its centre. Arielle is incredibly spoiled and self-centred, which didn’t make me warm to her at the start of the novel. However, as a reader we are taken on a journey to experience how Arielle’s character changes and is forced to make some important decisions in her life. I think most of us will be able to relate to Arielle in a way, and I really enjoyed seeing how she dealt with everything in her life. We are introduced to Arielle’s life by a switch between the present time and a collection of flashbacks (some elements from her past even come back as the story progresses), which gives the reader the chance to understand why Arielle has made certain decisions and how she has found herself in this position. Elle Field managed to make me root for Arielle and I ended up loving her!

The book has a lovely collection of supporting characters: I personally developed a small crush on Piers, Arielle’s banker boyfriend, who is a real gentleman, and Arielle’s best friend Obelix managed to make me laugh out loud multiple times (I’m just not too sure about the name, I constantly saw Obelix in my head, blue-and-white striped trousers and two braids and all!). The story is well-written and develops in a good pace; it made me want to keep on reading to find out what would eventually happen to Arielle and where she would end up. Overall, ‘Kept’ is an enjoyable and fast-paced chick lit read, and I look forward to reading more of Elle’s work in the future!


For more information about this book: Amazon UK Amazon US / Goodreads

Author Interview with Elle Field

Can you tell us something about your novel, ‘Kept’?
Kept is about twenty-something Arielle Lockley who always wanted to be the next Coco Chanel, but has instead spent the past four years living a dizzying whirl of glitzy parties, luxurious holidays and daily shopping sprees, and not doing anything to make her Coco dreams happen. 

When the recession hits, it’s not just the economy that takes a tumble… Arielle finds herself living back with her parents, on bad terms with her ex boyfriend Piers, and with a CV that’s as welcome as a pair of knock-off Jimmy Choos. Not to mention unwelcome thoughts of her childhood sweetheart that are popping into her head. Arielle must not only figure out what it is she wants to do with her life but who she wants to be with.

Kept is the jet-set fantasy we’ve all dreamed of, but it explores the reality of what it’s actually like being that kept woman, especially when it all goes horribly wrong!

Where did you find the inspiration for ‘Kept’? Is it in any way based on your own personal experiences?
Like Arielle I’ve known what career I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a child (Arielle’s childhood dream was to be a fashion designer). Writing Kept made my dream happen, but I won’t spoil it by telling you how things work out for Arielle! 

Real life is definitely a great place for book inspiration but I always make sure to add a fictional twist if I do draw upon any of my own personal experiences.

What about the protagonist of the novel, Arielle. Can you tell us a bit more about her and how she became your main character?
Arielle is definitely a flawed character, and one confused lady! I wrote her so that you hate her at the start of the book but then slowly warm to her as she realises what an awful person she has become - you see her try to redeem herself for her past bratty behaviour throughout the book. She's a fan of fashion but underneath her flawless appearance - which makes her appear more confident than she actually is - she has the same insecurities as anyone else.  

There’s a great mix of support characters in the novel. Which character did you most enjoy writing about and why?
That definitely would have to be Obélix, who is Arielle's best friend from home. He completely has Arielle's back, although theirs is a relationship that is very much stuck in their teenage years - lots of name calling and taunts, which was great fun to write! Obélix has a heart of gold though, despite his perversions, and it was fun thinking of ways to make him dreadful, albeit still very lovable.   

Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans as an author? Are you already working on a next novel?
I'm currently working on Kept's sequel, which is called Lost. You'll be able to find out how Arielle gets on now she's back in London... I don't want to spoil it for those who still have Kept on their TBR pile, but I can tell you that there will be more of Obélix and Felicity in this book, as well as some interesting new characters who might not be all that they seem on first appearances...

Lost will be out later this year. My second novel Geli Voyante's Hot or Not was released last October, and is currently available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon. 

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Never give up. It might take you six months to publish your novel or it might take six years... if you give up though, it never will. 

What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
Broken Dolls by James Carol. It’s not a chick lit book – I tend to read thrillers, crime fiction, young adult and non-fiction when I’m working on my own books so I can’t accidentally ‘contaminate’ them – but it was a gripping storyline, albeit sometimes a little too gruesome in parts! It tells the story of Jefferson Winter, an investigator who is over in London trying to stop a serial killer, and I’d highly recommend it. 

Which book could you not live without?
Do I really have to pick just one?! OK, fine then, but I’m going to cheat slightly and pick my copy of The Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, which is beautifully illustrated by Pauline Baynes – it’s technically one book! It’s one of my favourite books, and one I’ll read time and time again. 

And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Kept’ in just three words, which words would you pick?
Love. Fashion. Redemption. 

Thanks so much, Elle, for taking the time to do this interview! :)

You can read Elle's literary, London and life adventures on her blog:

Follow her on Twitter: @ellefie

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your lovely review and having me on the blog today. {^_^} xx