Review: 'First We Take Manhattan' by Colette Caddle (2014)
Identical twins, Sinéad and Sheila Fields, have always done everything together and so, after graduating in millinery, they decide to open their own hat shop. It's a small business but thanks to hard work and talent, they build up a loyal clientele. Then one day a glamorous young actress buys one of their hats, wears it to the Baftas and suddenly success seems guaranteed.
But within weeks, tragedy strikes when Sheila disappears, and is presumed dead. After months of desolation, Sinéad is just beginning to come to terms with her loss when she is given new hope: there has been a sighting of her sister. While she is filled with excitement at the thought that Sheila might be alive, she is haunted by questions. Why would Sheila have deserted her twin without a word? After all, they had always told each other everything … hadn't they?
Earlier this year I was incredibly lucky to win a competition on Twitter which resulted in me receiving a gorgeous copy of Colette Caddle’s latest release, ‘First We Take Manhattan’! The paperback version of the book was released on the 14th of August, so I decided to read my own copy around that same time, during my summer holiday. I’ve read some of Colette’s previous books and loved all of them, so I was really looking forward to sitting down with this new one. Intriguing blurb, gorgeous cover, great title... I definitely had high hopes for this one!
Twin sisters Sheila and Sinead Fields are about to finally make it in the world of fashion. Following their graduation, the sisters decided to set up their own millinery business and after an actress decided to wear one of their hats to the BAFTA’s, business seems to be booming. Then, unexpectedly, Sheila mysteriously disappears and all that is left of her are her car and her bag. Everyone assumes she probably killed herself, but the body was never found. Sinead is completely devastated and finds it difficult to go on with her life without her twin sister by her side. Eventually, Sinead hires someone new to help out at the hat shop, but as things are finally starting to look up, some family secrets come to the surface and Sinead once again starts to doubt whether Sheila really killed herself...
‘First We Take Manhattan’ is Colette Caddle’s thirteenth novel and I personally think it is her best one so far. One of the things I enjoyed most about this novel is that it kept me guessing and managed to surprise me until the very last pages. This is also why this review might not include as much information about the book as usual, because I simply don’t want to ruin the reading experience for others. The plotline is incredibly captivating, the cast of characters is interesting and diverse, and there’s also a lovely touch of romance in the book. Sinead is a fabulous protagonist; I couldn’t help but warm to her and I’m sure many readers will experience the same feeling. Next to Sinead, there’s a wonderful cast of supporting characters. I especially loved the character of Krystie, who is hired by Sinead to help out in the hat shop. All the supporting characters are there for a reason and really added different aspects to the story as a whole.
The novel is quite fast-paced and you have to stay focused in order to not miss anything. I really enjoyed Colette Caddle’s writing; she managed to catch my attention from the very first chapter and I didn’t want to put the book down before I had finished it. As I already mentioned, I don’t want to give too much away, but I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good women’s fiction read; you will not be disappointed! ‘First We Take Manhattan’ is an incredibly intriguing, well-written and thoroughly enjoyable novel that will keep you guessing until the very end; a book that comes highly recommended!