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27 April 2015

Review & Guest Post: 'Million Dollar Question' by Ellie Campbell

Just as a huge financial scandal throws New Yorker, Olivia Wheeler, from wealth and success to bankruptcy and shame, struggling impoverished single-mother Rosie Dixon wins an unexpected million pounds. Good luck? Bad luck? Who can tell? Both women have more in common than they realize. While Olivia struggles to survive her humiliations, fleeing broke and homeless to London, shy unassuming Rosie discovers sudden riches arrive with their own mega-load of problems. 

Can workaholic career-obsessed Olivia find a passion for something earthier and warmer than power and prestige? And can Rosie sift through envy and greed to discover true friends, true family and even true love? Two strangers who’ve never met. Yet neither realises how each is affecting the other’s destiny or the places their paths touch and fates entwine.
But will they surmount the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

That is the million dollar question.

Today I'm really excited to share my review of Ellie Campbell's latest novel 'Million Dollar Question' with all of you! The book was released on the 25th of April by Across the Pond Press and it's the third Ellie Campbell book I've had the pleasure of reading and reviewing so far. In 2013 and 2014 I was also contacted by author sisters Pam and Lorraine, whose pen name is Ellie Campbell, and got to review their novels 'To Catch a Creeper' (click here to read my review) and 'Looking for La La' (click here to read my review). I've enjoyed their other novels, so looked forward to picking up 'Million Dollar Question' as well! Be sure to scroll down to read an exclusive guest post from Ellie Campbell on.....!

Meet Rosie and Olivia; two women who lead completely different lives but somehow end up in similar situations, having more in common than they ever expected. New Yorker Olivia Wheeler has given it her all, working all hours, to get to the top. She leads a comfortable life, making lots of money and being used to luxury surrounding her wherever she goes. But what happens when a big financial scandal takes all of this away from her? Rosie Dixon is a struggling single mother with two sons who works hard to make sure she can provide for her family. She knows what it is like to just have a few pounds left to finish the month with, so it comes as an absolute shock when she unexpectedly wins a million pound jackpot. Both Olivia's and Rosie's worlds are suddenly turned upside down as they are forced to face the importance of money, friendship and family.

Another enjoyable read from Ellie Campbell and probably my favourite from the ones I've read so far! 'Million Dollar Question' has two main storylines at its core; one with a focus on rich New Yorker Olivia and the other on single mum Rosie who completely unexpectedy wins a million pounds. I liked both Olivia and Rosie; they're completely different but just as fascinating, and I really loved reading their stories and discovering how everything worked out for them. I loved how the author managed to connect the two storylines to one another. It is quite an original read and I think most of us occasionally dream about winning a lot of money, or take the money we have for granted, without actually realising how it influences our lives and could change everything within a matter of days. 

While there is a good and varied cast of characters, I did kind of miss being able to really connect with the characters, especially Olivia and Rosie. I would have loved to have learned more about both of their pasts; Rosie's marriage to Charlie, Olivia's struggles to get to the top. Since the story is quite quick-paced and a lot of things happen, I do understand the choice to perhaps not go into too much detail, but I personally did miss the detail! The author's writing seems to be getting better and better with each novel, though, and I am once again curious to see what Ellie Campbell will come up with next! Overall, 'Million Dollar Question' is an entertaining, original, quick-paced read that I ended up really enjoying. If you haven't picked up an Ellie Campbell novel yet, 'Million Dollar Question' is a great choice, especially for women's fiction fans!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Exclusive guest post by Ellie Campbell!

I'm both excited and honoured to have a special guest post from Ellie Campbell on the blog today to share with all of you. Enjoy!

Lorraine’s: Ten Fun Things I’d Do If I Won A Million 
Hmmn, this is harder than I thought.  Especially since I’m just about living my dream life – husband, horses, Colorado.  Of course I immediately want to say I’d give 10%, 20% or whatever to feed starving children, but in all honesty, would I?  The dozens of heartbreaking appeals that my few paltry contributions have spawned are bad enough. And would I just be saying that to appease my readers – or my conscience?   OK, let’s assume I’d give something to Oxfam or whoever and hastily move on.

1.      I’d find some land with a creek and create a sanctuary for abused horses and wild mustangs that have been rounded up and removed from state lands, either training them so they could find homes or allowing them to run free.  Of course that would entail moving to Wyoming or Montana where acreage is cheap and I’m not sure I’d be able to drag my husband along.  He already thinks living ten minutes out of town is the heart of the wilderness.  Let’s see, mustangs or marriage?  Eek, this money is already causing problems.

2.      I’d buy all my friends and family air tickets so we could all spend a couple of weeks at a big Italian villa with swimming pool and have an outrageous party.

3.      I’d build a proper sand arena to work my horses in or better still an indoor arena so I could ride them in the winter.  Of course we have lots of warm sunny days in winter when I could be riding in the pasture or on the trail and mostly I’m too lazy or busy to throw that big heavy western saddle on my horse or hitch up the trailer.  So maybe I’d better start by buying a lighter saddle.

4.      I would hire a professional landscaper to turn my sadly neglected yard into a floral paradise.   It looked good when we moved in but then we’ve had drought, problematic irrigation systems, people (not mentioning any names) not keeping up with the weeding and watering, trees blown down in 100 mph winds and, oh yes, a thousand year flood.  The chickens haven’t helped either or the fact that I use my back yard as an extra grazing pasture.

5.      I would DEFINITELY do an outrageous trip somewhere exotic – luxury African safari or trip to the interior of Borneo or gallop horses along the Mongolian plains – somewhere impossible to reach without spending a fortune. Or forget the Italian villa, what about one of those private islands that you can rent just for you and your friends? Although might feel bit guilty swanning around in third world country being waited on hand and foot.   I like taking the bus and hanging out with locals.  And private island – does that sound like it could be a wee bit boring?  I can see it now – two days lazing on beach, rest passed out from too much rum.

6.      I would hire a professional organizer and have my messy house arranged top to bottom, throwing out 90% of everything I own.  Then I would have it feng shui’d for extra luck.  And then I’d have to hire a live-in housekeeper because Chaos and I have a lasting bond and however much I try to be neat and tidy, it follows me like a little lost puppy.  
And while I’m at it I’d pay someone to shovel manure which is what I do instead of tidying.  But then I’d lose my best excuse for being outdoors and not inside writing.

7.      I’d put it all in some safe secure financial investment .  (Hah, hah, only joking☺  I’m not that smart.)

8.      I would buy books and audiobooks on every subject in which I have the remotest interest until I have enough to fill a library.  Oh wait, I’ve already done that.

9.      Like Rosie in our novel, I’d give lavish presents to my friends… but then they might all then hate me for showing off.   OK, anonymous presents.  Left on their doorstep.  (I actually know lovely, lovely people who’ve done just that, helped out broke friends with food baskets etc.)  Of course if said friends knew I’d just won a million they’d probably figure it out.  And people can be very touchy where pride and money is concerned.

10.     Well, hopefully, at least I'd fulfil at least one big fantasy – do an epic horseback adventure, riding the entire Colorado Trail or the length of the Pacific Coast. Not that Tim Cope who followed Genghis Khan’s journey 10,000 km through Mongolia, Kazakhastan and Russia to the Ukraine and into Hungary (as detailed in his book, In The Footsteps of Genghis Khan) - or Tschiffely, (of Tschiffely’s Ride), who spent 3 years riding his two horses 10,000 miles from Buenos Aires, Argentina to New York City, needed a million dollars to make their dream a reality.  So what's stopping me?  Maybe it’s the thought of all those saddle sores. 

So there you have it.  Would a million – be it dollars or pounds – change my life?  I’m sure it would but it’s hard to predict exactly how.  The one thing I’m certain of though is that at the end of the day, happy or unhappy, you are who you are, with all your faults and strengths.  Winning a load of money won’t help you escape from that.  But still it’d be fun to hear what crazy things you might do if you won a million?

Thanks so much, Lorraine!

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