"Did she really just say that? I am fifteen again, except the reality is I am experiencing full parental horror, aged twenty-five. I want to die."
Life hasn't quite worked out how Arielle Lockley imagined it would. Becoming the next Coco Chanel was always her childhood dream, but she's spent the past four years living a dizzying whirl of glitzy parties, luxurious holidays and daily shopping sprees - all paid for by boyfriend Piers - and not doing anything to make her Coco dreams happen.
When the recession hits, it's not just the economy that takes a tumble and Arielle finds herself living back with her parents, on bad terms with Piers, and having a CV that's as welcome as a pair of knock-off Jimmy Choos. And maybe it's the location, but she's also finding unwelcome thoughts of her childhood sweetheart are popping into her head...
What's a girl to do? Can Arielle figure out what it is she now wants to do with her life and move on, or will she be doomed to spend the rest of her life dwelling over her worst mistakes, stuck listening to her parents' embarrassing dinner table talk each night?
Review: I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of this book for review by its lovely author. This is Elle Field's first novel and what a debut it is! I'm a massive fan of books that get straight into the action and then explain how it all came about over the course of the book. The concept of this story is great. Arielle suddenly finds herself on her way back to her parents, rejected and penniless, how did she come to be in this state, well that is what we find out. Nothing is a straightforward as it seems in this fast-paced savvy story. I was kept guessing the whole way through, having no idea how things were going to turn out-fabulous!
Now I have to admit, I absolutely hated Arielle. I thought she was really spoilt and really didn't like the way she was living her lives. She seemed to have no respect for those around her and just threw their love for her back into their faces. Thankfully, she does see the light and manages to turn her life around. By the end of the novel she is a strong independent woman who is able to stand on her own two feet and is willing to help others out along the way, just the kind of heroine I like to read about!
The supporting characters in this novel really are larger than life. Her mum and dad are typical parents who are just a little on the judgemental side and really care about what the neighbours think. Her pal Ob is a typical lads lad, sex-mad and seemingly always meeting her for a pint. The two male 'leads' in the novel are also exaggerated characters with money to burn, slightly philandering and not really sure who they are without a girl in tow! Friend Lydia seems to have no feelings apart from the money, but, like Arielle, she comes through in the end and really helps her friend out.
This novel is set between London, Hampshire and Bournemouth. The settings are described really well and you can always picture Arielle flitting around Sloane square or trolling the boutiques in Bournemouth, something which I really like to be able to do as a reader. There are some really funny moments in the novel and just the right amount of sex to be realistic and believable. I thought this was a wonderful debut and slots nicely into the chick-lit genre. I couldn't actually believe that this wasn't written by one of the chick-lit queens, the storyline and the writing itself being the perfect combination of witty one-liners, twists and turns and self-discovery!