Is also a novel by a certain Louise Bagshawe and, in my quest for awful books full of derp and rage, I read it because the bumf on the back said she was a British answer to some American chick lit scribbler and given that I have a special loathing for chick lit, I just had to immerse myself in this wasteland of "edgy, sophisticated women and handsome, powerful men" as the bumf refers to it as.
I wish I hadn't.
The adventures of three nasty minded backstabbing wank baskets who everyone inexplicably loves.
A bit more detail if you don't mind?
Sally Lassiter, Helen Yanna and Jane Morgan are three women who are proprietors of the ultra-wealthy and high powered cosmetics firm named Glamour, who are some megacorp who have their fingers in every single fashion and beauty pie imaginable. They all descend on each other to thrash out some sort of massive argument where they're all trying to screw each other over for control of the firm. We are introduced to them - Jane Morgan, a sensible Brit, Sally Lassiter, an obnoxious American woman, and Helen Yanna, who's some sort of Middle Eastern princess - as they descend on each other for this argument. Much description is made of what they are wearing and how unearthly glamorous they are. Clothing porn is engaged in, to an extent where I wonder whether Dolce e Gabbana, MaxMara, and Maria Grachvogel are paying the author off for this.
The novel then flashes back to the 1980s where the three of them are all cohorts at a super exclusive Californian boarding school for the daughters of rich parents. Apparently Jane is the shy, bookish daughter of a diplomat, Sally is the town-bike offspring of a Texan oil magnate, and Haya (as she's called then) is the slightly bemused offspring of a Jordanian businessman. This is where they all get it together and suchlike. Their characters, well, I've just described their entire characterisations in the above paragraph. They are a trio of beautiful special snowflake Mary Sues whose flaws aren't. For instance, Jane is bullied as the bookish, shy girl she is until The Makeover upon where she becomes beautiful all along. The rest of it isn't much better.
Speaking of which, the author seems unable to let a page go by without, where Sally is mentioned, referring to "her illegal curves." Not only is this a metaphor so stupid as to be unbelievable, but when I googled it every result, pretty much, took me to a porno story.
So, naturally, all three of them then find themselves dropping out, Jane because her diplomat father commits suicide to escape massive debt, Sally because her father gets banged up for colossal tax evasion, and Haya or Helen or whatever she's called this chapter gets stuffed into an arranged marriage back home. The rest of the flashback details their heroic and thoroughly unbelievable clawing back up to become who they are.
This is of course aided by the fact that they're all enormous Mary Sues. Now come on. Jane gets a job greeting at a supermarket and gets fired by her bitchy manager because a punter makes an unjustified complaint about her. Sucks to be her, right? Only it turns out that one of the directors of the supermarket chain is passing by and overhears this and not only chews out the manager for being a bloody idiot, but then Jane is able to talk her way into being promoted over the manager just like that. The company director then showers her with praise and affection and warm fluffies and the bitchy manager repents and sees the error of her ways and comes over all repentant.
Snerk. Yeah right.
Then there's Sally. Not only is she a totally unlikeable death-bitch with an ego the size of a planet and continues to act like this even after she's reduced to penury with her alcoholic mother while her old man's in the slammer, everyone suddenly likes her and thinks she's awesome even though she still acts like the same spoilt teenager she is. She also continues to have "illegal curves" and claims that she has "always been a star" when one of the first journalists who she runs across starts taking an interest.
Needless to say, people still like her even though she rages at people who explain quite reasonably why she shouldn't do what she's doing (such as using her laptop while a plane is landing) in a display of egotism not equalled until Tyra Banks screamed at an America's Next Top Model contestant for not crying when eliminated. The authorial voice sides with her on this and even those who berate her for such inauspicious conduct also see the error of their ways.
Helen is the only of the three whose plot is vaguely believable. However, the whole angle - arranged marriage to an older man who just wants to slap bellies with a pretty girl now his deeply missed first wife is dead - is kinda forgotten about when she goes off and rejoins her gittish mates. But not before he's got her up the stick so the author can tick the "career woman juggling a kid" marketing box. Although in retrospect, the impact of that is slightly lost when Helen is actually super rich enough to blunt the impact of this circumstance, both by being born to well off parents and then by marriage to an increasing number of wealthy men concluding in an Arab oil sheikh (which explains why she's a princess when the novel opens.) Sorry, but marrying into wealth is not sophisticated or edgy.
The rest of the book is suitably awful.
Then there's the fact that the author's chronologies are all completely out of whack. During the women's childhoods, it's explicitly the 1980s. We know this because heavy metal is popular amongst the cool kids. Like Nirvana. Who were grunge *spit on the floor in rejection of evil* and not big enough for the cool kids to like them until 1992. Then mention is made of selling something on eBay. In the 1980s. Yes. Also, how come this trio are so awesomely awesome and glamorous to attract press attention at a high school party just a couple of months after they get it together? Then there's the fact that Haya/Helen/whatever's baby is banging on saucepans and toddling... at four months old. Or the general meteoric rise of the threesome in what seems like just a few years.
There's also clumsily written sex scenes here and there. Which are about as erotic as assembling furniture. Oh come on, what else do you expect from the woman who brought you constant reference to Sally's "illegal curves" which becomes, over the course of the novel, almost as irritating as Fifty Shades of Grey and its' protagonist's constant flushing, biting her lip, and having an inner goddess.
Now don't get me wrong. Rags to riches tales do exist. Cardinal Wolsey for one. Emperor, sorry, avtokrator, Basil I of the Byzantine Empire for another. But it doesn't just happen overnight like it seems to here. Ascendancy of that nature takes years and years. Especially not in the fashion industry, where the snobbish he-bitches that rule it will only give up power the day Satan is skating to work. It's just... not believable in any way, shape, or form. Not here anyhow.
I notice the author wrote about nine or ten novels before this one. I won't be reading them. If this is the level of stuff that Louise Bagshawe puts out, then I can't really be excused now can I. If you see this novel for sale anywhere, shoot first, ask questions later.