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First Ladies [Paperback]

Kay Burley
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 7.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

12 May 2011

What happens when the power of love challenges the love of power?

‘So, have you met the Prime Minister before?’

Suave PM Julian Jenson has just been re-elected. The nation’s darling, he has an elegance and natural charm in public. But in private the cracks are starting to show.

At his side is his wife, Valerie. Trim, tall, well educated but deeply unhappy – with her son and daughter away at school, alcohol is becoming a trusted friend.

Sally Simpson is at the peak of her game. Powerful editor of the bestselling magazine Celeb, she can’t wait to take her rightful place by Julian’s side.

Sexy TV reporter Isla McGovern has caught Julian’s eye, and she will do anything (or anyone) to get to the top.

When the three women meet, so begins a perfect storm, and only one can emerge as the First Lady.

‘Juiciest read of the year. I loved it.’ Tasmina Perry

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (12 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007364601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007364602
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 452,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


‘Kay Burley uses her unrivalled knowledge of the worlds of politics,media and celebrity to racy effect.’ Lord Mandelson

‘Julian might lead the country but he underestimates his lovers at his peril.’ Barbara Taylor Bradford

‘Once I picked up this book, it wouldn't put me down again.' Kathy Lette

‘A brilliant, thrilling read.’ Closer

From the Author

What are your greatest passions in life?
My son, my animals and my work.

I hear you keep chickens, and have dogs too. Tell us about them, and how else do you relax?
I have three Irish setters, Dill, Gordon and Alf, who are bonkers but adorable. I also have 15 chickens most of whom are ex-battery girls who were rescued just before they were about to head for the great coop in the sky. I also relax by jogging and visiting friends in the country.

Tell me more about becoming a writer?

I love writing. I have since I was a little girl. I had no idea that anyone would be interested in what I had to say but my wonderful editor, Sarah Ritherdon, has given me confidence to find a voice that readers seem to enjoy. Long may it continue!

Do you get inspiration for your fiction from your exciting journalism career? Can you give us some examples?
First Ladies has three main female characters. They’re all based on me at varying stages of my life, if I’d just turned a slightly different corner… and then I’ve stretched it into fiction. I loved every minute of writing it. I hope readers will recognise a little bit of themselves in some of the characters too.

How did you start your career in journalism?

I began in journalism more than 30 years ago as a junior reporter on the Evening Post and Chronicle in Wigan, Lancashire. I also worked in local radio and television, including a stint as Richard and Judy’s researcher at Granada Reports in Manchester. I came to London in 1985 as an overnight reporter at TV-am, the forerunner to Daybreak and joined Sky in 1988.

What has been the most memorable news story you have covered?
There have been so many although announcing the death of Diana, Princess of Wales was a shocking day, as was the collapse of the World Trade Centre in New York with the loss of thousands of lives. On a happier note, presenting from Singapore and announcing that London was to host the 2012 Olympics, stealing it from under the noses of the unhappy French was a great day.

When you appeared in Dancing on Ice in 2007, you gave your appearance fee to Macmillan Cancer Relief. Why is this particular charity so important to you?

I am an Ambassador for Macmillan. In addition to Dancing on Ice I also donated £150,000 to the charity after appearing on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire with my colleague and friend Eamonn Holmes. Macmillan allowed my mother to die with dignity and respect when she contracted breast cancer in 1993 and they have offered the same comfort and support to many tens of thousands of other people since.

What makes you laugh?
BBC hospitality!

What was the last book you read and loved?
East of Eden. I have read Steinbeck many times in the past, but the master story-teller continues to draw me back. I want to be him when I grow up but sadly the only similarities are that we both have a journalistic background. He grabs the reader from the very first page and it’s impossible to come up for air again until the final full stop. A literary genius.

Can you tell us anymore about your next book?

It’s about Lily Dunlop, a young girl born into wealth and privilege who has everything to live for… except a future. Her secret pain is slowly revealed on prime time television over the Christmas period after she finds herself locked in a security vault with an Arab royal family and a very grumpy security guard.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kay Burley's Gift 7 May 2011
Kay Burley shows in this book a wonderful gift for taking all the interesting people she has met through her 'journalism' job and making them totally implausible. And she exercises this talent to its maximum in the unlikely tale of suave Julian, the skillfully tongued Prime Minister, his hard-drinking wife, Valerie and the many media people Kay assumes are at the forefront of all public life. The most implausible character of all is the sexy, 'intelligent' TV journalist, Isla.

If you are hoping either for a straightforward 'jolly good read' or a book so bad it might be fun I am afraid you won't find either in 'First Ladies'. One has to admire Kay's determination, however, to try difficult things - interviewing, ice-skating and now novel writing. Blind ambition is also a gift of a kind.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly written nonsense 12 May 2012
By Petros
Format:Kindle Edition
The plot has little credibility, albeit lots of hype due to the author's job. The writing is poor and assuming this was edited must have been absolutely dreadful in the original MS. The comments by Lord mandelson clearly aren't attributable to his ability as a literary critic. The only justification for publishing this book would appear to be the author's name.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars rambling rubbish 18 Feb 2013
Pity. The concept looked interesting, but the delivery is awful. If there's any story at all, the whole thing should have been handed to a competent ghost writer. Kay Burley may have a tailor-made background for writing a fascinating political / media novel packed with insider knowledge, but 400 pages of her inability to communicate that knowledge was just a waste of potential. I thought at first the rambling was a clever narrative ploy, the voice of the drunken wife, but then the head jumping started, each character less believable than the last, all indistinguishably fuzzy. Random punctuation scattered over the paragraphs just added to the general confusion, a black mark against the publisher as much as the author.

Life is short - I gave the book 20 odd (very odd) pages, then looked at the end to see if a rabbit had been magically pulled out of the hat to off-set the first ghastly impression. It hadn't.

There have been some sparkling reviews, so obviously the book perks up and gets interesting and coherent at some point, but the bits I plodded through were dire. This review covers the bits I did manage to read but should would warn any reader with high expectations to adjust them dramatically downward.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Rubbish 14 Nov 2012
I was looking forward to reading this book mostly due to Miz Burleys dire reputation. Unfortunatly with her style of writing it soon became apparent that her claims to be an author match her claims to be a journalist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars First Ladies 27 Feb 2014
By ceegee
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read, and thoroughly enjoyed this book - especially the ending. Also bought it as gift for two others to enjoy.
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