on 6 August 2012
I received an ARC from the author, as I have read and enjoyed all of her other books in a different genre and was intrigued by this new departure. It's not the usual kind of book I would read, but reading the back cover, it reminded me of Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer, which I read about 15 years ago, but it was much better, more emotional. The separation of siblings at birth and what would happen to them, I knew would be a story that I would like. I just wasn't prepared for how much. I was gripped by the story right from the start. I stopped writing my own novel for 2 days, so I could read it, I was so hooked. I honestly didn't want it to end. The bravery of both sisters in the face of adversity was the key aspect I enjoyed. The way Joanna Rees painted such amazing characters, particularly one which I hated (I will leave it to you to read to find out who and I am sure you will agree with me) was fascinating. The story is set in several countries and I loved this. I am a great fan of Italy and the part set in Italy, I could vividly imagine and the family dynamic was very well depicted. Likewise, having visited New York, I could envisage Maddox Towers and I had no problem in seeing the places in my head. The contrast between the rich, luxurious lifestyle which one child was brought up in and the extreme poverty and horrors through which the other child lived was crafted exceedingly well. There are also power struggles, twists and turns and some rather disturbing scenes. All in all an amazing book, which I can't applaud enough
on 28 November 2012
Joanna Rees is a Chick Lit author that's been about for years. Firstly as Josie Lloyd, then as a collaboration writer with her husband Emlyn Rees, then she became Jo Rees and now, in what could be her last(?) incarnation, she is Joanna Rees. I've never read any of her novels written solely by her, but I have read a couple of her collaboration books with her husband Emlyn Rees. I loved them, actually, and I was quite disappointed their partnership as writers (writership?), though they are still married, came to an end, as I loved their books and the dual narratives were always very interesting. Her new novel, with her new publisher Pan Macmillan, is probably like her Jo Rees novels, though I suspect it's less sexy. (The novel says it's glamorous and sexy and epic, but I found that strange, to be fair. It is a bit glamorous, but it's not a sexy novel, though it is an epic.)
A Twist of Fate tells the story of two girls, whose lives and fates were decided by the flip of a coin. First, there's Thea Maddox, daughter of the Maddoxes, and who has everything a girl could ask for. A beautiful house, horses, privilege, wealth, and love. But after her mother dies, and as Thea grows up, she finds herself seeing the evil side of life. A side she couldn't even fathom. Then there's Romy. After growing up and escaping from her Eastern European orphanage, she finds herself catapulted into stardom as a famous model, but the things that occurred and happened when she was younger follow her around wherever she goes and she's desperate to bury it, desperate for nobody to find out what happened. As the two girls lives collide and cross, will they ever find out how their lives really started or are they destined to never find out?
When I started A Twist of Fate, I had no idea what to expect. I know Jo's writing from her collaboration novels, but I knew this was a bit of a different genre from her collaboration novels. I found the novel absorbing. The two tales, of Romy and Thea was excellent. I loved how it went from Romy to Thea to Romy to Thea and back again. I liked seeing Thea's wealth contrasting with Romy's fight to survive. I thought both girl's stories were fascinating for different reasons. What Romy had to do just to survive was horrific, but necessary and whilst Thea had the wealth and the privilege, well, after her mother's death she also acquired a new step-mother and step-brother, a step-brother who is quite awful, I must say, and it just goes to show, your life isn't going to necessarily be better or easier if you're wealthy. I adored the novel. It honestly blew me away in ways I wasn't expecting. I had no idea I'd enjoy the novel as much as I did, but Jo is an excellent writer.
I would very much recommend A Twist of Fate. I've had a good run of good books recently and this one is up there with the best of them. I'm quite disappointed in myself for not having read it sooner. I will definitely be pre-ordering Joanna's next novel as soon as it's available because after A Twist of Fate, I am absolutely sure about what an excellent writer she is. I always find books written in the third-person to be harder to warm to, but Joanna has that knack of just getting it and it was almost as if the book was written in first-person, that's how easily I managed to get into it and how much I felt we knew about Romy and Thea. I thought it was such a dramatic novel with so many twists and turns and I was dying for Romy and Thea to know about each other, and perhaps even meet each other, and each page sorta brought us a step closer to that. I really, really enjoyed it.
on 29 July 2014
A tantalising story of how two different lives can intertwine over the years, this novel really had me yelling at the bad characters and rooting for Romy and Thea. Rees creates such convincing protagonists with Romy and Thea that by the end of the story, I felt like I really knew them and could sympathise with their plights.
The narrative is cleverly structured to follow the lives of Romy and Thea, starting in the 1970s and finishing practically in present day. The chapters switch between Romy and Thea and initially, it is like reading about the prince and the pauper, because the girls are at opposite ends of the social spectrum. However, when Romy is unexpectedly talent-spotted as a model, her status is elevated and I found that I couldn’t help but see similarities between her and Thea’s way of living. Secondly, Rees keeps the narrative interesting and does not focus on the intricacies of Romy and Thea’s lives. Instead, the chapters usually begin setting the scene of the current year, then having several paragraphs recounting the time that has passed since the previous chapter – because often we are leaving the character on an ‘Eastenders’ moment (cue dramatic cliff-hanger music). Instead of finding it frustrating that it kept switching between the two characters, I enjoyed this element so much because I knew they would eventually be crossing paths…
It is tantalising the way that Romy and Thea’s paths cross without them realising it. For instance, Brett becomes central to both the characters lives and I wanted to scream at him and the author for not linking Romy and Thea sooner! Brett is such an easy character to dislike that I certainly enjoyed hating him whenever he appeared. The whole idea of fate is really played out in this story and Rees keeps readers teased to not allow Romy and Thea come together at the earliest opportunity.
This is a great summer read and has many elements that will keep you guessing throughout. Historical references such as the falling of the Berlin Wall and the tragic events of September 2011 are clever ways to keep the story rooted in time and I found this quite appropriate to give added depth to the story. ‘A Twist of Fate’ is definitely one to read because it is quite unique in terms of women’s fiction and certainly does not offer happy endings and a successful love story on a plate – the characters really have to work at it!
on 24 April 2013
A real page turner that does 'glamorous, sexy epic' like it says on the tin.
It's a while since I've read a novel like this that covers so many decades, and parts of the world, and I really enjoyed that aspect of becoming so involved in the characters'lives. I also liked how the story ties in with real events of the period. I found the detail on music of the era a little distracting personally although suspect some readers would enjoy the nostalgia this might prompt.
Overall I thought the book is better than the title promises, which seemed a bit unoriginal to me, but I suppose that, and the beautiful cover girl pics are what sells. I'd definitely read this author again.
on 23 September 2012
The story begins in 1971 with the flip of a coin in a forest in Eastern Germany which determined the fate of where the girls would end up. For one of the babies, Thea, would get to live the life of luxury as an heiress in America whereas the other, Romy, would have to cope with the struggles of living in a dreary orphanage in East Germany.
Throughout the book we follow their lives, in alternate chapters, from teenagers into young woman and see how different their lives have turned out and we see that at various points their paths have crossed yet neither knew of the others existence. I was expecting to like one sister, Romy, more than Thea, because of the injustice of their upbringings but that was not the case at all, I liked them both equally and could see that they were both looking for the same thing... a sense of belonging.
This book was extremely well written and had me gripped from the start, I constantly wanted to keep reading to see how things were going to turn out as each time you think their lives were finally sorted and they'd have a chance to be happy something else would happen to disrupt them.
A Twist of Fate was completely different to her other books that she's written, under the names Josie Lloyd and Jo Rees, and yet for me I think this book was her best to date so I cannot wait to hear about her next book to see what it's about.
on 25 November 2012
Like many of the other reviewers, I have also read Jo Rees' novels and loved them. I decided to try her latest, more mature offering with an open mind. I thought this book was absolutely brilliant. The story is fast moving and very absorbing. I couldn't wait to turn the page and see what would happen to Thea + Romy.
My only minor criticism would be is that sometimes when a new chapter starts and the story has moved on several years, you feel that you may have omitted some pages as the story has moved on so much...other than that, loved it and would highly recommend.
on 4 November 2012
Joanna Rees takes you on a racy and pacy rollercoaster ride of two sisters lives, cruelly separated at birth. With emotional highs and lows, there are plenty of plot twists and turns to keep you intrigued. I also enjoyed the scattering of 80s and 90s music memorabilia, marking many of my own coming of age memories. A blockbuster with heart - thanks Joanna!