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4.2 out of 5 stars
Cuban Heels
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2003
I've never read a book by Emily Barr before, but my friend gave me the book to read as she said it was good.
I'm not a fast reader but read this book in 3 days and just couldn't put it down. Absolutely loved it!!
You go through lots of ups and downs with maggie and the ending is really good! wasn't dissapointed at all.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2005
Loved the book, but beware - this is the same book as Cuban Heels.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 October 2003
A thoroughly entertaining read which held my interest from cover to cover. The structure and language used is vivid and not only involves you with the characters, but paints an accurate and understandable of life in Brighton and Cuba. At the same time, the storylines in the book held my interest greatly throughout. I couldn't wait to pick it up again when I got home from work! On the strength of this book I subsequently went on to read Emily Barr's eariler books, Baggage and Backpack, both of which I also greatly enjoyed. Full marks to the author and I look forward to her future books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2003
Full marks to Emily Barr's latest for keeping me up into the small hours, unable to sleep until I'd finished it. Lower than full marks for her publishers, however, who've chosen a cover which makes this dark and gripping book appear indistinguishable from so much of the inferior chick-lit nonsense on the market. This really is not a book to be judged by its cover, and no one in this novel suddenly realises that her longest-standing male best friend is actually the man of her dreams.
Barr's style is relaxed and fluid and the effect is an utterly compelling story which starts innocently enough (perfect couple, plus new baby, in Brighton argue over foreign sabbatical plans, downstairs neighbour living a seedier lifestyle provides sharp contrast to their comfortable world-view) but one is quickly drawn into a more complex, dark and ambiguous narrative when the story moves to Cuba.
There is little more of the plot one can mention without giving too much away; Barr's skill seems to be in turning one's assumptions and judgments about people on their head, and then back again, in the context of humane and sensitive characterisations. All this set in a Havana so well represented that I feel I've lived there myself for a period.
In summary, a gripping book with all the best traits of Barr's earlier novels (sharp sense of humour, spot-on eye for the contradictions and compromises in the lives of twenty-first century westerners, excellent but unobtrusive travel writing, and compelling plot). All misleadingly wrapped up in a mills & boon cover - someone should have a word...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2006
It usually takes me ages to read books but I couldn't put this down. It kept me interested from start to finish. I was a bit unsure of how the writer would end the book but it had an unexpected but brilliant twist at the end. I'm already looking forward to reading another book by the same writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2009
I love Emily Barr - she makes me feel that you dont have to be a gap year 20 year old student to have adventures - there are still adventures to be had whatever your age and situation. Libby, married with a baby, thought she didnt want adventure but it turned out to be the best thing for her

If you are looking for a good read set against the backdrop of iconic cities - Brighton and Havana both fulfill this criteria for me - you will enjoy this.

All the characters are recognisable and I can imagine sitting round the bean bags at my local mother and baby group listening to someone telling this story and completely believing it happened.

Some will love this, some won,t. I did - if you are a mum, havent travelled and wished you had, I think you will love this too.

And if, like me, you dream of chucking in your job and travelling the world, but dont have the courage to do it, reading Emily's books will take you there for a while and might just inspire you to go for it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 February 2014
This is the first Emily Barr book that I read many years ago, but it is one that I always go back to. It has plenty of twists, an interesting setting in Cuba and a lead character with two different sides to her.

Maggie Wilson is pretending that she is happy living in Brighton working at American Express and preparing for the arrival of her niece or nephew. In reality, she is working as a stripper and cannot stand the idea of a new addition to her family due to an issue that occurred in her childhood. For those of you familiar with Barr's works, you will spot a pattern with this and most of her other books. Whilst testing out some baby monitors in her flat, she discovers that she can hear what is going on in the upstairs flat. Libby and David's lives are so much more fascinating than Maggie's life so when they uproot themselves to Cuba for a few months, Maggie follows them.

The character of Maggie intrigues me and horrifies me in equal measure. In fact, sometimes I cannot help but feel sympathetic towards her given her circumstances and other times I want to wring her and say "get a grip on yourself." The idea of not knowing how I will feel about Maggie from one reading of this book to the next keeps this book fresh for me even though I know the outcome. The twist at the end is still shocking no matter how many times I read it. Even going back through the book, although Maggie's more sinister side is more obvious there are no clear signs of how the book will end.

It was this book that got me into Emily Barr's books and got me more into the thriller genre in general. For those of you who have read some of Barr's other books, this is a recommended read even though it follows a similar structure to her other books. I think that Maggie was the inspiration for the character of Helen in Emily Barr's later book 'The Sisterhood', but this still has plenty of surprises.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2004
Having already read "Backpack" and "Baggage," I was really looking forward to my next Emily Barr read. The premise for this novel is brilliant - troubled girl becomes obsessed with the 2.4 family living next door, following them to Cuba, ingratiating herself into their lives and finally imagining she can "become" one of them. It has the same intricate and intriguing plot basis as Barr's other books ... but somehow ... something didn't quite work. The plot does keep you reading (despite the unlikely happy-ever-after, typing up of loose ends) and it is worth giving it a go, but the quality of the execution really doesn't live up to Barr's previous work. I blame the editor as much as Barr herself; it's as though no-one read it through after the first draft, before it went to print! Phrasing is awkward, words are poorly selected, the balance of the Brighton / Cuba periods doesn't feel right. I really wish Barr could come back to this and finish off what could so easily have been another absorbing novel. A great idea Emily, but come on, give us a little more of your usual polish in the execution!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2011
Love the book, read it so fast, kept me up, great read. This is the third book by Emily Barr I've read and I look forward to reading the next one. Perfect book to escape from your own reality !
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2003
This book is fantastic.
Its not light and fluffy and turns darker than expected. The characters evolve wonderfully, the drama escalates and the story gets fully wrapped up.
After Barrs second novel being inferior to her first I was unsure how this one would fare but its truly the best of the three and well worth the price.
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