I'm a firm fan of Tasmina Perry but this book has a very different feel to it - it is less "wham bam" and more subtle, elegant and her characters more likeable. I thoroughly enjoyed it but felt that she had been constricted on word count as the story whipped across the pages without getting the usual details you expect. I didn't feel enough was made of either of the main characters and the settings - New York feels barely touched but it is very entertaining and had me in tears. The ending just suddenly arrives so I'd have loved for it to be a slightly fuller book with a less rushed ending.
I've always been a big fan of Tasmina Perry's writing, but the last couple of books haven't really been my cup of tea at all. But I'm delighted to report that I absolutely loved this one, and would highly recommend it to anyone who any romance in their soul and defy you to finish it without a tear in your eye.
Amy Carrell, a New Yorker working as a waitress in London while trying to get a break as a dancer, wants to spend Christmas with her family after breaking up with her wealthy boyfriend, having realised that she will never match up to the expectations of his parents. Spotting an advert in The Lady for a companion to an elderly lady, Georgia Hamilton, she joins her for a Christmas trip to Manhattan. Georgia is a wealthy ex-publisher with a difficult relationship with her own family and, in addition to the magical excursion to New York, her own story as one of the last debutantes in the late 1950s slowly unfolds. And what a story it is - fascinating in its detail about the life of a debutante who doesn't have quite the aristocratic background required, full of awkwardness and fraught with difficulty, who finds true love only to have it cruelly taken away. Amy sets about trying to put things right, and it's a really beautiful story, exquisitely told.
I thoroughly enjoyed every page - this is a much slimmer book than the author usually produces, and I escaped into it for an afternoon and devoured it from cover to cover. Amy is a really endearing character, who makes you really feel for her in her attempts to fit into a world where she's really struggling - eating her artichoke with a knife and fork in a charity shop dress that's shedding its sequins. And Georgia is simply mesmerising, throughout her 1950s story and during the modern day trip to Manhattan, when her friendship with young Amy is beautifully drawn. This is a story full of small kindnesses, bitter betrayal, and all-consuming love. This is a book for lovers of New York (there's an excellent guide to Manhattan at the end of the book, picking out the highlights), anyone who likes a little Christmas sparkle, but also anyone with a heart who enjoys a beautifully told old fashioned love story. And Tasmina Perry - I think I love you again!
on 3 December 2013
Thank you very much to Emily Furniss and Headline Book Publishers for sending me a beautifully presented review copy of The Proposal by Tasmina Perry. This is my first Tasmina Perry novel.
After Amy’s boyfriend suddenly ends their relationship, Amy feels lonely and home sick and a rash decision to escort the very rich, very elegant, very English Georgia on a trip to Amy’s home town of Manhattan ensures the reader is quickly drawn in to this story. Before you know it, you’re engrossed in the rather odd pairing of the young American dancer getting to know the slightly eccentric, and older, Georgia.
It seems strange that such a successful, wealthy and elegant lady has never been to New York but we do find out her reasons as the novel continues. With Amy as her companion, the two discover New York and each other in a beautifully descriptive prose.
I much preferred the story of Georgia back in 1958 and I found myself wanting to continue reading about the life of the young Georgia much more than the present day. I fell in love with the early romance of Georgia and Edward, and could have read a whole book just about their life in the elegant old school London. I wasn’t as interested in Amy’s story as I didn’t connect with her as I did with Georgia.
Amy is a caring character though, as she finds herself finding out about Georgia’s past she feels the need to involve herself in helping elderly Georgia accept what happened and deal with the truth going forward.
I was then left sorely disappointed with the abrupt ending of the book, it seemed rushed somehow and the reader didn’t get to find out about Amy and what became of her potential new romance.
Sadly, a disappointing ending often leaves me feeling very deflated about the book as a whole, and this is why I had to rate three stars. A better, more complete end would have bumped this up a star as I really enjoyed the descriptive elegance surrounding The Proposal.
Amy Carrell, a talented dancer from New York now living is London, is gutted when her rather wealthy boyfriend dumps her just before Christmas. She feels like she wasn't good enough for him, and now doesn't know what to do at Christmas now she's by herself. When she spots a small advert in a newspaper asking for a companion for a New York adventure, she decides it is worth the risk if she can get to see her beloved family for just a few days. Amy is taken over to New York by wealthy British aristocrat Georgia. Georgia is determined to see the sights of New York at last, and is fascinated with Amy's account of her city. Georgia decides she can show young Amy a thing or two as well, and the pair strike up an unlikely friendship. As the pair spend more time together, Amy uncovers something in Georgia's past that the older woman would rather keep a secret. Will Amy be able to write those wrongs, or is it too late?
What I loved about this book was the way it really focused on Georgia and Amy, and that's pretty much it. While other characters in the book come and go as it moves between past and present, our two leading ladies remain and I loved that, I felt very invested in their stories because of it. I really liked both of them as well, both incredibly different women with totally different outlooks on life, but each respectful of each other's worlds too. I did very sorry for Amy, stuck in a different country from her family at Christmastime and being dumped too, but she had a good heart and was determined to make the most of it. The adventure with Georgia just brought her out of herself and I really enjoyed reading about New York from both a native's (Amy's) and a tourist's (Georgia's) points of view.
I've lost count of how many novels I have read set in New York, and although I've been lucky enough to visit twice, it is still magical to read about it in books and picture the places that I've visited myself as well as mentally making a list of the places to visit when I next go! While the modern New York scenes were fantastic reading, it was the part's set in 1950's London that I really loved. Before I started this book, I didn't know much about the debutante scene, the balls, gowns and traditions that went with it so this was an eye-opener for me too. It was fun reading about a much younger Georgia too, and her struggled to fit in on a circuit where she felt she didn't belong. Her relationship with her mother was touching too, and some of the characters she meets along the way were very interesting, and certainly open up your eyes to the expectations of that time.
There's a bit of a mystery running throughout, in that we know something happened in Georgia's past that left her a bit broken, and she is feuding with her family but we don't find out until nearly the end what it is. I liked this small touch of her summer blockbusters in this lovely wintery novel, and I was shocked when I found out what it was - for me, it was totally unexpected. I loved how it was all handled though, and it brings together the 1950's part and the modern day perfectly, and for me the ending was just perfect. By the end, I loved both Georgia and Amy, and was sad to see them go, I could have read much more about these two women. For me, this book was utterly brilliant, and I loved every page. I needn't have worried about not enjoying it as much as Tasmina's summer novels because this was brilliant too, in a totally different way. It had it's festive part, with it being set in the run up to Christmas, and with Amy enjoying Christmas with her family at last (very emotional!), but more than that it's a story of lasting love that defies the years. A beautifully romantic story spanning the ages that you will love.
This is the first Tasmina Perry novel that I have read and I had a preconceived idea about what I was going to get. Something light and fluffy.
I was wrong.
I got a story that was strong, which had a dual narrative which is a plot technique I favour. Tasmina takes us through the modern-day with Amy Carrell an American girl who has moved to London to further her career in dance. Trouble is she is stuck waitressing and her boyfriend, Daniel seems to be in another class to her. But when she spots a Tiffany box at home, she thinks that maybe she is going to be asked the ultimate question?
The question though is very different - daniel's parents question the suitability of Amy as a wife. It seems that rather than celebrating, Amy is going to be broken-hearted.
It's coming up to Christmas and Amy cannot afford to go home and be in the arms of her family. Randomly she spots an advertisement asking for a travel companion for an elderly lady to travel to New York and she decides why not - if it means even seeing her family for a small amount of time it will be worth it.
In steps Georgia Hamilton, a lady of a bygone era when it was all about dresses, money, men, position and doing 'the season'. We are taken back to late Nineteen Fifties, the last 'debs' are going to be presented to the Queen and Georgia Hamilton is not that keen she has a rather more independent view of how she wants to live her life. But needs must it seems and Georgia takes us into the world of posh frocks, the romantic nature of stolen glances with handsome men, competition over the best parties and ultimately who gets the boy. We look back with rose-tinted spectacles perhaps but it was a different time and one not that long ago and it felt like I was experiencing a social history lesson right there on the page. So wonderfully described and showed the contrast to the modern parts of the novel.
But as these two characters come together and the two eras are compared, we begin to see how good Amy and Georgia are for each other. How the secrets of the past, because you know Georgia is hiding something come to the present and how Amy can see that if you are not true to yourself or love, it is ultimately going to pass you by.
The hurt is going to live with you forever; it has for Georgia.
Georgia's history becomes Amy's present and the two forge an unlikely friendship which results in some revelations that will be a shock to us all.
I loved the way Tasmina Perry took us through something so simple as a Christmas Party held in the Tower of London and painted a scene so magic that you felt you were there, to the sights and sounds of New York and the upper class places that perhaps the ordinary new yorker would never see. I felt like someone reading a travel guide to New York, especially as I have never been. Even the warmth of Amy's family leapt off the page which was in complete contrast to the descriptions of family life that Georgia was experiencing in the Fifties.
This book has everything that you could want for a great story, you learn, you feel emotion and you are taken away to another place. I recommend it highly.
I am a huge Tasmina Perry fan - I can always rely on her to transport me away with her books. I wasn't blown away by her last one and I wasn't sure about the synopsis of this one. As another reviewer has said this one seemed very Lisa Jewell in style.
The book is a split time frame between the 1950s and the present day. The 50s are one of my favourite time periods and I thought they were really well written and I preferred them to the modern day chapters. Despite the present day only being set over a few days, it really worked.
I liked the character of Amy and felt sorry for her with the way David was using her. Georgia's character was very intriguing and I liked the way the author built up to her hurt and anger.
The reason it didn't get any higher a rating is that this is just not what I expect from Perry. I thought it was all a little twee and I was disappointed. I also thought the ending was very contrived and rushed. It almost felt half finished.
This is a book that I would recommend but with a word of caution that, if you're a Tasmina Perry fan, this might not be what you are expecting.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
It was very nice to see the main relationship in a book that was not about sex but about real friendship.
Amy is a young american ballet dancer living in london and working as a waitress after injuring her leg.
She breaks up with her boyfriend and wants to go home but has no money, and then in the paper she sees an advert asking for a travelling companion and there we meet Georgia.
Georgia is a wealthy woman in her 70's who has quite the backstory and i loved how it kept flipping back to late 50's in london.
The only thing for me was the ending, i didnt like it, all that pain, years of torment and thats how we say goodbye to georgia?
Also no spoilers here but what about the rest of Amys story, you cant just leave me hanging like that, i need to know more.
You cannot create a family as wealthy and troubled as the villains in this story and leave it there, no way malady, you need to write more in this world..
I am a huge Tasmina Perry fan, when it comes to her books you can always guarantee that the covers will transport you to some kind of paradise and that there will be a scandalous, strong storyline. The Proposal is Tasmina Perry's new release and it is not one to be missed. The cover is very different compared to her usual covers but I love it, it is a very simple, elegant cover which does the beautiful storyline inside justice.
The Proposal follows the journey of two fabulous main characters Amy and Georgia. The two ladies couldn't be any more different and yet thanks to an advert dear Georgia places for a companion to accompany her on a trip to New York the two are brought together and form an unlikely bond.
Amy whose life is anything but perfect from her love life to her career and her empty bank balance would love to go home to see her parents over Christmas but can not afford the flights so when she comes across Georgia's advert she feels as though she has been thrown a life line.
The story moves back and forth in time from Georgie's life in the 1950's to the present day and as Amy discovers more about Georgia through her tale of her earlier years and it becomes clear why she is travelling alone.
This was an absolute delight to read. It was consistently good all the way through, no low points or parts you want to skim are found in this book. The Proposal sees a softer side to the authors writing style, there is of course still a scandal to look forward to so you can still feel that it is a Tasmina Perry book but it was just so much more elegant and warm and just a real classy read rather than her usual modern glamorous and gritty style ( that I also love ). It was lovely to see a different style to the authors writing and it was equally as good.
The storyline is very strong and compelling and not one that I will forget for a long time yet. The characters are fabulous in their individual ways, Georgia is a strong, elegant, eccentric character who I loved and was in fact my favourite character. Amy is a modern, loveable soft natured character who was a great complement to Georgia. I would love to have a Georgia in my life to give me a lesson or two!
The descriptive writing style was incredible I felt as though I was being transported back in time with Georgia and I could just picture the elegant dresses and the grand houses.
It is a very romantic read, with a shocking, unexpected twist which had me so taken aback I had to re-read the paragraph!
This is an amazing read that I cannot recommend enough, this is definitely my favourite by Tasmina Perry.
Another fantastic book from Tasmina Perry. A powerful storyline with strong characters, read how young Amy, split from her boyfriend answers an advert and meets Georgia a wealthy, woman. Learn how their lives intertwine. Tasmina yet again has produced a great novel, one of her best.
I defy you not to sit back and say"Aaaah!"as you finish this,as the ending is so beautiful.It's a great little book,much smaller than Tasmima's usual tomes and with loads less hot sex,(There is a bit of hot sex) but I really enjoyed it and could not put it down till I found out what happened to Amy and Georgia,characters I had come to care about deeply.
I've always found Tasmina Perry's books entertaining,but often they featured hard-faced gold diggers I could not identify with;I really liked this change of pace from her and hope we will get to see her softer side again soon.