on 24 April 2014
Olivia (Oz) Zuckerman is a "Playboy" scuba-diving instructor on the Florida Keys. When not diving or training divers she spends her time dallying with tourists. Daniela Finnsbury-Sterling (Finn) couldn't be more different. A genius level biologist she has spent her far too serious life trying to please her overbearing and controlling father and cope with the devastation of loosing her mother at an early age.
Their paths cross when Finn decides to escape her father's demands by becoming a scuba diving instructor. For Oz this is just another short term diver she needs to pick up and mollycoddle. For Finn this is her planned escape from the world she increasingly wants no part in.
What neither woman knows is quite how far Finn's father will go to control and manipulate her life for his own benefit.
This was Andrea Bramhall's first novel and what a great yarn it is - swashbuckling James Bond style hero's, world domination, chemical weapons and the secret service... fast and fabulous and great fun.
The two main characters couldn't be more different. Oz is ex-Navy, a player, living the dream, surrounded by family and friends she can rely on and brimming with the confidence of those who know what they have and where they belong. Finn is, in some ways, a poor little rich girl; sheltered and protected by nannies and cooks, she craves love she never received from the mother she lost and the controlling father. Oz is it worldly wise, Finn is naive and innocent. Their coming together is an exciting exploration of how two worlds can meet and join.
"Ladyfish" is partly whirlwind romance and partly action adventure full of drama and intrigue. We are taken on an exciting romp filled with bad guys, spies, abductions and gun battles. Luckily for Finn, Oz has a supply of powerful relatives and the US Navy to back them up on their adventures. And at the end of it all we are left with the suggestion of a cliffhanger and the hope of a sequel.
Amidst all the action we have a subtle and gentle romance developing. Finn, the untouched innocent who needs to learn to trust after a lifetime of emotional deprivation and Oz who is used to taking what she wants but hiding her deeper feelings. What we watch is a delightful coming together that shows Oz's patience and care, while allowing Finn to open up and gain the confidence to stand up for herself, and demand what she wants.
Well written, well plotted and well edited this is a delightful story and a hugely entertaining first novel. I may have been late joining Andrea Bramhall's fan club but I will definitely be first in the queue for her new novel "Nightingale" when it comes out next month.