Sometimes, I come across a book that I am sure I will enjoy, but I'm a little reluctant to start. Theres never really any reasoning behind it, other than thinking that I am not going to enjoy it as much as I perhaps would other books in my TBR pile. Well, before I picked it up and started to read, Manhattan was one of those books. Once I started reading, I soon realised that the old saying of "you should never judge a book by its cover", could not have rung more true. (Not that I don't like the cover, I actually do!)
Manhattan, is a novel filled with drama, glamour and the outrageous, reminding me a little of a Jackie Collins novel. The storyline and the characters were so different from the lives of most normal girls, yet you know events like this and people like these, really do exist. I was instantly transported into the lives of Raine, Mei Ling and Stevie from the very first page. The novel is split in narrative, alternating between each of the characters, which gave a real insight into each of their lives as well as their true feelings. The story mainly focuses on each of these women's past and how that led them to where they are in the present day. Ireally enjoyed learning about each one of these women, and even though who the story is told from changes throughout the nove, it still flows easily and quickly. The music knowledge that Ronni Cooper has, and injects into the character of Stevie, was fascinating, making me feel as though I could have been in the 80's along with these rock bands. I felt this added another layer to the novel that perhaps would not have been there without the depth of the music knowledgeI will warn any readers that do not enjoy any explicit content within their novels, for example sex scenes, that perhaps this is not the novel for you. Ronni Cooper is very frank about exactly what each of her characters get up to, which adds another layer of gritty reality to the novel, which some readers may not enjoy.
Usually, when reading a novel that is told from the viewpoint of more than one character, I find I like some characters more than others. In the case of Manhattan, however, I found that I loved each of the characters as much as the next. Raine is such a strong, independant woman, who even though she has many difficulties and tradegies in her life, still manages to pick herself up and continue on with her life. Mei Ling, may appear vunerable at first, but once it becomes clear the extent of the horror she has been through in her life, her strength really shines through. I found Stevie to be the most relatable, even though she becomes the most well known of the three women, she still stays grounded and most like the normal girl she was in the beginning of the story. Ireally felt true emotion for each of these characters, while they are all strong, beautiful women, they each have their own inner demons to contend with. At times I felt like crying along with each character as they struggle through the hard times in their lives.
Manhattan was a novel that I always expected to like but never expected to love. This is why I was so pleasently suprised with how much I truely enjoyed reading this book. The storyline was so intriguing, intense and fast paced I found myself unable to put Manhattan down, telling myself I would read just one more chapter, before finishing the entire book in one sitting. . If you are apprehensive in any way about reading Manhattan than I suggest you pick this book up straight away, because trust me you will not be dissapointed, and if you already have the book then move it to the top of your reading pile. Trust me, Manhattan is going to blow you away
From the moment I opened the book and started reading I was hooked. I immediately wanted to know what the back story was and what each of the characters stories were and found it hard to put this book down. It was completely gripping and compelling, although I did find some bits very hard to read, especially the child sex scenes. Like one other reader pointed out, there is a mistake with the names in this bookwhich is really disappointing but overall, a fantastic read which had me gripped right until the last page.
The book follows the lives of three ladies; Raine, Stevie and Mei Lin. Each of them has had their life ruined in some way by one horrible man - Jason Tang. Due to that fact, they're determined to make their new club 'Manhattan' a success, even though they're all sure Tang is going to somehow get his revenge on them one day too. However, the book doesn't really focus on the women's present day lives, instead the book is virtually the entire back story of all 3 women, told through alternating chapters from the early 1980's through to the mid-90's, which is the present day of the novel. I actually really enjoyed the way the book was told, changing the focus every other chapter as to which character it was following, but I found it really easy to keep up with it. This way of telling the tale allowed us to really get into the heart of these characters, what drove them to their determination in the present day, and made for really interesting reading.
Each of the characters were very different, and each had a very different story to tell. Raine witnessed the death of someone close to her, and is determined to get revenge for that death, no matter the cost. However, her path leads to her to find herself a career she least expected. Stevie is a talented singer, and heads up a famous rock band. At the height of their fame, someone surfaces with something that is set to ruin Stevie and her career forever, so instead she runs away from the problem, scared to hunt down those responsible. Finally, Mei Lin was taken from her childhood home at a young age and forced to work for Tang, doing unspeakable things that she will never forget. Mei Lin needs to get out, but has to find a way to escape that means Tang will never come after her. Eventually, the women decide to work together to bring down Tang, and hopefully rid themselves of the stain of all of their lives.
I have to warn you now that this book is not for the feint-hearted. Some of the scenes, especially those involving Mei Lei cover topics that some people may not like to read about, and some quite graphic scenes will not be suitable for all readers. I'll tell you the topic now - Mei Lin is a prostitute, working in various brothels and due to the nature of her job, sexual scenes are frequent and some make for uncomfortable reading at points. However, I feel that Cooper writes convincingly about the topic - it isn't something I know anything about, nor would I care to but Ireally felt for poor Mei Lin reading it and while I was cringing at what she was forced to do, it did add to the topic and didn't feel like it was in there just to shock the reader. Other unusual topics are covered within the books, also in Raine's scenes, with again some graphic scenes and description but again, it didn't feel too out of place given the nature of the book.
I have to confess that despite some of the topics covered whichI didn't exactly enjoy reading about, I found the book as a whole was fantastic read that I didn't want to put down. I found the story to be exciting, constantly moving and as a reader, Ireally didn't know what was going to happen next whichI loved. Ireally liked each of the characters, they made for such interesting reading and really worked for the story. I feel like Ronni Cooper has really stepped up her game for this new book, and its an extremely well thought-out and constructed story. This won't be everyone's cup of tea because of the themes within, but if you fancy something a bit different and a bit racy this Christmas, then do look out for a copy of Manhattan, I thought it was fab!!
I was very disappointed in this book and found the synopsis to be completely misleading. I'm not really a fan of chick lit but am a fan of New York so tend to read lighter novels which are based in the city. The synopsis implied that it was a book about three successful women in New York, when in fact it isn't. That is a very small part of the book. The book is about the lives and events of these three woman, and how they ended up running a nightclub in New York. The characters aren't particularly well formed and are all, sadly, very stereotypical. There is a fair amount of graphic sex thrown in with no real value. It would have been far more powerful to allude to these situations that to graphically describe what goes on. All in all I felt that this book was incredibly misrepresented by the blurb. I read it in about 4 hours as it's incredibly simply written, and then threw it in the recycling. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone and would not read anything by this author again.