The book is set in the NewYork nightclub scene following the lives of three woman, Stevie (the rock star), Mei-Lin (a high class prostitute) and Raine (a professional club-goer set on revenge). I really enjoyed all three of the interlocking stories and felt empathy for all the characters. A good read for those who like glitz and glamour with a dash of harsh reality.
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 I really 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 which I 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, I really didn't know what was going to happen next which I loved. I really 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 NewYork 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 NewYork, 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 NewYork. 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.