Top positive review
on 1 February 2010
Early last year I read Kate Harrison's 'The Secret Shoppers Revenge' and liked it well enough. When I saw a Christmas themed follow up, I thought it would be a nice read for the holidays.
The Secret Shopper Unwrapped joins Emily, Grazia and Sandie two years after The Secret Shoppers Revenge ended and unlike the first, shopping was a mere whisper in the background this time around. Yes it's still there, but it's the three friends personal stories that manipulate the pages, and I liked this. I felt I really got to know and care for each and everyone.
Some pretty deep and sensitive issues are tackled in this book, and with great sensitivity too. Sandie in particular has a pretty rough ride and has to make some heartbreaking decisions. In the original book, I didn't really warm to her all that much. However, as we delve deeper into her life and her vulnerability is revealed, I really started to like and empathise with her very much. I also really enjoyed the softer side of Grazia, which we discover in this book. Her particular story is both sad and funny at the same time, and I loved the flamboyant and blunt, but incredibly kindhearted Italian glamourpus. I think what makes Kate Harrison's characters work so well is the complete belief I had in them. They are real, down to earth and I can actually imagine knowing them. I do agree with the previous reviewer about Emily, and at times find her a bit ridiculous but in contrast to Revenge where she dominates, she is over shadowed by the others this time round.
'Secret Shopper Unwrapped' is themed around Christmas, and is quite festive. This was a perfect book to treat myself to over the recent holidays, but I think it could equally be enjoyed at anytime of the year. If you read and enjoyed 'Secret Shoppers Revenge' you will love this book, which takes us deeper into the lives of the three women. I'd highly recommend both of them, but I do think this is by far the better of the two. Kate Harrison's characters had me laughing and crying along with them, and I can't wait for the third installment due out next year, I believe.