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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 22 February 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had such high hopes for this debut novel from the utterly enchanting and entertaining Fern. I think she is fabulous on the telly and the radio and I really wanted to like this book but I just found it so dilute and lacking in substance that once finished, I actually felt quite cross!

The book centres on the life of Christie, a supposed struggling single mum / tv presenter / daughter / sister / friend / lover / amateur detective fan. None of those mantles are fully developed and I found her fairly one dimensional and vague. I certainly felt no empathy towards her, and found that I couldn't even picture her clearly.

Christie's life is accesorised by her mother, her sister, her 2 children, her new lover, her agent, her agents assistant, her work colleagues, her mother's boyfriend, her doctor, her daughter's headteacher, her driver, her rival, and in flashback, her dead husband. Most are stereotypical and add plot detail but little else. I feel there are too many 'others' in the book - some of which are irrelevant and their stories left hanging. I felt especially the daughter's story could have been more fully developed and some kind of conclusion given.

The book is a mixture of gushing and somewhat cliched prose (antique pine / conservatory / tea and wine / fashion descriptions throughout), stilted conversation between underdeveloped characters, and a protracted middle section which dragged for me. The ending was quick, but unsatisfying. Nothing really unsurprising, and a little trite to be honest - but after almost 400 pages I was glad to finish!

(Another irritation was the shockingly blatant product placement within the book - it describes a fictional Prime Minister, a fictional TV station and programme, a fictional newspaper and magazines, yet high end consumer goods and restaraunts are mentioned by name more than once and as such are unnecessary details).

A confused piece of lightweight chick-lit - I'm disappointed. Sorry Fern.
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VINE VOICEon 14 March 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really wanted to like this book as I do like Fern but this is very hard to review as there is not a lot I can really say (sort of fits with the mood of the book). It is very bland with an uber chick-lit style - the plot never really takes off, the dialogue is throwaway conversations and some of the characters are just wooden. It starts of in a depressing way and at least gets lighter with each chapter that passes, but it was a struggle to finish.
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on 26 November 2014
Great characters and a meaty storyline plus Fern obviously writes from her own knowledge of TV land all serving to make a good read. My ONLY criticism would be that the leading lady was a bit too naive for my liking. Still I identified well with the whole single parent, working mum theme and enjoyed the book a lot. Well done Fern.
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VINE VOICEon 6 April 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am not usually a fan of 'chick lit'but did really enjoy this book. It was well written and I did start to care about the characters. It was a bit predictable in places but as a piece of light, undemanding reading I was hooked. I would recommend it for holiday reading as it is fairly undemanding and you can just dip and out as you wish. Not great literature, but who cares, Fern Britton shows a lightness of touch, a good eye for the development of charcters and the slightly dark side of fame and recognition is obviously written from experiance. Look forward to the next one.
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on 5 September 2011
I bought this on the back of Fern Britton being a great presenter and a jolly good egg.

The story was pedestrian, predictable and boring. The characters were uninteresting and the storyline weak.

I have read 3/4 of the book and can find no reason to finish it as I care little for the characters.
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on 10 August 2015
I really wanted to like this book however it didn't have the same flow as Ferns other books. I struggled to believe in the characters or the storyline and I had to check this was actually one of Ferns books as so different.
I wanted to stop reading this on many occasion but carried on to the bitter end which was very disappointing.
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on 24 March 2013
Having read the reviews regarding this book, I was a little unsure as I started it. I had read Fern's 2nd book first which I did enjoy, so I felt I should really start at the beginning.

Unlike some of the other people who have reviewed this book, I don't know anything about the world that Fern or 'Christie' come from, so this was for me an interesting and good book.

I felt that Fern with her ability to write, ensured that I disliked Julia immensely, although I didn't like how she admitted to her involvement in Ben's death so easily. I was hoping for a better ending to that side of the story. Fern captured the teenage behaviour from Libby well (obviously has gone through it herself) with the rolling of the eyes and general making a working mum feel very guilty.

I would recommend people to read this book. It was written with good depth and style and I look forward to the next book to be released.
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on 13 October 2014
Fern Britton has written several novels now and this is the first one I've read. It won't be the last though. Great characters, great story, happy ending. Written in the same way as other authors I've read, such as, Julia Williams and Sue Welfare. I thoroughly recommend this book.
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on 29 March 2011
Okay, the book first. Not quite as dire as Penny Smith who still holds the record for worst first novel, but not far off. And, like Penny, Fern is a warm, intelligent human being who for some reason, probably not unconnected with money, has decided she is an author.

And the publishers keep churning them out - Katie Price (who at least admits she doesn't write a word of her books), Coleen Nolan, Alan Titchmarsh, Martine McCutcheon - who next? Everybody now decides they can write, otherwise known as they've persuaded a lot of people to become fans of them in one field, so it follows that they will be good at everything.

This is bad from every point of view, not least a particular sector of the reading public who are conned into believing that these celebrities can do anything they turn their hand to. And it is dire for the industry as these pathetic offerings swallow up what is left of the publishing opportunities in an incredibly competitive world. Result: Celebs make more money, publishers and published authors make fools of themselves giving glowing reviews to rubbish, readers feel cheated when they realise they have spent good money on unreadable trite nonsense and talented new authors never get published because the market is overcrowded.

Could those of you buying this stuff not please give some other authors a chance? Ask around for recommendations, read the reviews on Amazon, trust your own judgement when you pick a book, but stop buying this rubbish.

And as if things couldn't get any worse, I see that Penny Smith is publishing another novel this year. Has she not read her Amazon reviews? Hands up if you are buying this stuff.
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on 25 November 2014
Having first read "Hidden Treasures" I really enjoyed it so went on to purchase "New Beginnings"; I must admit though that I am struggling to get into it. I'll give it another go and see.
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