11 March 2010

Review: DAUGHTERS OF FORTUNE by Tara Hyland ****

William Melville's daughters are heiresses to the world's most exclusive fashion dynasty. Beautiful and rich, they are envied by all. But behind the glittering facade of their lives, each girl hides a dark secret that threatens to tear their family apart.
Smart, ambitious Elizabeth knows how to manipulate every man she meets, except the one who counts: her father.
Gentle, naive Caitlin, the illegitimate child, struggling to fit into a world of privilege while staying true to herself.
Stunning, spoilt Amber, the party girl with a weakness for bad boys; more fragile than anyone realises.
As each of them seeks to carve out her own destiny, Elizabeth, Caitlin and Amber face difficult choices, which will take them in wildly different directions. But as old wounds resurface and threaten to destroy the foundations of the Melville empire, their paths will cross again. Because the simple truth is that, no matter how far you go, you cannot escape the claims of family.
If you're anything like me and you tend to judge a book by the cover, then you're probably already in love with this book, just like I was when I first saw it (and it's even more beautiful in real life), even though I generally don't favour anything blue, but this one is just stunning. If on top of being a fan of the cover art you're also interested in a good bonkbuster, then this is definitely the book for you! It's a massive thing with nearly 600 pages, but it was so good and engrossing that I sped through them in less than two days and now I'm slightly sad that it's over as I got really attached to the three main characters and I want to know what happens to them next!

This impressive debut tells the story of three daughters of a fashion magnate, William Melville. The opening scene takes place in 1974 and explains how William and Katie (Caitilin's mother) fell in love and why their affair ended and they never spoke again. Then we get to know the three girls who are at the centre of this story: Elizabeth and Amber (the legitimate daughters) and Caitlin. We see how Caitlin joins the family after Katie's death and then we follow the girls during their teenage and school years in 1990s and afterwards in 2000s when they're trying to lead their own lives as more of less successful young women. The trio couldn't be more different, but what they all have in common is that despite the fact that they could've enjoyed the luxurious life, they all want to be independent and prove to both the world and their father what they're really worth so they develop their own careers in fashion design, business and modelling. Throughout the book, we witness their private and professional ups and downs, and though they may have had their fair share of indifferences and haven't quite been the closest of sisters, they know how to step together and unite forces when a war is declared on their fashion empire.

As I said, the book is massive in the typical bonkbuster fashion, but it's still a rather quick read and I honestly cannot fault. While I think it could've been shorter and some side characters could perhaps be eliminated, I still enjoyed every single page. The prose is rich and elegant and thus matches both the setting and the cover perfectly while it also sucks the reader in. Ms Hyland can definitely write and I'd definitely like to read more by her! The rumour has it that she's already working on her second novel, whoop!

While the plot was a bit slow at first, it was never boring - how could it be with the glamurous lives that these girls lead! I also expected fashion to play a more dominant part in the book as a whole, but it was really more about business than clothes as such and thus this book provides a great behind-the-scenes look for fashion empires. Apart from those rather sophisticated themes, these book also features all the typical ingredients of a bonkbuster: rich people, sex, scandals, betrayal, scheming, drugs, cheating etc. Perfect escapism!

As a typical bonkbuster, this book features a loooot of characters, but I found them very well portrayed, especially the main ones really jumped of the page. I felt like I really got to know them (despite the third person narration) and I was sad to let them go at the end of the book so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel.

All in all, I wasn't exactly blown away by this book, but it was a damn enjoyable and engrossing read! Really, the pages were just turning themselves and it was all over before I even knew it!

The book is officially released on March 18th, when I'll also be posting an interview with the author. If you can't wait that long, you can find out more about the book and the author here or read the prologue here. If you find it tickles your fancy, then you can pre-order your copy at Amazon or Book Depository.

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 5/5

15 comments:

Morgan said...

The cover is beautiful. I'm in love with the summary as well and since you really seemed to enjoy it, I'm defiantly adding this to my wishlist! Great review.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

FAB review. Doesn't sound like my cup of tea but I enjoyed the review and LOVE this cover. I am going to dream of owning that settee.

Jeanne C. said...

Ahhh, you need to stop posting reviews for stuff that I want!! I cannot add any more to my TBR shelf! My wishlist is like 10 pages long! This sounds dreamy, though so I might have to make an exception....

StephTheBookworm said...

Oh I love the sound of this one!

Miriam said...

Good review, though I'm still not sure about it. The funny word 'bonkbuster' put me off a bit, haha. But it does sound okay, and the cover looks good.

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Melissa said...

This is such a brilliant review! I can't wait to read this one :)

Lea said...

Fantastical review! It sounds amazing, and that cover does totally rock! :D

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Great review! I definitely know where to look now if I'm ever in the mood for this type of read. Thank you!

Lisa said...

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I'm just hoppin' on here from Blog Hop, and am now a follower! Great lookin' site!

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Miss Moppet said...

Ooh, this sounds good. I love this kind of book!

Sa Toya said...

Really good review...you sure hd lots to say and the cover is totally Gorge!

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Rhiana said...

The cover is stunning! Not sure it's something I would read...I'm often really put of by long books (terrible I know!) but you make it sound interesting!

Anonymous said...

Don't be put off by the 'bonkbuster' tag - this is a quality piece of writing, lots of action, fabulous characters, a damned good plot and its a real page turner.
Milly Johnson

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