From the prestigious dormitories of Westfield to the irresistible socialite scene of present-day London: everywhere Allegra McCorquodale goes, scandal follows her. And in Allegra’s shadow are her closest friends since school, the Midnight Girls.Wow, what an amazing bonbuster! A couple of weeks ago, I was in the mood for something glamourous and scandalous so I picked up this book on a whim - then got completely sucked into it and I literally couldn't stop reading! It was the very last book I read in 2010, but it made it straight into the top 5 of my favourite reads of last year!
Romily de Lisle: super rich, brilliant and bored. She’s as blessed as Allegra when it comes to looks, but she’s a force to be reckoned with.
And Imogen Heath: pretty, timid and hopelessly drawn to Allegra’s reckless charm. She longs to be a part of the glitzy high-society world where her friends move with such ease.
Once free of the cloistered worlds of school and university, the Midnight Girls face new and different challenges, but they are for ever bonded by a terrible secret they’ve sworn never to break. Bitter rivalries arise as their professional lives soon cross paths. Greed, tragedy and sinister passions threaten their allegiance and each of them stand to lose what they love most ...
Despite its massiveness, which might be off-putting at first, there isn't a single dull page in the book. There is a looooot going on, but everything seems to be relevant - like, if that character hadn't done that (which may have seemed random at first), then they wouldn't meet that character and then blah blah. I found the novel really well-structred and for such a long book it really was incredibly thrilling and engrossing.
Plot-wise, this is the story of three rich girls: Allegra, Imogen and Romily - best friends who call themselves the Midnight Girls because they often hold forbidden meetings at midnight at their the exclusive boarding school. One night they're involved in a tragedy and they swear to never tell anyone what really happened. After their school years, Imogen and Allegra enroll into university and Romily becomes a proper socialite, dabbling in this and that. On top of their own story, we also follow Mitch (aka Ted Mitchell), a struggling chef who seems a bit random at first, but plays a very important role later on ...
I don't really want to go into plot details too much because a) I don't even know where to begin, there is SO much going on, and b) I don't want to spoil anything for those who are planning to read this. All I'm saying is that this is a very glamurous read with a lot of super wealthy people, their relationships, sex, drugs, tragedy, revenge etc. There are numerous surprising twists and by the end I felt like I was reading a thriller or something - I was bitting my nails (figuratively speaking) and afraid to read on because the book was becoming so intense! I really liked the ending though and I put the book down with a satisfied sigh.
I absolutely adored being sucked into the lives of the incredibly rich and reading about the amazing lifestyles of these girls (especially Romily's!) was like the ultimate fantasy (minus all the drugs, please). It seems like anything goes in that world and nothing is impossible - the highs and lows are as extreme as they come and Ms Taylor shows both sides very well. It's not all glitz & glamour all the time, but I really truly loved reading about that kind of lifestyle!
I thought the characerization was incredibly well done - I thought the characters were believable and especially the four main ones (the girls and Mitch) have undergone quite a transformation, which, I suppose, is not terribly surprising since they've been through quite a bit: tragedy, rape, robbery, drug addiction, crazy parties, love affairs, backstabbing etc. But nonetheless, I really admirated how the characters evolved and the people they became by the end.
Overall, as you can see, I simply cannot praise this book highly enough as I loved every single minute of it! My boyfriend even said he had never seen me so engrossed in a book, especially when the dramatic conclusion took place and I was terrified to turn the page because I expect terrible things to happen to the characters I grew to love, heh.
I absolutely loved this book and I strongly recommend if you're looking for a great story, set in the world of the incredibly rich. I've read a few bonkbusters in the past, but this has to be my favourite of them all.
I'll be sure to read more by Ms Taylor - I already have a copy of her debut novel Heiresses and I've already pre-ordered her upcoming title Beautiful Creatures, which sounds fantastic and I'll probably devour it as soon as it shows up!
ps: Oh and the cover - gorgeous much?!?! Yeah, I think so!
plot: 5/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 5/5