Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: Made in Essex

By Becky Gulc

Last summer when I reviewed Laura Ziepe’s debut novel, Essex Girls, I concluded that it was a ‘surprisingly refreshing read’, despite it being a book that is probably not aimed at someone in their mid-thirties who has never watched TOWIE/Jersey Shore or other scripted reality TV shows. So with Made in Essex being the follow-up novel, I was happy enough to review it and re-enter the world of Jade, Kelly and Lisa, and this time, these ladies are back on home turf, Essex.

At the end of Essex Girls, best friends Jade and Kelly (who are in their early twenties) are both happy in their new relationships and are contemplating starting up their own bikini design business,. In Made in Essex it’s all about the follow-through, them getting their business (Vajazzle My Bikini) up and running. If anyone wants to know what ’vajazzle’ means look here!

It wouldn’t be a novel if everything was smooth running though would it? Enter Adele, someone who had done their best to ruin Jade’s relationship in the past and who can’t stand anyone else being happy. She is determined to steal their business idea and ruin relationships left, right and centre, but will she succeed? Well, she certainly does her best!

I have to say I enjoyed this book even more than the debut and for anyone who hasn’t read Essex Girls, you don’t need to in order to enjoy this novel as there are enough recaps to understand what’s gone on in the past. Obviously I knew what the style would be like and the characters and I took the novel for what it was. It’s full of the typical language you’d hear in TOWIE, (e.g. using ‘babe’ frequently’) and full of sparkle and things can be a bit far-fetched, but who cares when you want a bit of escapism?

I thought the character of Adele was fantastic as she made my blood boil more than most ‘villains’ in novels of this genre. What she gets up to also steps up a gear from the first novel; one of the most manipulative characters I’ve seen in a novel and I loved it! Only thing is I would have liked to see the inevitable comeuppance be a bit more severe!

As with the previous novel, we also get insight into the thoughts of a range of characters through their internal dialogue. It does go from one character to the next quite quickly sometimes, but this didn’t bother me.

Whilst this wouldn’t be a book I would choose to read normally if I wasn’t reviewing it, I did enjoy it. If you want a light escapist read you might very well enjoy this book too, perhaps particularly so if you enjoy the types of programme this style of book is based on.

Thanks to LightBrigade PR for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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