Monday, May 30, 2011

First Ladies by Kay Burley

The blurb at the back of the book:
Suave PM Julian Jenson has just been re-elected. The nation's darling, he has an elegance and natural charm in public. But in private the cracks are starting to show. At his side is his wife, Valerie. Trim, tall, well-educated but deeply unhappy - with her son and daughter away at school, alcohol is becoming a trusted friend.
Sally Simpson is at the peak of her game. Powerful editor of the bestselling magazine Celeb, she can't wait to take her rightful place by Julian's side.
Sexy TV reporter Isla McGovern has caught Julian's eye, and she will do anything (or anyone) to get to the top.
When the three women meet, so begins a perfect storm and only one can emerge as the First Lady.

What Bookfabulous thinks:
As soon as you catch a glimpse of this book on the shelves you'll know what to expect until you read the author's name. This is chicklit at its juiciest but with a very important twist. The book is written by no other than Sky New's cut-throat journalist Kay Burley. It is a novel set in the seedy world of politics in London and its main character is none other than suave British PM Julian Jenson who has just been re-elected and is the darling of the nation.

With great politics in the novel comes great debauchery and a free licence for the PM to do whatever he pleases. As much as he is suave and charismatic as much as he is a bigot and a sexist pig really. He changes his women as frequently as he changes shirts and we are introduced to him in the novel at a time when he thinks he is in love with tabloid editor Sally Simpson who he seems to think is his true soul-mate. Sally is a rather vulgar, self-made woman who has only one thing in her sight: to be the next First Lady.

Julian has obviously got a lot of issues with commitment and the search for love (perhaps maternal) that he seems to have suffered from at an early age when his mother and father sent him off to boarding school. He recalls having run away only to be met at the station by the police (summoned by his parents) who take him straight back to school. That is the only mention of Julian's past in addition to the fact that he comes from a very wealthy and well-connected family. That memory is the only time throughout the novel that I felt any sympathy towards Julian who is most often cruel, self-absorbed, over-confident and cocky up until the two mistresses and his wife are thrown together in one room. As you can imagine, all hell breaks loose.

Valerie, Julian's wife, is a bored politician's wife who has sacrificed a lot to be a PM's wife. A once successful woman in the publishing industry she has now turned to the bottle for company with her busy husband constantly away and her two children at boarding school. With all the sleaze in the book she must be what elegance and grace is all about even at her darkest and worst moments.

Julian Jenson's right hand-man is none other than his spin doctor Ben Watson. A vile character that you find really hard to warm up to. Unethical, rude, depraved. loathsome and totally sexist, he is evil personified. Towards the end of the book although you know his fall from grace is being hatched you cannot but wish it were more degrading, more horrible and that Kay had given it a few more pages for us to gloat.

We also have air-head Isla McGovern who due to her beauty finds herself in a steamy romance with Julian Jenson. She is inexperienced but soon learns how things in the capital are done.

This is a very entertaining novel with proper laugh aloud moments. I guess with the superinjuntions flying left right and center this will make a more plausible read. In fact this book is such a gripping and easy read that makes it the perfect summer holiday companion. Its only drawback I would say is its author and to truly enjoy this book for what it is you just have to forget who it was written by.

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