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A perfect summer, sun lounger read or luxurious, fantasy escape in darker times.

Storm’s Heart is a sexy, sophisticated romance with a dark, brooding centre. When Greek lawyer Andreas Lazarides and bistro-manager Kizzy Dean clash over the executing of his mother’s final wishes, he takes matters into his own hands and Kizzy back with him to Ancient Greece. Tension runs high on the sun baked Greek Island of Rhodes amidst the ancient myths and alleyways of Lindos village.

Kizzy Dean is desperate: she’s in danger of losing everything if she can’t get hold of her boss, a very handsome, wealthy and powerful Greek lawyer named Andrea Lazarides. She’s never met him, but she’s already formed a rather bad opinion of him through his business dealings involving the restaurant he owns and Kizzy manages and lives above.

Kizzy has no partner and no family left, her life focuses on this restaurant which Andreas is going to close down. Kizzy needs to convince Andreas that she can save the business; the problem is that Andreas isn’t interested in her ideas, he has his own, very private, reasons for closing the business, and he is completely unwillingly to change his plans.

In return for her co-operation in not telling certain people about what’s going on with the restaurant, Kizzy is promised a job – only she doesn’t get a chance to check what the job will be before she’s whisked off by Andreas to Greece, where Andreas shows that he’s more than a little interested in becoming closer to Kizzy – by making her his mistress. Kizzy knows that she could never bring herself to be just his lover and so vows not to become emotionally attached, but it soon becomes apparent that this is one vow that will not be easy to keep.

Both of the main characters are brilliantly infuriating, and it’s only towards the end of the book that the reader understands completely why they are this way. Andreas is most women’s idea of a tall, handsome, brooding hunk: it’s no wonder that Kizzy falls for him so quickly. Kizzy, meanwhile, is immediately likeable for the way that she stands up to Andreas, determined not to allow herself to become his mistress, despite her feelings for him; she wants to work and be able to support herself, something that Andreas finds hard to cope with.

It would have been nice to have seen Kizzy in her home environment, which might have further emphasised how quickly and dramatically her life changes once Andreas is on the scene. But one of the challenges of writing romance is keeping to the very strict guidelines on length, meaning that it just isn’t possible to include everything

The book contains some truly inspired locations, including a wonderfully dramatic scene on the London Eye. What makes these settings even more spectacular is that Rachel Lyndhurst’s descriptions of the landscapes are so very good; you can practically feel the heat of the sun blistering over the beautiful Greek landscapes.

Romance books are not perhaps my favourite genre, but I have been known to indulge from time to time, and ‘Storm’s Heart’ is certainly one of the best I have read. . Something I particularly loved, and my favourite aspect of the romance genre, is very apparent in this novel – the perfect happy ending! If pure escapism is what you’re after then you really can’t do much better.

And finally, a word of warning to readers: there are some very, shall we say, racy scenes in this book. Be wary of Chapter 6 if you tend to go very red when embarrassed in public places – it even made my husband blush when I read some out to him!

4 stars

Heartbreak, headlines and Hermes – welcome to Brooke’s new world… Brooke and Julian live a happy life in New York – she’s the breadwinner working two jobs and he’s the struggling musician husband. Then Julian is discovered by a Sony exec and becomes an overnight success – and their life changes for ever. Soon they are moving in exclusive circles, dining at the glitziest restaurants, attending the most outrageous parties in town and jetting off to the trendiest hotspots in LA. But Julian’s new-found fame means that Brooke must face the savage attentions of the ruthless paparazzi. And when a scandalous picture hits the front pages, Brooke’s world is turned upside down. Can her marriage survive the events of that fateful night at Chateau Marmont? It’s time for Brooke to decide if she’s going to sink or swim…


‘Last Night at Chateau Marmont” is the story of Brooke, a regular, ordinary New Yorker whose life is turned upside down when Julian, her musician husband, finally gets his big break and quickly becomes very famous. Brooke is a nutritionalist, working two jobs to support Julian whilst he concentrates on his music career. Brooke has faith in her husband and knows that he’s very talented, but not even she believes that he’s really ever going to become a superstar.

Then, almost overnight, it happens: Julian’s suddenly hot property. His single is flying high in the charts and he’s touring America, appearing at major award shows and on national television. Before long Brooke finds herself loathing the gossip columns, columns she used to love poring over with her friend. She’s missing her husband, who always seems to be away; she’s in trouble at work because of all the time she’s had off to support Julian and she can’t go anywhere without being photographed. Worst of all, Julian seems to be changing into someone that Brooke really doesn’t like very much. Will Brooke, Julian and their marriage be able to survive Julian’s sudden rise to fame?

The book is written purely from Brooke’s point of view, which makes for a very personal account; the reader experiences everything with her and so really understands what she’s going through. Her reaction to Julian’s behaviour when he becomes famous is very cleverly written, and the reader understands Brooke’s reaction completely, whilst accepting that Julian could ultimately be forgiven, thanks to their knowledge of Brooke and of her relationship with her husband.

I have to admit that I wasn’t overly taken by the characters in this book; none of them really stood out for me or were very original, the only one who I thought might turn out to be really interesting was Nola, who we don’t get to find out anything about: her role in the book seems to be purely as a sounding board for Brooke. It would have been good to have seen a bit more of her and have her supporting Brooke a little more directly. Perhaps the most disappointing character was Brooke; I did like her, but at times she was so ‘normal’ that she just came across as a little boring. The way she deals with Julian’s fame is a little irritating: she whinges and isn’t very supportive, she never actually sits down with Julian and explains how she’s feeling, never tries to work out how to make it better.

The storyline of this book was original and engaging – yes, the ‘sudden celebrity’ thing has been done before, but I haven’t read anything dealing with how the star’s spouse in particular deals with it. The section concentrating on the time before Julian becomes famous was particularly well done – although not the most exciting section, it’s a very important part of the story, and serves as a wonderful contrast with the crazy life that the two end up with once Julian is well-known. It’s particularly good at showcasing how happy and content Brooke was, and how stable and secure their marriage was then.

I really like Lauren Weisberger’s writing, and this novel certainly kept me gripped until the very last page, but, for me, it wasn’t quite as good as her first novel, “The Devil Wears Prada’; everything else that she has produced since is very good, but just not quite in the same league.

3 stars

Ed Middleton is ecstatic: he’s just got engaged to his girlfriend, Sam, and he couldn’t be happier. At least, he thinks he’s engaged. The thing is, it was Sam who did the proposing, and the more he thinks about it, the less he’s sure that she was actually asking him to marry her. She could have just been asking the question, you know…hypothetically. As the wedding day draws nearer, Ed becomes more and more uneasy. Sam keeps disappearing off for furtive meetings and private phone calls, and when he spies her going into a pub with a man he’s never seen before, all his old jealousies and insecurities threaten to re-surface. It’s the perfect time for Ed’s unhinged ex-girlfriend, Jane, to show up on his doorstep. Meanwhile, Dan – Ed’s best-friend and soon-to-be-best-man – is determined to throw him a stag night to remember. And when a severely hung-over Ed wakes up the morning after the night before to see a second dent in the pillow, it seems as if Dan has got his wish. Will Ed manage to find out the truth about his stag night as well as the identity of Sam’s secret man? Or will an accidental proposal lead them both down the aisle to a wedding neither of them ever imagined?

Ed is getting married to his girlfriend Sam, the woman of his dreams. They’d been living together happily for some time, when one night Sam asked Ed to marry her.  Or at least he thinks she did; it’s only when Ed is telling the news to his best mate Dan that he realises that he’s not absolutely sure that Sam was proposing – was she actually just asking whether he wanted to get married ‘some day’? Much hilarity then ensues, with Ed doing his best to subtly find out whether Sam does genuinely want to tie the knot, ‘helped’ of course by the inimitable Dan.  The reappearance of Ed’s ex Jane leads to further complications, and all the while, Ed is running out of time with the wedding day getting ever closer.

The relationship between Ed and Dan is the real backbone of this book; some of the conversations between them – which mainly take place in their local pub – are nothing short of hilarious. Dan, in particular, is a fantastic character: he’s not the sharpest tool in the box bless him, but thanks to his vast collection of ‘Cosmopolitan’ back issues, he’s sure that not only is he an expert on women, but he’s God’s gift to them too. His verbal slip-ups are a constant source of amusement throughout the novel.

The only downside to the importance of Ed and Dan’s friendship is that I didn’t find out very much about Sam. I wanted to like her because Ed adores her, but I didn’t really get much of an impression of Sam other than that’s she’s a personal fitness trainer who won’t let Ed eat muffins (which didn’t exactly endear me to her!).

I thought that Matt Dunn did very well with his working of the homeless character Billy. Billy is intelligent and witty, and gives Ed some very good advice; his friendship with Ed and Ed’s treatment of him were very clever ways to illustrate Ed’s kind character: no matter how daft he is, the reader remembers how he is with Billy and never forgets that Ed really is a good guy

Dunn’s style of writing is very laid back and witty – the characters are the absolute essence of the book. He doesn’t use a lot of description of setting or environment; the key is the people, not where they are. This makes for a very relaxed easy read and a very close relationship between the reader and the main characters.

The book stopped just a little too soon for me, the ending didn’t seem quite complete, but I do love that the loose end is just ripe to be turned into a sequel: hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Ed’s dilemmas and Dan’s verbal slip-ups in the very near future!

4 stars

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