New York Valentine

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New York Valentine By Carmen Reid, book reviewWhen I first started reading ‘New York Valentine’ by Carmen Reid, I was not altogether convinced that I was going to enjoy it. It seemed a bit frivolous and silly and all of the main characters appeared to be shallow and obsessed with fashion labels. However, never liking to give up on any book, I persevered and read on to the end. I am very glad that I did as I actually ended up really enjoying this book.

The main character is an almost middle aged woman called Annie Valentine. I soon realised that Carmen Reid has actually written a number of books about Annie, such as ‘How Not to Shop’ and ‘The Personal Shopper’, which I had not read. At times there were a number of references to events in these other books but these did not matter too much as most things were explained and I don’t think that you need to have read the books in sequence in order to enjoy this one.

At the start of ‘New York Valentine’, Annie is successfully presenting a TV series entitled How Not to Shop. Unfortunately though, the plug is pulled on the series and Annie is left wondering what to do with her life. That is until her friend Svetlana tells her that her daughter Elena’s fashion business Perfect Dress has run into difficulties and could Annie go to New York to help sort everything out. It seems an ideal opportunity but it would mean leaving husband Ed, teenaged son Owen and her year old twins, Mickey and Minnie for at least a month. However, she is drawn towards the excitement of New York and it would mean that she could take her seventeen year old daughter Lana and spend some quality time with her.

So off Annie and Lana head for New York where they are soon caught up in the challenges of rescuing Elena’s business as well as both falling in love – Lana with an unscrupulous cad named Taylor and Annie with New York itself. However, whilst they are caught up with the glamour and excitement of the city, things are not well at home and Annie realises that Ed is going to need her help too. She is torn between doing what she most wants and what she knows she should.

As I mentioned earlier, I was not sure whether I would enjoy this book, but the more that I read, the more I started enjoying the story and getting to know the characters. I really loved seeing how the women set about saving Perfect Dress and seeing how resourceful they could be. There was a real problem solving approach which I found fascinating and really wanted them to succeed. The other storylines were quite entertaining too and Ed’s crisis back in the UK was most unexpected. Towards the end of the book I really had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next.

I think one of the reasons why I did not like the book at first was because I failed to warm to Annie. She seemed too obsessed with designer labels (Gucci and Prada mean nothing to me) and I could not identify with any woman who would go off and leave her small babies whatever the reason. However, she grew on me. I liked her resourcefulness and her integrity and in the end she did seem to get her priorities right after all.

New York Valentine’ is a light and easy read and is likely to appeal to those readers who also enjoy Sophie Kinsella’s Shopoholic books. The story is good enough to make you read on and there are a few unexpected twists too. Most of the characters are quite entertaining although I feel that you only get to know most of them on a superficial level. It’s definitely a book worth considering but do bear in mind that this is part of a series of books and it might be worth reading some of the earlier ones first.

New York Valentine by Carmen Reid
Published by Transworld, Jan 2011
With thanks to Transworld for providing a review copy.

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New York Valentine
by Carmen Reid

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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