Title: My Friend Anna – The True Story of the Fake Heiress of New York

Author: Rachel DeLoache Williams

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Quercus

The Blurb

How does it feel to be betrayed by your closest friend? A close friend who turns out to be the most prolific grifter in New York City…

This is the true story of Anna Delvey, the fake heiress whose dizzying deceit and elaborate con-artistry deceived the Soho hipster scene before her ruse was finally and dramatically exposed.

After meeting through mutual friends, the ‘Russian heiress’ Anna Delvey and Rachel DeLoache Williams soon became inseparable. Theirs was an intoxicating world of endless excess: high dining, personal trainer sessions, a luxury holiday … and Anna footed almost every bill.

But after Anna’s debit card was declined in a Moroccan medina whilst on holiday in a five-star luxury resort, Rachel began to suspect that her increasingly mysterious friend was not all she seemed.

This is the incredible story of how Anna Sorokin conned the high-rollers of the NYC social scene and convinced her close friend of an entirely concocted fantasy, the product of falsified bank documents, bad cheques and carefully edited online photos.

Written by Rachel DeLoache Williams, the Vanity Fair photography editor who believed Anna’s lies before helping the police to track her down (fittingly, deciphering Anna’s location using Instagram), this is Catch Me If You Can with Instagram filters. Between Anna, Fyre Festival’s Billy McFarland (Anna even tried to scam Billy) and Elizabeth Holmes, whose start-up app duped the high and mighty of Silicon Valley, this is the year of the scammer.

*Anna stood a high-profile trial in New York that has been followed voraciously by the media. She was found guilty of theft of services and grand larceny, facing up to 15 years in prison. The trial ended on 25th April.*

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

My Friend Anna was an interesting book to read in that it made me feel a mixture of emotions. It is the true crime story of Anna Delvey. A young wannabe who managed to convince others that her social status was bigger than it actually was. She presented herself as a socialite heiress, the heiress to a fortune but nothing could be farther from the truth. It was through her deception that she managed to swindle money from people who she befriended. One of those was Rachel DeLoache Williams, the author of this book.

So, initially I was quite harsh on the author. I couldn’t believe that she had been so silly and so naïve to get herself into such a predicament. Where I saw alarm bells, in reality DeLoache Williams sustained a friendship with Anna Delvey. I kept saying to myself that this could never happen to me…mainly because I bees broke broke but also because I wouldn’t ever be that foolish but that is the thing with manipulative people. You can be the most astute, streetwise person but if someone who is a master manipulator wants your money they will stop at nothing to get it.

The turning point in my feelings towards the situation came through further interactions between DeLoache Williams and Delvey. Anna Delvey presented herself as quite sociopathic. Her actions were actually quite unnerving. It was at that point I became a bit more sympathetic to DeLoache Williams’ plight.

My Friend Anna highlights the scary nature of friendship in an Instagrammable society where social standing and hierarchy can sometimes be faked just by using the right filter.

My Friend Anna – The True Story of the Fake Heiress of New York by Rachel DeLoache Williams is available now.

For more information regarding Rachel  DeLoache Williams (@racheldeloache) please visit www.racheldeloachewilliams.com.

For more information regarding Quercus (@QuercusBooks) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: The Editor

Author: Steven Rowley

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: The Borough Press

The Blurb

After years of struggling as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally gets his big break when his novel sells to an editor at a major publishing house:none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie, or Mrs. Onassis as she’s known in the office, loves James’s candidly autobiographical novel, about his own dysfunctional family.

As Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. But when a long-held family secret is revealed, he realises his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page…

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

The Editor by Steven Rowley is the story of James Smale. After years of toiling away writing his book is about to be published. His editor is none other than Jackie Kennedy. Whilst he cannot believe his luck that he is getting to work with such an iconic person he soon learns that she has a knack of getting more from her clients. More than even James wanted to give.

Concurrent to the story of the relationship between writer and editor we see the story of James and his family and the dysfunction that has led to his creativity. The Editor marries together the two aspects of protagonists James Smale’s life and shows how one cannot really exist without the other.

For me, the most interesting part of this novel was learning about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her career in publishing. Jackie O is such an iconic figure in history who is sometimes swallowed by the sadness that befell her during her time as First Lady that is was nice to see her as a more fuller person even if it was a fictionalised account.

The Editor by Steven Rowley is available now.

For more information regarding Steven Rowley (@mrstevenrowley) please visit www.stevenrowley.com.

For more information regarding The Borough Press (@BoroughPress) please visit www.boroughpress.co.uk.

Title: Mix Tape

Author: Jane Sanderson

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

You never forget the one that got away. But what if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?

Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape.

But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; she’d been the one to run away, after all.

Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past.

For two blissful minutes, Alison is no longer an adult in Adelaide with temperamental daughters; she is sixteen in Sheffield, dancing in her too-tight jeans. She cannot help but respond in kind.

And so begins a new mix tape.

Ali and Dan exchange songs – some new, some old – across oceans and time zones, across a lifetime of different experiences, until one of them breaks the rules and sends a message that will change everything…

Because what if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?

The Review

Okay, so I am conflicted by Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson. Firstly, I do love a good love story especially when the story involves first love that has broken down for whatever reason and then rekindled as adults. I love that those people who once knew one another then have to rediscover each other as adults. I love that.

However, when that comes at the cost of other established relationships I find it hard to feel empathy with the characters. Yes, people are flawed and yes this can happen in real life. I think for me, probably because where I am in my life I know I would feel devastated if my partner rekindled a romance with his first love.

It is a well written book and Jane Sanderson should be proud of what she has produced. Personally, I think I need to know what happened with tertiary characters to be able to fully commit to the romance of Dan and Ali.

Mix Tape by Jane Sanderson is available now.

For more information regarding Jane Sanderson (@SandersonJane) please visit www.jane-sanderson.com.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.

Title: The Vanished Bride

Author: Bella Ellis

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery…

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters—the Brontë sisters—learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines—it’s seeing what is not there.”

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…

The Review

I have a firm belief that you are either an Emily girl or a Charlotte girl (sorry Anne). If you read work by the Bronte sisters you will fall into either camp and it usually depends on which you read first: Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. I, myself, am a Charlotte girl. I love Jane Eyre and for me it is the book form of a comfort blanket. It is the book I return to every few years and still fall helplessly in love with the heroine.

I have always thought that the life of the Bronte sisters must have been incredibly limited. The era in which they lived offered few opportunities for women and from what I did know about them beyond their work was limited. Therefore, it is brilliant to read a book like The Vanished Bride that affords the Bronte girls the chance to have excitement and a life filled with intrigue and mystery. Bella Ellis has really opened my eyes to how interesting their lives may have actually been. Granted, it is a fictional retelling but the story does have elements of truth in it and also uses historical accounts to help develop these writers into fully formed women which I found myself ignorant of.

The story of The Vanished Bride is really well told. It shows how the sisters were unable to quell their curiosity and had an opinion on what was right and wrong. It has all the elements needed for a gothic story and is in fact just a jolly good romp of a mystery. It is definitely worth a read.

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis is available now.

For more information regarding Bella Ellis (@brontemysteries) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: The Woman in Cabin 10

Author: Ruth Ware

Pages: 356 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

From the bestselling author of Richard and Judy pick, In A Dark, Dark Wood comes Ruth Ware’s next compulsive page-turner

This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blackwood to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness…

The Review

I’ve not read a book by Ruth Ware before but many book bloggers and vloggers have recommended her books over the years so I decided to dip a tentative toe into her writing. You see, there is always the possibility of disappointment when it comes to such high praise. Will you feel the same way? I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware ergo the praise was justified.

I am terrible with thrillers. I will be the person sitting on the edge of my seat blaming every character – even the protagonist – because I can never figure the mystery out. In some ways that makes me the perfect reader for these kinds of novels. The Woman in Cabin 10 is the story of Lo and how she stumbles onto a mystery quite by accident and has to try and solve it herself. The only problem being is that she has no one to help her. She is in the middle of the Norwegian Fjords with no phone signal, no wi-fi and no one to trust on the boat. Anyone that she does speak to thinks she is crazy. And why wouldn’t they? Lo has a history of mental health issues which makes her unreliable. One thing is for sure though is that Lo will not rest until the mystery is solved.

I have always wanted to go to Norway to see the Northern Lights. Ruth Ware has made me question just how much I want to go there now. Her writing was that good that it has freaked me right out. Well played, Ruth Ware.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware is available now.

For more information regarding Ruth Ware (@RuthWareWriter) please visit www.ruthware.com.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.