Title: The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983 – 1992

Author: Tina Brown

Pages: 448 Pages

Publisher: Orion

The Blurb

The sizzling diaries of Tina Brown’s eight spectacular years as editor in chief of Vanity Fair paint a riveting portrait of the flash, dash and follies of the Eighties in New York and Hollywood.

The Vanity Fair Diaries is the story of an Englishwoman barely out of her twenties who arrives in Manhattan on a mission. Summoned from London in hopes that she can save Condé Nast’s troubled new flagship Vanity Fair, Tina Brown is immediately plunged into the maelstrom of the competitive New York media world and the backstabbing rivalries at the court of the planet’s slickest, most glamour-focused magazine company. She survives the politics, the intrigue and the attempts to derail her by a simple stratagem: succeeding. In the face of rampant scepticism, she triumphantly reinvents a failing magazine.

Here are the inside stories of Vanity Fair scoops and covers that sold millions: the Reagan kiss, the meltdown of Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, the sensational Annie Leibovitz cover of a gloriously pregnant, naked Demi Moore. In the diary’s cinematic pages, the drama, comedy and struggle of running an ‘it’ magazine come to life. Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries is also a woman’s journey, of making a home in a new country and of the deep bonds with her husband, their prematurely born son and their daughter.

Astute, open-hearted, often riotously funny, Tina Brown’s The Vanity Fair Diaries is a compulsively fascinating and intimate chronicle of a woman’s life in a glittering era.

The Review

The Vanity Fair Diaries is, at once, a deeply personal account of a period of time as well as a cultural document more fascinating than any history book you may read.

In her fascinating diaries, Tina Brown gives the reader a sneak-peak into the world of celebrity and news journalism. We see the cutthroat attitude towards women in the media and the battle that pioneering writers took on to make sure that they held their place in a male dominated environment.

Beyond that, we have Brown’s personal life held on display for us to see the worlds as they run parallel. What is interesting to think about is whether or not Tina Brown did use total disclosure when sharing her diaries with the world. If not, imagine the saucy secrets those books still hold.

The Vanity Fair Diaries 1983 – 1992 by Tina Brown is available now.

For more information regarding Tina Brown (@TinaBrownLM) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Orion (@orionbooks) please visit www.orionbooks.co.uk.

Title: The Fifth Letter

Author: Nicola Moriarty

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Four friends. Five Letters. One Secret.

The scandalous breakthrough novel from Nicola Moriarty that will leave you asking, how well do I really know my friends?

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

The Review

I love friendship novels, especially when the friendship has gone awry.

That is the case with the four friends in Nicola Moriarty’s The Fifth Letter. Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden have all met up for their annual get together; the one time of year where they can all be together and rekindle their friendship. As everyone knows, sustaining a friendship as you get older can be difficult but these four are trying their hardest.

When it is revealed that they all have dark secrets the girls begin to wonder if you can ever really truly know someone, even when that person is your best friend.

The Fifth Letter is a truly gripping novel of the complexities of friendship and how sometimes things cannot be sustainable. It is creepy in parts and a genuine entertaining mystery. Just when you think you have it all figured out Nicola Moriarty pulls the rug from beneath your feet.

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty is available now.

For more information regarding Nicola Moriarty (@NikkiM3) please visit www.nicolamoriarty.co.au.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: Holding

Author: Graham Norton

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother-of-two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad, Holding is a masterful debut. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore – with searing honesty – the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

The Review

I’ve had Holding sitting on my Kindle for a while now. If I am honest with myself, I wanted to read it out of curiosity for what Graham Norton could produce rather than the story given on the blurb. There have been times when I have bought a book because of who the writer is and have been completely disappointed in the outcome. I wanted to read Holding but I didn’t want to lose my love for Graham Norton.

In this case, I really shouldn’t have worried. Holding is really funny.

It is set in a small podunk village in Ireland where nothing ever happens but when the remains of a body are found the whole town flails with uproar. While the whole town try to figure out ‘whodunnit’ more and more drama and mystery unravel among the residents.

Essentially, Holding is a murder mystery comedy. Norton perfectly encapsulates a gossipy town where everyone lives in the pockets of everyone else. It is a town in which no one can have any secrets. Indeed, Duneen becomes a character in its own right and even though it was the setting for a murder I found myself kind of wanting to go and visit.

Holding by Graham Norton is a very witty novel and I for one should have given him more credit for his writing ability.

Holding by Graham Norton is available now.

For more information regarding Graham Norton (@grahnort) please visit his Twitter page.

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

Title: Such a Fun Age

Author: Kiley Reid

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

What happens when you do the right thing for the wrong reason?

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

With empathy and piercing social commentary, Such a Fun Age explores the awkwardness of transactional relationships, what it means to make someone ‘family’, the complicated reality of being a grown-up and the consequences of doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

The Review

It is always surprising to me to find a book that feels incredibly fresh and unique. As a prolific reader, it is hard not to compare books to each other. Some will have similar love interests, some with similar storylines, other ones with similar settings. Such a Fun Age has a lot of these elements but done in such refreshing way that I found myself totally immersed in this story.

It is the story of Emira and Alix: two women with two very different life trajectories. Alix is a successful social media star who is struggling with an incident in her past that has made her overly conscious in the present. Emira is a young woman who is a bit lost. Like a lot of 20-somethings, Emira doesn’t have a clue what she wants. Alix tries to help her whether Emira wants this help or not.

Overall, Such a Fun Age is a book about power and racism. I often felt that Emira, who was one of the two protagonists seemed like an extra in her own life. She passively reacted to things – this was the stylistic choice of Reid – but it often led me to feel frustrated with her. Equally, Alix was so controlling and superior that I felt smothered by her. Furthermore, the villain of the piece kept changing. As a reader, I was kept on my toes throughout and constantly changed my allegiance.

I really enjoyed reading Such a Fun Age. It was an interesting look at privileged society and the racism contained within that world.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid is available now.

For more information regarding Kiley Reid (@kileyreid) please visit www.kileyreid.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Books (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: House of Trelawney

Author: Hannah Rothschild

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

The seat of the Trelawney family for over 700 years, Trelawney Castle was once the jewel of the Cornish coast. Each successive Earl spent with abandon, turning the house and grounds into a sprawling, extravagant palimpsest of wings, turrets and follies. But as the centuries passed the Earls of Trelawney, their ambition dulled by generations of pampered living, failed to develop other skills. Now in 2008 the house – its paintings and furniture sold off to pay death duties, its grounds diminished, the gardens choked with weeds – has begun to resemble its owners: faded, crumbling, and out-of-date.

Jane, the put-upon wife of the current Earl, Kitto, scraping a life for her children and in-laws in a few draughty rooms of the big house, is trapped by Trelawney Castle; while Blaze, Kitto’s sister, has made a killing in the City – and a complete turkey of her personal life. Long-estranged, the two women are brought back together when a letter arrives; and soon after it, an unwelcome young guest. Grudgingly reunited, Blaze and Jane must band together to take charge of their new charge – and save the house of Trelawney.

With formidable sharpness, delicious irreverence and a very wicked wit, House of Trelawney is a glorious send-up of recession Britain and its carnival of bastard bankers and down-at-heel toffs. An eccentric gem of a satire, and an unexpected romance, it asks how we are connected, what we owe to one another, and how to carry on existing in a world which has outgrown us.

The Review

The House of Trelawney has been in the family for 800 years but the current occupants have let it fall to wreck and ruin and now it looks like it is about to end the centuries long tradition. The house isn’t just made of bricks and mortar though. It is also built upon secrets and lies.

The House of Trelawney is a family saga that does have you guessing to the very end. The multi perspective narrative means that you are constantly kept on your toes. Strangely, the story is a bit of a slow burner. There isn’t a pressing need to turn the page but you do enjoy the steady stream of new information.  I enjoyed this story. I am not sure what I was expecting from it but I enjoyed the story none-the-less.

House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild is available now.

For more information regarding Hannah Rothschild (@Hannah71771890) please visit www.hannahrothschild.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Publishing (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.