Sunday 20 October 2013

The Proposal by Tasmina Perry

Just say yes to this unforgettable read and take a spellbinding, romantic journey from the dazzling days of the debutantes in 1950s London to glamorous modern Manhattan.

When Amy Carrell's wealthy boyfriend ends their relationship just before Christmas, she's left to nurse her broken heart alone. With nothing to lose, she replies to an advertisement requesting a companion for a mysterious 'Manhattan adventure'. 

Whisked off to New York with eccentric British aristocrat Georgia Hamilton, Amy experiences a glamorous side of the city that she's never seen before. Along the way, Georgia initiates her protegee in the arts of old-school elegance. 

But as Georgia shares her life lessons, Amy discovers a painful secret in her mentor's past. A secret that shattered her future. A story of love and betrayal that only Amy has the power to put right.

The Proposal is Tasmina Perry's ninth novel and will be published in hardback by Headline Review on 7 November 2013.

I've been a fan of Tasmina Perry's writing for a long time and have devoured her books, they are perfect for holiday reading - laying on a beach, or around the pool under a blue sky whilst sipping a long cool drink - perfect!    However, I was a little disappointed by her last two books; Perfect Strangers (2012) and Deep Blue Sea (2013).   The writing is still great, but she had changed direction, these two are more mystery/thriller type stories, and for me, they just didn't work quite as well as her earlier novels.   I was really interested to read the blurb for The Proposal, it promises that this is Tasmina Perry "as you've never seen her before" - I wondered which direction her writing was going to take this time.

This is most certainly the right direction for Perry!   For me, this was a damn-near perfect read.  For one, it's a dual-time narrative and I always enjoy those and secondly there are two fantastic lead female characters, both of whom are interesting, sassy, well-drawn and incredibly realistic.

Amy Carrell is an American dancer living in London, waiting on tables whilst trying to get her 'big break. She's in a relationship with Daniel and is expecting a proposal after coming across a Tiffany giftbox hidden away in his sock drawer.  Amy is heartbroken when Daniel makes it clear his family do not think that a dancer is the right and proper occupation for his future wife.
It's almost Christmas, Amy has no money and is home-sick.  She spots an advertisement in The Lady and applies straight away.  Before she knows quite what is happening, Amy finds herself hired to accompany the elderly, but very elegant Georgia Hamilton on a trip to Manhattan.

As Amy and Georgia travel and spend time together, the story slips back to the 1950s when Georgia was doing 'the season' as a debutante.    Tasmina Perry has really brought to life those exciting and glamorous times, her writing evokes the sounds and the styles of the parties, the balls, the dresses and the foods - and yes, underneath all of the glitz, the desparation of both the girls and their parents.  Appearing to have it all, they are determined that they will marry well.  Rippling beneath the surface, hiding behind the sparkle and dazzle, the reader is exposed to the dirty tricks that are played in the fight to bag the best marriage.

Georgia appears to have it all.  She's a self-made millionaire, she's been to the very top of her profession, she lives in a beautiful apartment and money is no object.   It is clear to Amy though that Georgia also has hidden secrets, a sadness that is hidden deep inside.   Over their days together, Amy learns more about Georgia's past and finally her hidden despair is revealed.

I enjoyed every page of The Proposal, it's one of those books that you sit down to read a couple of chapters and before you know it you are over half way through the story.  The writing is excellent, the descriptions of both London and New York are so well drawn, the reader is thrust into the action straight away.  Perry's characters are just perfect and the dialogue and connection between them is incredibly realistic.

This is Tasmina Perry truly back on form - I'd be happy if she continues in this direction.

Tasmina Perry is the author of the huge Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers Daddy's Girls, Gold Diggers, Guilty Pleasures, Original Sin, Kiss Heaven Goodbye, Private Lives and Perfect Strangers.
She left a career in law to enter the world of women's magazine publishing, going on to win the New Magazine Journalist of the Year award, edit numerous national publications and write on celebrity and style for titles such as Elle and Glamour.
In 2004 she launched her own travel and fashion magazine, Jaunt, and was Deputy Editor of InStyle magazine when she left the industry to write books full time. Her novels have been published in seventeen countries. 

You'll find lots of information about Tasmina Perry, her books and her travel at her website     She also has an official Facebook page and Twitter feed 

1 comment:

  1. Thrilled - and just a little relieved! - that you enjoyed this one as much as I did x