Posts Tagged With: Kate Harrison

Old School Ties by Kate Harrison

Synopsis:

Friends – and enemies – reunited! They say your school days are the best days of your life and Tracey Mortimer would agree. Sixteen years ago she ruled! She was the most popular girl in school, had her own gang and was dating the cutest guy in her year. Now she’s 32, stuck in a dull marriage that’s only tolerable because her philandering builder husband is rarely at home. And though Tracey loves her two kids, a daily diet of alphabetti spaghetti and the Tweenies, isn’t exactly thrilling…Then Tracey spots an ad from a TV company wanting to make a reality-style show on a perfect school reunion. She jumps at the chance to relive the ‘good old days’. Only some of Tracey’s classmates don’t remember their schooldays as fondly…Suzanne Sharp is more interested in revenge than a reunion. Tracey made her teenage years a misery and what better way to lay the past to rest than to get payback on national television. Especially as there are a few old school secrets that Tracey probably wouldn’t want broadcast on national TV, not least of which is Tracey’s affair with her old form tutor…

This is the second Kate Harrison novel I have completed, and I really enjoyed it. I read it in a day as I was eager to know what was going to happen. The protagonist, Tracey, is looking for more enjoyment in her life. Stuck at home with two small children and a husband who is often away, and often playing away from home. When a chance to get on TV and host a class reunion comes up Tracey jumps at the chance. Her memory of school is different from others – she remembers being popular and cool, whilst others, like Suzanne Sharp remember her as a bully, and Gary remembers having his heart broken by her when he discovers that she has an affair with her form tutor.

This is an interesting book in that I didn’t favour any of the characters, but I liked the story and kept reading for that reason. It was a book I couldn’t put down – what a great storyline! It makes me wonder how people I went to school with remember our time there. Mind you – I was just a normal girl with a close group of friends, I wasn’t bullied in secondary school and I wasn’t the most popular. Tracey however, seemed to be both popular and the bully. I was interested to see how her memories differed from others. Gary didn’t want to see her and Suzanne wanted revenge. Watching the story unfold was great! It was like watching reality TV! I felt a bit sorry for Tracey when things started to crumble, but I wasn’t too gutted for her because she wasn’t the best character.

I found it fascinating reading how different people think they are received, and how they actually are. Tracey bugged me if I’m going to be honest. When she realised how she treated people she seemed to find excuses. She blamed her friend Melanie – if she hadn’t hung around with her Tracey would have been nice. I didn’t know what to make of Suzanne. She was lovely with the children but I wanted to tell her to “get over it”. She was holding onto a grudge that I thought she should let go of. I didn’t like Dave, Tracey’s husband. He cheated on his wife and didn’t really like his children. I got angry reading his character – he was just a horrible man. Although I didn’t have a favourite character, I did have feelings towards to the characters and engaged with them, which makes for a good read.

The ending was not a whole surprising but I liked how Harrison played out the reunion. It seemed realistic enough – with people remembering events and people in different ways. It was a fascinating read and an interesting look at society. There were some parts of the story that could have been focused on more, such as Tracey and her form tutor, and I think Harrison took the easy route there. Overall, however, this was a good read. This is fun chick-lit and I enjoyed it. I would give it 4/5 and will be reading more of her books in the future.

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The Secret Shopper’s Revenge by Kate Harrison

Synopsis (from back page)

Imagine shopping for a living, homing in on size-zero haute couture and shopping the shopgirls. Welcome to the world of the Mystery Shopper.

New mum Emily wants revenge on the stick-thin assistants who laugh at her post-baby tummy and post-baby budget. But frumpiness has its advantages when you’re wielding a secret camera. Store manager Sandie has a lifelong love of retail. Then she’s fitted up by an ambitious assistant and secret shopping is the only way to keep her passion alive. And glamorous widow Grazia can’t leave behind the high life, despite her chronically low bank balance. The more she’s buying and spying – the less time she has to mourn her husband.

They’re Charlie’s Shopping Angels, controlled by a mysterious figure who sends them assignments from heaven – and the occasional one from hell…

Review

Even though I’m not much of a shopper myself, in fact I hate it, the title of this book (along with the cover but more on that later) had me intrigued and after spotting it in my local library decided to give it a go…

Now having read it all I can say is that this is without a doubt a really enjoyable read that had me gripped right from the word go.

The story is actually told from the perspective of all three of the main characters, which although potentially could have been a bit of a disaster actually works extremely well. All three of them are strong, determined women who all have one thing in common – loneliness – but when fate brings them together it’s not long before friendship blossoms and it’s this friendship which is the main theme of this book…along with shopping of course.

While on the subject of shopping, the whole Charlie’s Angel set-up was a really novel way of doing it and made mystery shopping sound so much fun, even for someone like me who hates shopping with a passion. The whole idea of secretly filming nasty shop assistants with the potential of getting them fired will no doubt appeal to a lot of women, particularly those that have a bad experience with one in the past – secret shopping may be the way to get your revenge girls!

As previously mentioned the cover of this book was one of the reasons I picked it up and even though I know we should never judge a book by it’s cover, it is ultimately quite often the cover that first attracts us to a book and the cover of this one is very eye-catching to say the least. In fact it’s probably one of the best covers I’ve seen in a long time. The dust jacket is actually a bag while the cover itself is bright and colourful with a design that just screams ‘read me’ so full marks to the designer!

This is a really quick and easy read and although this is only my second Kate Harrison book, it is definitely my favourite so far.

Reviewed by Karen.
See the cover, and buy from amazon.co.uk

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Brown Owl’s Guide To Life by Kate Harrison

This is a new author to me, and one I’m very glad I’ve found. The story starts with Lucy, whose mum has just passed away. Lucy is a shy person, who’s been ‘bossed around’ all her life, by her mum, her husband, and even her daughter! Her mum’s death, however, makes her start to re-evaluate her life.

Alongside this, she is brought back into contact with her brownie pack from her childhood.. and we also start to get a glimpse into their lives as well.

Kate has developed some great characters.. honest and believable, and you may even see glimpse of yourself in them too. The story develops well, and Kate also injects a great sense of humour. For those of you who were brownies, you will cringe, and laugh!

This is another chick lit book for grownups, it kept me laughing, had me close to tears, brought me close to the characters, and kept me hooked. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Michelle

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