Books

New Beginnings – Fern Britton

Christie Lynch is a widow, a mother, a sister, a daughter and also public property as a stand in presenter of television programme Good Evening Britain. Can she be all these things successfully without everything falling apart?

Christie’s late husband Nick was her rock throughout life and helped her cope with all the day to day things of family life including the finances, as well as enabling her to pursue a relatively anonymous journalist career. However, upon his death Christie has to start earning more money for her family. A chance meeting with Julia Keen a well known agent to the major stars gets her a job but does Christie know what she is getting herself to? Her demands her not listened to and the lack of consideration given to her as a working mother is overlooked for one thing – money but not in Christie’s favour.

Christie’s children Libby and Fred are trying to come to terms with the death of their father. Libby blames herself as the last time she saw him alive she said she did not love him and hated him. As a teenager she tries to deal with her grief as well as growing into a young woman who still needs her mum. But her mum is never there when she wants her to be, despite the promises and her television career starts to encroach on Libby’s life. Libby does not want to share her mother with anyone else.

Fred as the youngest seems slightly more robust. He finds friendship with Olly a friend from school and with Olly’s father, Richard make up for the lack of a father figure. Richard is brought much into the family life through his son and becomes a feature in Christie’s life as well. But can she manage to be something to Richard as well as everything to everyone else?

Mel, her sister and Maureen, her mother are Christie’s conscience. They help her out with her family but with such close relationships there are conflicts as well as love. Is Christie just using them to get what she wants?

I was a bit unsure of this book in the first couple of chapters. And I thought I was going to get a lot of weak characters and a fluffy plot based around a television studio. I was wrong. It does have a shaky start and it felt like the author was just using all the ideas and concepts she had been involved in her own professional life and from gossip magazines to fill in the first few chapters.

However what develops in something so much more. A well constructed plot, where you can see where it is going but the characters are strong enough to let the reader become involved in them. Julia Keen, Christie’s agent is portrayed excellently to the point where I was angry just reading about her methods and the way she treated people and wishing that she would get her comeuppance. In the same light, I thought Christie weak, not in the written characterisation of her but in her character and this was how she got to be trying to juggle everything and achieving nothing. The climax of the book was over rather quickly for my liking and although I knew what was going to happen and was expecting it, I was disappointed that perhaps the ending was not as strong as the middle of the book.

For a debut novel this is very good. Interesting to see whether Fern Britton writes anything else and whether it will be of a similar style or something new again.

Thank you to Amazon Vine for letting me choose and review this book. Book published in Hardcover 17 Mar 2011.

I devoured this book in a couple of days. It was a bit fluffy, but a very good bit of fluff(!) and as my review states I did have my doubts, as when reading it you could almost match all the little scenes, comments and scenarios to what we read and hear about in the ‘red tops’ and celebrity magazines.

I am never sure when ‘celebrities’ turn their hand to fiction. My first immediate thought is that someone is ghost writing them. For here I think Katie Price/Jordan. Not that I have ever read any of her books or would want to. However, after having read A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French and read a number of books by Pauline McLynn it just goes to prove that ‘celebrities’ can be true to themselves and actually write a novel.

What are your views on ‘celebrities’ writing novels?