I’m always on the lookout for beautiful covers when I’m purchasing the next read. That’s how shallow I am. Give me a fetching cover art and I’ll probably shell out my good earned money on the spot. It may even evolve into a lifelong relationship if the book in question plays its cards right. I wish it had happened with the one carrying Carrie Duffy’s name. It is called DIVA (HarperColins UK) and it’s her second offering. I was all excited venturing into her world of glam. I had heard many good things about her work and I was more than ready to make room for her books in my library. I even put aside another novel just to get to hers, but like any lousy first dates the novel just didn’t click with me.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. Her story of three beautiful women flourishing in the world of high-fashion has its moments, most noticeably when the protagonists are on their own, but as it happens with a lot of glam fiction with weak backbones, the overall delivery fails to connect with the reader. Blame this mostly on the lack of characterization and run-of-the-mill narrative. Everything is so beige and basic. The most colorful thing to be said about it is that had the novel focused solely on one of the trio characters (Alyson) it probably would have been a stronger read. That’s how interesting this waitress turned supermodel turned business entrepreneur is. But as a whole, with the addition of the two would-be fashion victims who are also BFFs, the novel barely surpasses its disjointed state.
Some of you would probably think of me a fool to expect feeling something other than basic appreciation for these types of books. They are fluff pieces after all. But let me remind you that many in the sub-genre have indeed reached often enough that impressive plateau: Jackie Collins, Tasmina Perry, Victoria Fox, Rebecca Chance, and the list goes on and on. All have managed to deliver colorful stories and heroines. So why should it be different with DIVA, especially when the author already had a hit in her hands with her first novel?
Am I being too harsh on this title? Perhaps. But you’ve got to admit how impossible it is to praise something that in the end clearly disappoints. If you want a basic plotline without any real fanfare then DIVA might be just what you’re looking for. If, however, you prefer your glam-fiction with more substance then you should probably look elsewhere. The decision is up to you.
Until next post—Martin