Friends & Rivals – Tilly Bagshawe

Returning to the irresistible world of the trashy novel, we are on both sides of the Atlantic for this one. Jack and Ivan are partners in their company, Jester, representing musicians in the US and the UK. Originally childhood friends, their different approaches to their talent management business turn them into rivals. Ivan’s wife, Catriona, is keeping the home fires burning in the Cotswolds, naively unaware of her husband’s infidelities. American songstress Kendall has the whole package; the voice, looks, body, ambition and brains to make it in the music industry, but is torn between Jack and Ivan. When Jack leaves the Jester partnership, all bets are off. This is a good size, absorbing, unashamedly trashy read.

Kooks for your Kindle?– The full selection of kooks is certainly here, Ivan the Terrible lives up to his nickname; being an egotistical, narcissistic philanderer. Jack has more compassion, but is no less ruthless when it comes to business. However he’s so caught up in mourning his late wife, he misses some of what’s in front of him. Stella is perhaps my favourite, an American transplant to London, married to a famous rocker and blogging about her smug new age lifestyle, there’s a definite whiff of Paltrow there. Ava the young Yorkshire singer is quite fresh, but her Dad is a little stereotyped.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Unfortunately Catriona will have you mentally slapping her for being such a sap; she’s straight out of a Jilly Cooper novel, the kind, homely, frustratingly helpless one who doesn’t know how beautiful she is, and all the men fight to take care of her. It’s a relief when she finds out what a tool she’s been married to, but it doesn’t end there. Kendall isn’t as bad, at least she has the guts to make decisions (even if they’re terrible), and improve her career. She’s not particularly likable some of the time.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– There is a surprisingly vivid portrayal of all three of the main locations, London, LA, and rural Oxfordshire. The author clearly loves LA, and shows its glamorous, sun-shiny, picturesque side. The Cotswolds as seen through Catriona’s eyes is a rural idyll of cottages, dogs, Agas and horses. London is the location for Jack’s talent-management, and his foray into the world of competitive talent TV judging, in which he fancies himself as the next Simon Cowell.

Nookie for your Nook?– They don’t call these bonk-busters for nothing, definitely not for those with a delicate constitution.

Evaluation of your eBook?– Fortunately there is some surprisingly good character development along the way, which redeemed most of them from being unlikable. It’s a little unusual to pitch people against each other in a story and not have a clear good-guy to root for, but it didn’t stop the pages turning. The ending was a little too tidy, I felt some of the characters could have done with a little single time. Although there was plenty to snark on, don’t let that stop you if you like this sort of read. It’s a cross between the middle-class English horsiness of a Jilly Cooper and the trashy American showbizziness of a Jackie Collins- but in the present, not the eighties.

Frothy Ranking: 3/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon, Waterstones and WHSmith for £3.99.

US: Kobobooks for $8.09

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