Friday, 12 July 2013

Killer Heels by Rebecca Chance

"She was a perfect size zero. After all this effort, all the extreme dieting and the exercise and the ironclad self-denial, here she was, standing in her perfect designer apartment, in her perfect designer dress, the perfect designer size. This was it. Coco Raeburn was finally perfect."

I was slightly reticent to read this novel and I'm not entirely sure why, it was entirely as advertised - a cross between The Devil Wears Prada and 50 Shades of Grey. The storyline follows an aspiring fashion editor, Coco, in her job at Style magazine working under the enviable Victoria Glossop and cleverly changes between then and now seamlessly allowing the reader to fully engage in the plot.

Coco Raeburn originally enters the fashion world as a UK size 14 girl called Jodie but upon being hired for the magazine is told to change her name (choosing Coco in hommage to Coco Chanel) and become a US size 0. The story follows her rise in the fashion world and decline in weight which ultimately gives her power but not necessarily happiness. I truly liked the character because she had an honest, well grounded sense about her which, despite the ludicrous name, gave her an air of normality in an exclusive world.

Victoria Glossop is another fundamental character within the novel and is renowned as the cut-throat editor of Style UK who wants to head Style USA. She is Coco's boss and has particularly high standards which makes her more than a little difficult to work for, but somehow Coco manages. Apart from merely being depicted as a she-dragon, however, we are able to see a human side to Victoria through her marriage to Jeremy and the subsequent lesbian affair with a model named Lyyke that ensues. This was an unexpected twist in the novel which rather that just being there for the shock-factor, appeared to showcase a real dilemma in Victoria's life which she was powerless to control.

Rebecca Chance - the author
The final character whom I wish to discuss is Jacob Dupleix, a very wealthy businessman and owner of Style. It is no secret that Jacob likes sleeping with younger girls and therefore it is not a surprise that he takes special interest in Coco, leading her eventually into his S&M lifestyle which is so popular in the wake of 50 Shades of Grey. I immediately took a dislike to Jacob, finding him a little creepy and not good enough for Coco, especially when he encourages her to keep losing weight in  order to make her 'beautiful'.

Unlike so many of these types of novels, I found that the ending of Killer Heels was particularly satisfying giving both an unexpected twist and a 'some time later' section.

There were several reasons why I would recommend this novel to a friend but it is primarily because I liked the interaction between characters, genuinely investing in how their storyline developed. Also, I thought that the whole novel was very cleverly structured, effortlessly moving between past and present and clearly showing the differences between London and Manhattan. So, if you are looking for a quick novel to read this summer which is reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada and 50 Shades of Grey then I suggest that you look no further.

If you have read this, or any other, Rebecca Chance novel please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


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