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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning

Review - The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning

Becky Sharp has big dreams and no connections. Determined to swap the gutters of Soho for the glamorous, exclusive world behind the velvet rope, Becky will do anything to achieve fame, riches and status.

Whether it’s seducing society’s most eligible bachelors, or befriending silly debutantes and rich old ladies, Becky Sharp is destined for great things. Because it might be tough at the top but it’s worse at the bottom.

From London to Paris and beyond, Becky Sharp is going places – so get the hell out of her way…

An absolute joy of a novel!

It's been many years since I read Vanity Fair and all I can really remember about it is that I enjoyed it, all the men are hopeless (it's called a novel without a hero for a reason) and I had a huge crush on Becky Sharp. 

So don't expect clever and insightful comparisons to the source novel for this modern retelling. But I can confirm that I enjoyed it, all the men are hopeless and I have an absolutely huge crush on Becky Sharp!

Orphaned at a young age, Becky has no money, no education, no real prospects in life. All she has are her wits, her charm and a great pair of boobs. Making great use of all of these natural assets, she fights her way up in a society seemingly designed to keep people like her down. She is, after all, female, working class and ambitious, a combination to inspire fear and distrust.

One of the most effective things about this novel is the way it takes each of these elements and examines their place in today's society. There are strongly feminist angles, generally seen in the way Becky is perceived for her looks and how these are commodisied, and often abused by the men around her, and definitely in Amelia's behaviour and attitude in the later stages. There is certainly a lot to say here about class and how it's just as much a deciding factor in success today as it was in Thackeray's day, with the Eton privilege looming large at times. But it's also a book about ambition. Becky has big plans and bundles of ambition. She's prepared to work for her success and to sacrifice anything for her success but ultimately she believes that she deserves it. Her attitude is so refreshing and powerful, as far too often ambition is seen as a vice or a failing, especially in women. This is portrayed in the attitudes of several of the other characters who see Becky as conniving, jumped up and grasping, while George's plans to become Prime Minister or Jos' expansion plans in California are accepted as perfectly natural. I particularly liked the way she justified her own behaviour to herself. If she took something, it's because she felt she'd earned it, whether or not the former owner was even aware.

This is a book that encapsulates Thackeray's novel's themes in a way that is wholly rooted in the now. It is packed with contemporary figures, many of them actual celebrities, others thinly veiled references to actual people. It's vibrant, fun and thoroughly modern. I also loved a lot of the little joke references, from the law firm William, Makepeace and Thackeray to Sir Pitt living in a house, a very big house, in the country.

The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp is smart, sexy, funny and very relevant. A fantastic read.


The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning is out now, published by Harper Collins UK.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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