Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Books Read: Zoe Miller - Rival Passions

Source - Received from publisher to review

Brother and sister Jack and Serena Devlin are the owners of Tamarisk Manor, a chic, luxury hotel, ranked as the ultimate Irish retreat for socialites and celebrities.

But behind the indulgent facade, the privileged Devlin family is in turmoil ... 

Serena's commitment to the hotel is taking a toll on her once-perfect marriage.  She finds it easier to run a multi-million euro business than to be the kind of wife that her husband expects, or the mother that her daughter deseves.

Jack, struggling to come to terms with the shocking death of his wife, takes refuge in La Mimosa, their sister hotel in France. Until a chance encounter forces him to re-evaluate his whole existence ...

Will Serena sacrifice her marriage for the sake of success?  And will Jack give up his birthright for the sake of love?   

Thank you to Little Brown Book Group for sending me this book to review. Having read Zoe Miller's previous books, Guilty Secrets and Sinful Deceptions, I had high expectations for this book and I wasn't disappointed.

To an outsider it would appear that twins Serena and Jack have it all but scratch beneath the surface and you'll find that appearances are very deceiving.  Jack is still struggling to cope with his grief a year after the death of his wife Amy and unborn child, meanwhile Serena is a workaholic who puts running the hotel top of her priorities so much so that she misses her daughter Harriet leaving for her first ever sleepover... a precious memory that cannot be regained.

When Jack misses his flight home following his stay at their cousin's hotel La Mimosa, he goes for a drink in a local bar in Nice where he meets waitress Jenni who he's instantly attracted to.  What follows is a week of an intense relationship between the two but Jack knows that he needs to return home but he wants Jenni to come with him.  She dismisses it as a holiday romance but agrees that if Jack feels the same in a month she will fly over to join him.

With Jack back, Serena's husband Paul thinks that she'll be able to cut back and let Jack pick up some of the running of the hotel especially as he's hoping for them to try for another baby, but Serena has other ideas as she doesn't want another child at this stage in her career and she's busy trying to get the hotel nominated to win the Exceptional Haven of the Year award.  

Meanwhile their mother Charlotte is re-assessing her own life and the impact that her running of the hotel had on the way her children are living their lives.

Will Jack and Jenni's relationship blossom in Tamarisk or should it have remained as a holiday romance in Nice?  Can Serena and Paul work through their differences or will their perfect family crumble under the strain?  Will Charlotte find a new purpose to fill her days now that she's relinquished the running of the hotel to the twins? 

I was drawn in from the start and from the descriptions I could picture the setting of the luxurious Tamarisk Manor hotel and could imagine having treatments in the spa.  The book has plenty of twists and turns to keep you engrossed and the characters were interesting and easy to relate to.  This is one book I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to friends and family.

Zoe's next book, A Family Scandal, is due out in Trade Paperback tomorrow and I'm sure that it's going to be as much as a success as her other books.

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