Monday, November 26, 2012

#BookReview: Shopping with the Enemy - Carmen Reid

For someone who makes her living styling others and keeping her finger on the pulse of the latest fashions, Annie Valentine is not very stylish these days.  She never lost the weight she gained after the twins.  And even worse, her sense of what's hot and what's not has gone missing.  How do you style someone when you can no longer piece together complete outfits?

Luckily, Svetlana has the cure for what ails Annie.  While their daughters, Elena and Lana, are off in New York working on new designs for Perfect Dress, Svetlana is whisking Annie off to a spa in Italy.  Unfortunately for Annie, what Svetlana considers a spa is more like a torture chamber.

Svetlana promises that by the time they leave the spa, Annie will be 15 lbs. lighter.  Though she initially tries to tough it out, Annie is almost ecstatic when she and Svetlana are forced to leave the spa earlier than planned.  Svetlana's ex-husband has kidnapped her sons and she fully expects Annie to help her drive the spa's Bentley through the mountains of Italy to Vienna.  And, as always, hilarity ensues.

Fans of Annie Valentine already know that Annie will come out on top by the end of the book, but I wonder if they're starting to tire of the predictability and lack of growth of the characters as much as I am.  At this point, her husband and son have been relegated to background characters, as have her mother and sister.  I was happy to see more focus on Lana with this book, but I also questioned the feasibility of her story line.  In addition, Svetlana as the selfish, self-centered friend has outgrown its usefulness.

While she initially started off as a demanding, but lovable, client in the first book in the series, Svetlana has turned into someone I just don't care for.  With as much as Annie has going on with home life and work, she constantly drops everything to do Svetlana's bidding, almost always to the detriment of herself or her family.  It's becoming more difficult to believe that Annie would willingly participate in this often one-sided friendship. I'm hoping that if there is another book in the series, Carmen Reid gives Annie more of a backbone so that she can stand up to Svetlana or remove Svetlana altogether.  It's hard to believe that Annie is the strong, determined woman that Reid writes her to be when she also allows her to be a human doormat.

Published: November 2012


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