Debut author Paige Roberts is on the blog today with a story that is all about choices and consequences, and realigning your life with new expectations. Please read on for my review of
Lizzie Grant appears to have it all: magazine column, successful cooking show, fame. But, with the blink of an eye – it’s all gone and she’s feeling like a failure. But there are bills that need paying, and since she is a chef, the opportunity to work for a wealthy Jersey Shore family as their private chef seems to be the perfect opportunity to realign her life and decide what’s next.
The Silvesters are particular with their restrictive diets and a daughter that is a self-proclaimed wellness warrior. While not spefically about the food and cooking, the story delves into Lizzie’s discovery of the choices made, good and bad, and the realization that her own life is also in need of rework. Zoe Silvester is simply a façade – her entire being is wrapped up in the Wellness Warrior persona, a persona that is at best false, at worse detrimental. Lizzie sees this, but her stepping forward will reveal the shortcuts and misleading moments in her own rise to fame. Zoe’s mother Kathryn is just despicable and one of those ‘all for show” people, with an inability to take responsibility for her own mistakes and missteps, preferring to toss everyone and everything under the bus as she flounces away bragging about her wealth and ignoring all discord and drama that she doesn’t create herself. Lizzie’s mum Susan is truly lovely and caring, but their relationship is also in need of a retooling, and while her story is used as a bit of diversion from Lizzie’s, with her own moments of finding herself, it was predictable but refreshing: a nice chance from the interior monologues, created drama with Zoe and Kathryn, and Lizzie’s rather disappointing love life.
As a debut, Roberts managed to create solid characters and compelling situations that present consequences, and show (with Lizzie and Susan) the positive value of finding a new direction and moving forward after a perceived failure or bump in the road. Where I got stuck was the lack of pronouns, causing an extraordinary set of echoes: frustrating in the abstract, annoying in reality. Lizzie said, Lizzie thought, Lizzie wondered when the ‘who’ is clearly apparent and present is overkill, and had me catching myself to stop skimming through the pages. Simple editing choices that would have eliminated these echoes and found a better way to reinforce the concepts and important moments then repeating them over and over. While the overwhelming theme in this story is of redemption and redefinition after a setback did stand strongly after the last page, the ride to the end was a bit more effort than it should have been.
Title: Virtually Perfect
Author: Paige Roberts
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Food / Recipes, Humor elements
Published by: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Published on: 26 September, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 23 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible
Not so long ago, Lizzie Glass had a successful TV show, a cookbook deal, and a social diary crammed with parties and events. But fame doesn’t stay fresh for long. Her show fizzles, her magazine column is canceled, and Lizzie’s only option is a summer job as personal chef to the Silvesters, a wealthy and eccentric family.
Their beach house is a lavish, beautifully decorated palace on the Jersey Shore, and Lizzie gets to work catering to Kathryn and Jim Silvester’s fashionably restrictive diets. But it’s their twenty-something daughter who presents Lizzie with her biggest challenge—professionally and personally. A self-proclaimed “wellness warrior,” Zoe Silvester has a hugely popular website and app that promotes healthy living and organic, unprocessed foods. Yet Lizzie soon realizes that The Clean Life site has a dirty little secret. In fact, Zoe’s entire online persona is based on a dangerous hoax that runs deep and will damage lives. Exposing Zoe won’t just jeopardize Lizzie’s job and a promising new relationship—it may expose the cracks in her own past.
Sharply observed, witty, and thoughtful, Paige Roberts’ debut novel is a compelling look at one woman’s journey toward reinventing herself—and seeing through the façade of others—to discover the imperfect but sometimes wonderful truth.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: