Friday, 30 May 2014

Not Without You - Harriet Evans

Not Without You (paperback)Not Without You by Harriet Evans
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you don’t learn from history . . .
You’re destined to repeat it

Not without you, she’d said. And I’d let her down…

Hollywood, 1961: when beautiful, much-loved movie star Eve Noel vanishes at the height of her fame, no-one knows where, much less why.

Fifty years later, another young British actress, Sophie Leigh, lives in Eve’s house high in the Hollywood Hills. Eve Noel was her inspiration and Sophie, disenchanted with her life in LA, finds herself becoming increasingly obsessed with the mystery of her idol's disappearance. And the more she finds out, the more she realises Eve’s life is linked with her own.

As Eve’s tragic past and the present start to collide, Sophie needs to unravel the truth to save them both – but is she already too late? Becoming increasingly entangled in Eve’s world, Sophie must decide whose life she is really living . . .

Not really sure how I felt about this book; it was well written and had some really interesting insights into the Hollywood film world of the 1950's and the fight for aspiring actresses to 'make it' in the industry but I found at times the story line seemed to loose it's way with random sub plots like the stalker which really didn't seem to slot in with the story line. Loved the book cover and would have been attracted to the book because of it.

This a story written from the point of view of two people, one in the past Eve Noel in the 1950's Hollywood, and one in the present Sophie Leigh, both actresses who travel from England to USA to become stars. I liked the story being revealed in parallel so that the reader seemed to unravel things at the same time as the characters but I felt distracted by what I considered to be unnecessary sub plots like the stalker. Eve Noel was a famous actress who at the height of her career suddenly disappears; years later Sophie Leigh (who is a huge fan of Eve's) moves into Eve's old house and while pursuing her own acting career is determined to find out what happened to Eve and hopefully when she finds her she wants to bring her back to the movies.

Of the two characters I wanted to learn more about Eve and felt that Harriet Evans connected better with this character than she did with Sophie Leigh. Eve was more interesting, intriguing and fascinating and believable than Sophie, I felt that Sophie's character was only there as a secondary storyteller rather than having a real purpose and story of her own, and that Sophie's life and experiences lacked credibility on many levels.

It was a shame that Harriet Evans didn't succeed in making both the characters as believable as each other, Sophie sleeping with her director just seemed to make her look cheap and didn't add anything to the story and in fact highlighted for me the differences between these two actresses rather than the similarities - Eve had fewer choices and was naive in an industry that was both artificial and corrupt, whereas Sophie I felt was more in control and should have been more worldly. I did like the way the book alternated between the past and the future stories but it did get confusing at times trying to work out whether it was Sophie or Eve telling their story.

I liked the twist with Eve's sister and I did guess how her story ended but I was not convinced by Sophie's ending, the whole thing seemed contrived and a bit too convenient.

Overall this book was not a winner for me it lacked credibility and depth and after a promising start really didn't deliver - I would give this a 3 star rating.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this to review. 

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