Mad by Chloe J. Esposito
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this compulsively readable debut, set between London and Sicily over one blood-drenched week in the dead of summer, an identical twin reveals the crazy lies and twists she'll go through to not only steal her sister's perfect life, but to keep on living it.
Alvie Knightly is a trainwreck: aimless, haphazard, and pretty much constantly drunk. Alvie's existence is made even more futile in contrast to that of her identical and perfect twin sister, Beth. Alvie lives on social media, eats kebabs for breakfast, and gets stopped at security when the sex toy in her carry-on starts buzzing. Beth is married to a hot, rich Italian, dotes on her beautiful baby boy, and has always been their mother's favorite. The twins' days of having anything in common besides their looks are long gone.
When Beth sends Alvie a first-class plane ticket to visit her in Italy, Alvie is reluctant to go. But when she gets fired from the job she hates and her flatmates kick her out on the streets, a luxury villa in glitzy Taormina suddenly sounds more appealing. Beth asks Alvie to swap places with her for just a few hours so she can go out unnoticed by her husband. Alvie jumps at the chance to take over her sister's life--if only temporarily. But when the night ends with Beth dead at the bottom of the pool, Alvie realizes that this is her chance to change her life.
Alvie quickly discovers that living Beth's life is harder than she thought. What was her sister hiding from her husband? And why did Beth invite her to Italy at all? As Alvie digs deeper, she uncovers Mafia connections, secret lovers, attractive hitmen, and one extremely corrupt priest, all of whom are starting to catch on to her charade. Now Alvie has to rely on all the skills that made her unemployable--a turned-to-11 sex drive, a love of guns, lying to her mother--if she wants to keep her million-dollar prize. She is uncensored, unhinged, and unforgettable.
When this arrived unexpectedly I was really excited, looking at the front cover and reading the blurb I couldn't wait to get started, so I did, straight away! I read this book in 24 hours, as soon as I started I was hooked and needed to get to the next chapter.
This book is set over the period of a week and oh my word does a lot happen, I had to keep reminding myself that it was just a week, which when you read it will agree that that is insane!
'Mad' is such an easy book to get into, Chloe's writing is almost conversational and flows well, I guess this is because it is written in the first person, you feel you know the main character very well. Our main character is Alvina, a identical twin of a sister she hasn't seen in two years, who now lives in Sicily.
Alvina is the 'poorer' sister, the 'outcast' of the family, the one that no one loved and this is evident through flashbacks in the book. Her behaviour most of the time is unacceptable, but at times I was warming to her in the book, feeling sorry for her and starting to perhaps understand at times why she was the way she is, however this does wear off at I read further into the book. She is not particularly very likable and if you are looking for a lovely protagonist this book is not for you.
Beth, Alvina's sister wants her to go and visit but Alvina cannot think of anything worse, that is until she loses her job, gets kicked out of her flat and has no money. She is then on the next flight to Sicily.
I won't go into too much detail from here as I don't want to spoil it for you. What I would stay is that I was very surprised about this. At times I was unsure what genre it was as there are elements from women's fiction, thriller, erotic fiction and even has humour in it. I think that is a major asset this book has as it could appeal to many audiences.
I really, really enjoyed the first half of the book and as I said I couldn't put it down, towards the end though and I suppose indicates how the book got it's title 'Mad' it got a bit far-fetched for me and perhaps loses reality. However, it did not spoil the enjoyment for me and I continued to whiz through the novel. This is not like any book I have read and I really enjoyed it for that reason, I hope to get my hands on the next in the series as I can't wait to find out what Alvina gets up to next one.
I would recommend this as a summer beach read, it is highly addictive and will have you racing through it.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.