31st March 2011, Prospera Publishing
487 pages, Ebook (is already out) Paperback (31st March)
Life of the rich, lies, deceit, blackmail, family secrets, friends who aren't real friends as well as those who are, tragedy, alcohol consumption, adult relations (mostly innuendo & mentions with some adult behaviour/content), some swearing (moderate to strong language), the value of honesty, poisoning, lots of laughs,
Marrying Out of Money follows the life and perils of rich coffee heiress Lou, who is madly infatuated with the less than erudite, tree-hugging, scruffy-to-the-point-of-smelly Hedge - member of rock band 4BY4. Lou's social-climbing mother decides that enough is enough, and hooks up with a poverty-stricken aristocrat to arrange a marriage between Lou and the snotty, outrageously good-looking Harry Stomeworth - 40th in line to the throne. Not surprisingly, for both parties, it's hate at first sight. Still desperately in love with rock star Hedge, but with her beloved father ill and wanting nothing more that to see her married, Lou sets about making herself so repulsive that the aristocrats decide a future on a derelict council estate is preferable to having her as a daughter-in-law. Of course, nothing goes according to plan, and Lou finds herself questioning the wisdom of her actions when she discovers that horrible Harry has a sensitive side after all.
I thought this would be a light read. It isn't a genre I usually read, but the concept sounded fun. My first impressions were as expected. Everyone had money, people were messing around with each other in adult relationships, there were lots of lies, alcohol, and I had zero with which to relate to the characters. But over the course of the book, something changed.
I'd felt sorry for Lou just because her mother is diabolical. In her strange twisted way she loves Lou, and occasionally does the right thing. I didn't necessarily agree with the drastic courses of action Lou takes against Harry and his family, but it had the desired effect. She is essentially a sensible girl - shame about her mother, and her father just puts up with it. When she discovers some shocking truths she is determined to sort out the mess she finds herself in. I had great reservations about Hedge, which ended up being justified.
My favourite character is Lou's friend Fin. Initially I didn't like her. She's a party goal, and drank more alcohol than water. She is flaky, but when tragedy hits her I really felt for her. Suddenly she learns she isn't as invincible. Stupidly she thinks she can survive without relying on Lou. Thankfully Lou doesn't let that happen. Although there are several near misses which had me on the edge of my seat.
There's a surprising amount of deep and meaningful issues looked at in what is at first glance a light hearted book. These involve family, background, health and what it takes to keep a business prosperous. People would go to extreme lengths to get what they want, although the outcome isn't always what they imagined. I loved the end of the book, because several of the characters end up somewhere different. I'll definitely be rereading this one!
A surprisingly deep and meaningful read, which will prove an eye opener about the realities of life for those who appear to be rich.