Shade of Violet
by Jackie West
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Pub Date 14 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 08 Nov 2022
Violet Bellamy is surprised to find herself a ghost because, as a rational person, she doesn’t believe in them. After a life of timid conformity, she now wants influence. She also wants to complicate the lives of people with empty charm and unshakeable self-belief, like her local MP and rising star minister, Maximus Biggs-Dickson. And care manager Verena Crookham, a ruthless seductress who will despatch her sweet-natured stepson to keep their big house for herself.
A Back to Great Britannia campaign has been thrust upon the British, to the alarm of those on the other side of the Channel. There, in Belgium specifically, a beautiful journalist is writing an article: Integrity and Power – Impossible Bedfellows? She has Minister Biggs-Dickson in her sights as an interesting subject for research.
Events align and it will take the interference of someone with nothing to lose to bring them all to a head.
This fast-paced quirky mystery takes a wry swipe at characters with dangerous charisma.
A Note From the Publisher
Average rating from 7 members
I found this book witty and charming. I fell in love with our protagonist and enjoyed watching her try to overcome the troubles she faced. I really enjoyed this book.
I started reading this book because it is partly set in Belgium and written by a professional writer/editor who lives in Belgium; as another writer/editor resident in that country, I felt an immediate affinity.
I enjoyed reading a book set in a familiar place, but I also found myself increasingly enjoying the book for itself.
It probably qualifies as contemporary, low fantasy, with the fantasy aspect (magical realism) handled lightly, without it dominating the story... let's say it adds 'une certaine légèreté" - and humour - and moves the plot along nicely.
One of the main characters is Maximus Biggs-Dickson, surely, SURELY based on Boris Johnson? Although I imagine Brussels has more than its fair share of regular visitors who are both aspiring political figures AND complete wankers, so he may well be based on an acquaintance of the author. I guess she'll keep that under her hat. The other characters are all considerably more appealing (even the wicked stepmother) than Mr B-D.
Mr B-D is pushing a 'Back to Great Britannia' campaign, purely for egocentric reasons, and a Belgian journalist is plotting his come-uppance. In parallel, the aforementioned wicked stepmother is plotting to get rid of her unwanted stepson. Violet, the eponymous shade, is providing a helping hand, or rather a gentle nudge, so that good prevails over evil.
The two plot lines don't really come together, but it hardly matters. The novel is for entertainment, and succeeds very well. Overall, it's about women taking back control of their lives and punishment for evildoing.
The two main characters, Callum and Erin, are a sweet duo and there's plenty of scope for further adventures. I'd read a sequel, definitely.
It's no doubt clear by now that this Shade of Violet is not high literature. It's a bit of escapist fun. However, it's also well written, well structured and with strong characters. I could well see this author going from strength to strength. In short, it's a good yarn, well written and well worth a read.
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