I first became aware of Michelle Madow's writing a few years ago, when I heard about her book Remembrance. The synopsis intrigued me - Taylor Swift inspiring a YA book? Hell yeah! - and I enjoyed it, so much, I made a mental note that I wanted to keep an eye on whatever Michelle published in the future.
So when I heard that she had written a book about hotel heiresses moving to one of my favorite cities, I was desperate to read this book. Fortunately for me, Lisa at Harlequin kindly accommodated my request!
Things that worked:
The first thing that readers should know, is that this book is written from multiple POVs. Not only do you have the POVs of the Diamond sisters, the book also includes the POV of secondary characters, as well.
While I'm generally wary of multiple POVs - it typically reduces the length/room for an author to fully develop a character - Madow definitely doesn't have this problem. Savannah, Courtney and Peyton are introduced to the readers with different voices, different hopes and aspirations, and you can't help but fall in love with them instantly.
While I can't wait for everyone to meet the Diamond sisters themselves, I definitely have to say: I related the most to Savannah. I could understand her eagerness to take full advantage of her new situation, and her quick realization that this is a world that has some strings.
The Secret Diamond Sisters is very much a book about relationships. There's the relationship between the Diamond Girls and their father, the relationships that they form with the new people they meet in Vegas, and of course, their relationships with one another.
Madow does a strong job of interweaving those relationships with the steady hand of a master weaver. You can see how and why certain people relate to one another the way that they do, and how all of these relationships come together to form the bigger picture.
I was especially intrigued with the relationship that she's developed between the three sisters. They've depended on each other for so long, and have fit into such specific roles, it's going to be interesting to see how they react if/when they start developing their own lives in Vegas.
I already thought Madow was a pretty strong writer in Remembrance, but she clearly kicks it up a notch here.
Her world-building is beautiful, and her descriptions of the Strip and various hotels made me feel like I was driving down the street with the characters. (Also, the Diamond Hotel totally needs to be an actual place).
Her writing was incredibly strong as well; I loved her character development, plotting and just how tightly knit the world was. I felt like I could literally step into the world of the Diamonds, and that's not a feeling I always get when reading.
The romance factor:
Romance is a pretty big factor in The Secret Diamond Sisters, and Madow basically hands the readers a steady stream of cute boys.
I totally loved the relationships and potential relationships that she's cooked up for all three of the sisters and the secondary characters. Not only are they intriguing, but I think readers will appreciate the fact that a lot of these relationships are putting the girls in positions where they can learn new and different things about themselves.
Of special note: Madow introduces a relationship that made me raise my eyebrows a little. However, she fleshes it out so thoroughly, you can absolutely see how the characters got to that point. I loved this attention to detail, and the fact that she clearly knows the motivations of these characters inside and out.
While Madow has tied up a few story lines nicely, she's also left enough lingering questions to make a reader go "?!" and want the sequel immediately. I know I definitely can't wait to find out how the girls are going to continue to adjust to their new lives!
Madow also totally gets bonus points for not having a cliffhanger ending. This makes it far less annoying for me as a reader - I'm looking at you, book where the book literally ended in mid-sentence - and it also makes it easier to wait for the sequel!
I breezed through The Secret Diamond Sisters in a record two hours, largely because I didn't want to put the book down. This is a fun book that brings us into rich, glittering worlds which most of us only dream about, but Madow also makes sure to give her characters a lot of heart.
I wanted to stay in Savannah, Courtney and Peyton's world, watching their triumphs and failures, as they adjusted to the glittering, sparkling world of Las Vegas. I predict that this will be one of those books where you'll close the book and think:
A) Why can't my life be like this? (Because seriously, who can't use a Centurion card?) and
B) When does the sequel come out?! (October 28th, 2014 - according to Goodreads!)
I highly, highly recommend this for fans of contemporary fiction, especially for fans of Kate Brian's Private series. You're going to love it.show more
by Jessamyn Y Huang