Lady Cordelia #CBR5 Review #93: Gallery Girl by Wendy Holden

holdenAlice is working in a very unhip traditional art gallery during the height of the Cool Britannia movement.  Unfortunately, there no longer appears to be a market for painting in this age where Zeb Spaw’s latest piece, five prosthetic legs painted gold, just sold for 20 million pounds.   When her gallery is closed, Alice makes the leap over to a modern art gallery, working for the diabolical Angelica.  How will Alice reconcile her own beliefs about what constitutes art, with what is celebrated in her new world?

Wendy Holden is a reliable standby for comedic chick lit stories set in England.  Yes, this is a light read but it celebrates its own silliness with caricatures of the art world and super wealthy.  It almost feels like the fluffy version of the Banksy movie Exit Through the Gift Shop, by showing the avariciousness of the art consumer, wanting to buy whatever the latest celebrity artist produces, without any thought as to whether it has any inherent value or if they actually even like it.  This book doesn’t offer any great revelations, but is a pleasant read set in an interesting world.

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Lady Cordelia #CBR5 Review #88: Marrying Up by Wendy Holden

4Wendy Holden is my secret go-to chick-lit writer who can churn out frothy romance that doesn’t make me want to stab myself in the face with self-loathing as soon as I finish a book.  Yay!

English to the core, Marrying Up is all about social climbing.  Alexa is a schemer of the worst sort.  She’s gambling everything on her sole ambition of marrying into the titled classes.  She doesn’t care what she has to do (or who!) to get where she wants to go.  She befriends aristocrat Florrie, a party girl who is constantly in the social pages.  Florrie is deeply shallow and doesn’t think past the next boyfriend or party.  Obviously this fills Alexa with a burning rage, as Florrie has every advantage that she is so desperate for.  And finally there’s Polly, a lovely girl who hasn’t had much luck with men in the past.  She was at school with Alexa, but the two couldn’t be less alike.  And now Polly has caught the eye of the handsome young vet, Max.  But Max has a secret….

Seriously, if you can’t figure out how this story is going to play out, you must have rocks in your head.  Okay sure, there are no surprises, but I still found this a very enjoyable read.  There’s something so indulgent in reading about the Hooray Henry chattering classes – so completely removed from reality, and yet somehow very familiar.  There is no challenge presented here, but Holden’s light touch and sense of humour make this the perfect book to read on the couch on a rainy afternoon while eating an entire package of chocolate biscuits.