19 April, 2008


Catherine Forde

I got this through the Librarything Early Reviewer programme, which works with publishers to offer a few copies of a number of books each month to people who will read and (it is hoped) review them. So, here's the review.

I received Sugarcoated on 17 April and started reading it more from a feeling of obligation than anything else ~ i am not in the target audience group (mid- to late-teenaged girls), this was not the book i had been hoping to receive, i already have several other books going ~ so i could still feel a part of the programme. Well! I was wrong in my low expectations, i am happy to report. After a few minutes i took the book to bed and, almost before i knew it, was reluctantly finishing for the night on page ninetyeight. Last night i did the same thing, and completed the book less than two days after i received it; such speed is not really unusual for me, often a book can be done in one sitting, but is so far removed from what i anticipated that it deserves comment.

The narrator of the story, Claudia but called Clod by almost everyone from her parents on, witnesses, and wishes she didn't, a particularly nasty murder in a Glasgow shopping mall. Urged by the police to speak of what she saw, she doesn't and is rapidly met by the most gorgeous guy she's ever seen. Swept off her feet, blinded by this man's beauty of character and body, she is rapidly drawn deeper into a situation she can neither understand nor control ~ though the reader understands all too easily, hence a nice layer of suspense which permeates the books pages. The end of the story is quite unusually done, in that Forde stops before we expect her to (i was flipping pages, not quite understanding), without spelling everything out for us, though leaving us to hope that all has ended well, or satisfactorily at least, for a heroine we've grown accustomed to, if not actually fond of.

All in all, this was an excellent introduction to Early Reviews for me, as it allowed me to meet a novelist i've never run across before, gave me two evenings of pleasure, and added a book to my shelves; three superb results.

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