Ruthless Women by Melanie Blake
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publishing Date: 18th February 2021
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
Ambition can be deadly… A sizzling thriller set behind the scenes of a glamorous TV soap, from a Sunday Times bestselling author. Falcon Bay is the UK’s favorite TV soap, beamed to millions three days a week from its beautiful location in the Channel Islands. But the show has a new owner, and ratings are falling. The cast and crew used to be ‘one big family,’ but now they’ve turned against each other in the battle to impress their new boss and survive the downturn. Writer Farrah, lead actor Catherine, and producer Amanda are the driven, ambitious women who keep the show on the road. But Farrah is losing episodes to her less experienced male rival, Catherine is terrified of the public falling out of love with her, and Amanda’s evil husband Jake, vice president of the network, is plotting to get his wife kicked off the show. Can these women team up to bring down their rivals? Only if they are prepared for a battle of the sexes—where they’ll need to be as ruthless as the men to come out on top…
„Falcon Bay“, a soap opera, has been shown on TVs all over the world for 40 years now, winning all prestigious awards possible. However, times are changing, the ratings are dropping dramatically and the competition doesn’t sleep. The succession of new owners doesn’t seem to be able to bring the old glamour and high ratings back but it should change now, when the production is passed in the hands of an American business woman, Madeline Kane. So it’s because of this news, but also because the 40th anniversary is coming, that „Falcon Bay“ should be on everybody’s lips again. The search for an explosive story line begins – and with it the power games.
I was immediately drawn into the story and you could see it was written from a first – hand experience – there were so many shenaningans, details and deep insider knowledge and it made the reading this little bit more exciting and thrilling.
The characters were not all immediately likeable. I hated to see that the women – again – have to prove themselves to get a better job and be paid as much as the men with the same position and I hated when they played against each other – really, us, girls, we have to stick together and support each other. Though the friendship was strong and real and the „slip – ups“, no matter how huge their caliber was, were forgotten – although, to be honest, this backstabbing sometimes made me feel uncomfortable. We have the leading lady Catherine Belle, the casting director Helen Gold, executive producer Amanda King and writer and director Farrah Adams, who all love the show and want „Falcon Bay“ to do so well. And then comes Madeline Kane, the new owner, who has her own ideas about the show and how it should work. I can’t say I had my favourite character, they were all really well written and we were able to learn about their pasts and background histories and there was really enough depth to every single one of them. They were all sassy, self – confident, strong women who have experienced life and knew how to achieve what they want. They were all ambitious and I adored that they were striving to achieve their targets. They had many battles to fight, however they were often forced to play dirty. They are full of flaws but it makes them more realistic, as well as them making mistakes which lets you to empathise with them.
The men, on the other hand… Well, they only thought they are strong and ruthless but they were easily manipulated by the women.
The main plot about saving „Falcon Bay“ is strongly supported by the main characters’ private lives and it was a great move. The whole book got to another level with the issues that accompanied the women’s lives, making it thought – provoking, poignant and also relatable.
I absolutely have no idea how production of such soap operas looks like and it was great to imagine the coast of Jersey where everything has happened, where „Falcon Bay“ is filmed. I truly adored this behind the scenes look at the worlds of soap operas – it was exciting, captivating, brutal and full of unfairness and you could never predict what’s going to happen and to whom – it’s a brilliant rollercoaster journey. I guess it would make a perfect soap itself – a soap about behind the scenes of the soap.
It is written in a brilliant way, where you feel like a fly on the wall, being privy to literally all the shenanigans happening between the walls of the „Falcon Bay“ offices, where people are fired on the whim and where the careers can start or be broken in an instant.
“Ruthless Women“ was a fast – paced, sexy and glamorous read with strong, vibrant characters and vivid scenarios. The pages are filled with twists, turns and shocks and the end, while didn’t make me feel as shocked as I probably was supposed to be, was unpredictable, clever and sharp. I absolutely enjoyed this book and will be highly recommendig it!
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