Reaching for the Stars
From the author’s blog :
Reaching for the Stars is about a Scottish celebrity chef called Finn McDuff who is media stalked and disillusioned after winning his third star and losing his third wife. He decides he’s had enough of all the food campaigns, the TV cookery shows, the constant frenzy surrounding his private and, after giving up all his accolades and closing down his restaurant, he disappears. With the enfant terrible of the kitchen missing, two rival newspapers, having lost their media meal ticket, compete against each other to whip up further public curiosity in the missing chef. Love him or hate him, everyone is out looking for Chef McDuff. Who will find him first and whose side will you be on…?
The foundations are laid in the beginning when the reader is introduced to ambition driven Finlay McDuff and his situation in the setting of The Balmoral Hotel. Wife Gina has given him an ultimatum, which coincides with being awarded the three golden stars and so we find him alone and nursing his wounds.
Raine Sanderson and Ross Campbell are in competition at The Thistle newspaper. With only one journalist place available, they are the last of the interns with only one more challenge – an interview with the elusive McDuff. Raine finds him first but then finds herself in a predicament. Portray a different side of him than the public are aware of and lose the job … or keep her integrity. Her choice works out well and soon after her victory, Ross becomes employed at a rival newspaper. While they are in competition to provoke the public attention (and so keep their papers in circulation), Anna James contacts McDuff. Anna is the daughter of McDuff’s former mentor – is her plea for help straightforward or does she want revenge?
McDuff hands back his golden stars in the hope of luring Gina back and amidst the shock of the catering world and agent Sam, goes into hiding.
What I thought:
The author has created a very believable world from the celebrity status of McDuff and all that entails to the world of the journalist. Janice Horton has used a real life event (the Icelandic volcano erupting) and woven it into a part of the story that creates tension. I thought that was brilliant!
The characters are also believable. I identified with them all. It’s not only the leads that are three-dimensional but also those on the periphery of the story too.
One thing that did surprise me was McDuff’s mental state when he was in hiding. I was expecting him to be out of the public eye limping along. Instead, there is another dimension to the story that deals with mental/emotional health, which Janice Horton writes about really well. I enjoyed the role Lady Craigmuir had while he was in hiding.
I could also readily imagine the madness the media provoked when McDuff shut down his restaurant and left, whipping up the public into a frenzy of trying to hunt him down!
There is much to hold the readers attention throughout Reaching for the Stars. The tension between Raine and Ross as they compete with each other, the intrigue from Ann James’ motivation and the friction between McDuff and Gina. Oh and I can’t finish my review without mentioning the romance … but which characters fall in love?
Action packed and fast moving I am giving Reaching for the Stars the following rating:
I would like to thank the author for providing me with a Kindle copy to review.
Mid-December 2011 I was honoured to take part in Janice Horton’s virtual book launch for Reaching for the Stars. Janice shared with readers her preference for researching and how it applied to Reaching for the Stars. You can read the post here (apologies in advance – the formatting did not import well from Blogger).