I wasn't sure if I would like this book but after only a few pages I was hooked and didn't come up for air until the very end. It's a unique mash-up of contemporary romance and chick-lit wherein struggling young fashion assistant Grace, accepts the offer of much older art dealer Vaughan, to become his mistress.
The story is told from Grace's POV. Her life is in turmoil, hiding from debt, bullied at work and dumped by her boyfriend. In the true style of a chick-lit novel we get to know all of Grace's fears and despairs, and also her dreams and aspirations. Her story is told with bite and lots of humour. I really liked her and I wanted her to succeed. I knew she was a better person than she believed herself to be. Anyone who likes fashion or shopping or books like Sophie Kinsella's Confessions of a Shopaholic would get a big laugh out of Grace's job and relationships in the fashion industry. Her struggles to fill the role of hostess for Vaughan's upmarket art industry functions are hilarious and often poignant.
We only get to know Vaughan through Grace and that sense of mystery and uncertainty works perfectly in this very different style of romance. Vaughan comes across as really mean. Ruthless in the way he speaks to Grace and running hot and cold like you wouldn't believe. But underneath you can tell there's more to him and that Grace is shaking up his life in a fundamental way. They just work together. Both with broken edges that miraculously fit together seamlessly.
I laughed a lot and cried too, especially in the penultimate scenes where their misunderstandings kept them apart. There is a very well deserved happy ending but it's abrupt. Especially considering the over 500 pages it took to get there. I could have wallowed in this romance for a few more pages.