Book review: Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge
I am not a huge fan of reality TV shows, in fact I don’t watch TV that much except for kids shows which I kind of have to since I have two little ones at home.
Also, I’ve never seen Downton Abbey and this book was compared with that series. But as I’ve heard from many people who’ve also read this book, there isn’t any big connection with Downton Abbey except that both of them are set in mansions.
Originally, I was planning this book as part of the Christmas Feature on my blog, but once I started reading it, i realized it’s not a Christmassy read, despite the cover (which is gorgeous) which does have a winter-christmassy feel to it.
But still, it is an interesting read. Abbey and Gemma are best friends and flatmates. Abbey is all posh, descending from a long line of aristocrats while Gemma is a waitress with not as classy manners. One day Abbey asks Gemma to step in and cover for her on a reality show, pretending to be Abbey. Now, you say what show? Well, Abbey is supposed to take part in the TV reality show Million Dollar Mansion which is supposed to help out her family, the Croxleys, raise enough money to invest in their mansion (which is kind of falling apart). But Abbey won’t be able to make it since she’ll be away with her boyfriend helping kids in need abroad, and needs Gemma to cover her since they do resemble each other. Of course, she’ll need to dye her hair and learn how to talk all posh, but still chances are big they can actually pull this off. But no one is supposed to know about this, not even Edward, Abbey’s cousin she hasn’t seen in ages.
After hesitating for a while, Gemma accepts to step in for her friend, NOT aware of all the drama that will happen in the Croxley’s mansion. Can she pull this off and will there be any consequences if they found out?
Now hold on a sec, as an idea, I really like this whole Million Dollar Mansion TV reality. I did find it a bit silly at the beginning, but I admit it’s original. I’ve never read a book before with a TV reality in which aristocrats compete against each other, though I’ve read quite a few about TV reality shows set on different locations. So this part of the story, I really liked.
Even the idea of switching characters, Gemma pretending to be Abbey, I really enjoyed. It was funny to read about Gemma and her transformation into a noble, classy woman. I laughed out loud on few places, some things Gemma (now Abbey) was saying were just hilarious! But still, Gemma (Abbey) really didn’t grew on me as a character despite the fact I really wanted that. At times I even found her a bit annoying, but I guess that was the author’s intention. To create two very very different characters and show this transformation into a Lady. That was indeed the funniest thing about this book, so it really worked well for me. If Gemma was portrayed differently, I guess we wouldn’t be able to see that transformation so clearly.
But still, I had some issues with it. Despite being really funny and fun, it did take me longer to finish it. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, but found the second one not that amusing. And Edward’s blog…it was interesting, yet not very convincing since I really think a Lord wouldn’t be blogging about his competition. Well, at least not Edward, the way he was portrayed. It just didn’t feel right to me, but even if things like that could happen, his blog posts very really not that much fun. Totally unnecessary addition to the book if you ask me.
Overall, I did enjoy it to certain extent and would most definitely be checking out Samantha Tonge’s future books. I do have a feeling they’d get better, since this is a debut.
My rating: 3/5