Saturday, 17 May 2008

Take a Look At Me Now by Anita Notaro

WE LIVE in a country of secrets. Happy families that have a dark unconfessed undertone, sunny smiles that hide desperation.
In TV director Notaro's new novel, Lily Ormond doesn't know much about her twin sister's life. She thinks she knows everything, but when Alison drowns on Sandymount Strand, Lily takes up the strands of Alison's life.
I wonder how the publishers managed to publish a book whose title is so similar to a current bestseller - Cecelia Ahern's If You Could See Me Now. Is there not some subfusc title clearing-house to stop this?
In this eye-widening novel, Anita Notaro explores the life of an expensive prostitute.
Unknown to her twin, Alison had supported herself and her child by having sex with high-paying clients.
As Lily contacts the customers Alison has listed - for what Lily thought was a Wicklow beauty salon - she meets one man after another. Then she finds slinky silk underwear and champagne laid away in the lamplit back room. It takes her a long time to understand what was going on.
She thought she knew Alison. But Alison had a secret life, a secret face.
Separately, Alison and Lily's controlling father's will appears as a deus ex machina. He'd left a hefty trust fund, to come into operation if there was a grandson.
As Lily explores the call-girl underworld she's also working out whether she can take on her adored nephew.
Take a Look At Me Now is a pageturner, taut and heartwarming and full of surprises.

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