When I joined onto the Fiction Addiction blog tour for A Moral Dilemma I was feeling the itch to read some good chick lit. I was not disappointed.
A Moral Dilemma, by Zara Kingsley, centres around Rebecca Hardy, a beautician at a boutique beauty salon in London. Becky has just dumped her cheating boyfriend, leaving her the sole provider for a mortgage that she can’t afford. Through her work at the salon, she meets Isabella Coombs, a rich woman who is desperately concerned that her husband in cheating on her. Realizing their mutual experiences, Isabella suggests that Becky help her out to see if her husband really would cheat on her, if presented with the opportunity – Becky. Massively hesitant, Isabella makes her an offer she can’t refuse, and ultimately Becky wants to ensure that nobody else has to go through the experience of their partner cheating on them. Throughout the book, you see Becky disastrously attempt to seduce Charles Coombs, then eventually fall for him.
So, what did I think?
This book had all the classic elements of chick lit that I love. It was quirky, funny and had moments that made me grin. I particularly enjoyed the way Kingsley portrayed Becky’s friends. All too often you read about the “perfect best friends”. Look around at your own group of friends. All the people in our lives, ourselves most definitely included, have flaws. But we love them anyways. Abigail and Julia certainly have their flaws, and yet I completely get why they are all such close friends. Their subplot stories were definitely intriguing, supporting the crux of the theme.
The male lead, Charles Coombs, didn’t actually appear in the novel until about 50% through, which is fairly late in for a typical chick lit. That said, when he does appear, it’s an interesting dynamic between Becky and Charles. She gets off to a rocky start, having drunk a little too much for dutch courage, and comes off a bit of a lush, but the more she acts like herself, the more their affection for one another grows.
I have to say, perhaps it is because I am in the midst of plotting out my own novels, so I think through the alternatives, but I could guess at Isabella’s motives a good fifty pages before they were revealed. Some of the clues could have been a bit more subtle, or the reader could have been thrown off a bit to disguise the twist. That said, the twist of how Becky resolves the problem, that I was not expecting, which I liked. I think most readers enjoy being surprised.
The cover of the book didn’t match the story, in my opinion. Becky prides herself on wearing very little makeup, being a natural beauty and being casual. This is not portrayed in the cover. Even how Isabella dressed Becky is not mirrored in the cover. It’s just a small thing, but threw me off every time I opened my e-reader.
I did think the ending wrapped up a tad too nicely, and could have been a bit drawn out.
I loved that you felt that these were, for the most part, real people. The friends in particular had their routines, around which conversations centred. They go to the gym and chat rather than truly working out (um, yeah, I’m occasionally guilty of this). They have Sunday rituals of drinks and a BBQ. They call each other out, but support each other to the end also. It was relatable. It was also a nice touch to see one of the characters, who started as unlikeable, end up being supportive and a friend at the end. A great character arc.
All in all, I found it a fun, easy, escapist read. It’s a true piece of British chick lit, and an enjoyable ride.
Kingsley does, however, leave me questioning what one must do for facial exercises… Don’t understand what I’m on about? Pick up the book to find out.