(Random House Australia, 2014) ISBN: 9780857982513
Publication Date: 3 March 2014
Bye-bye Bridget Jones. The long-standing queen of the unlucky-in-love set is about to be bumbled out of limelight. Enter Tess Appleby, a loveable, relatable, thirty-something darling, whose track record in the romance department would make even Bridget blanch.
What does Tess have that Bridget didn’t? How about a seat at the A-List’s table, a behind-the-scenes job in television, a dad who can write nice fat cheques, and views of the Sydney Harbour no matter where she’s bedding down?
Dumped by a big-shot English boyfriend, hunted down by paparazzi, and humiliated in the headlines of the UK’s sleaziest tabloids, Tess retreats to her home in Bronte, hoping for a fresh start a world away from the train wreck of her past. A low-key wardrobe job on the set of TV soap Pretty Beach Rescue seems like just the ticket.
Her reprieve is gate-crashed by an assortment of trouble-makers, including an embittered and withered show biz mum, an ambitious sister who majors in snark, and a bevy of good-looking blokes who weasel their way into (and out of) Tess’s life and bed. She’s on the receiving end of a lot of male attention, but not from the one she wants—the ex-fiancé who eight years earlier left without looking back, and who happens to be the new director on set.
Author Jennifer Smart dishes up witty prose with the eye-popping speed and precision of a master teppanyaki chef. She nails the caustic humour in whip-smart dialogue, delivering at least a laugh a page and a rip-snort or two every chapter. Coming as fast and furious as the quips are the references to Tess’s nicotine habit (“Cigarettes, alcohol, and a good dog. They are the only certainties in life.”). If Australia had an official Surgeon General, she’d probably want to slap a health warning for smokers on the cover: May induce cravings.
Anyone who’s ever wished for a sneaky-peek behind the scenes of a TV show will love The Wardrobe Girl. Jennifer Smart, a veteran scriptwriter and director’s assistant including five years on the set of Home & Away, reveals all—the cattiness, the camaraderie, the shallowness, and all the glorious juicy bits.
Sorry Bridget, you just can’t deliver all that.
Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. (NetGalley)