Review – The Proposal by Tasmina Perry

By | September 30, 2013

When Amy Carrell’s wealthy boyfriend ends their relationship just before Christmas, she’s left to nurse her broken heart alone. With nothing to lose, she replies to an advertisement requesting a companion for a mysterious ‘Manhattan adventure’.

Whisked off to New York with eccentric British aristocrat Georgia Hamilton, Amy experiences a glamorous side of the city that she’s never seen before. Along the way, Georgia initiates her protegee in the arts of old-school elegance.

But as Georgia shares her life lessons, Amy discovers a painful secret in her mentor’s past. A secret that shattered her future. A story of love and betrayal that only Amy has the power to put right.

Only a few weeks ago, I reviewed Tasmina Perry’s The Deep Blue Sea – I’ve always been a big fan of her writing, but the last couple of books haven’t really been my cup of tea at all. But I’m delighted to report that I absolutely loved this one, and would highly recommend it to anyone who any romance in their soul and defy you to finish it without a tear in your eye.
Amy Carrell, a New Yorker working as a waitress in London while trying to get a break as a dancer, wants to spend Christmas with her family after breaking up with her wealthy boyfriend, having realised that she will never match up to the expectations of his parents. Spotting an advert in The Lady for a companion to an elderly lady, Georgia Hamilton, she joins her for a Christmas trip to Manhattan. Georgia is a wealthy ex-publisher with a difficult relationship with her own family and, in addition to the magical excursion to New York, her own story as one of the last debutantes in the late 1950s slowly unfolds. And what a story it is – fascinating in its detail about the life of a debutante who doesn’t have quite the aristocratic background required, full of awkwardness and fraught with difficulty, who finds true love only to have it cruelly taken away. Amy sets about trying to put things right, and it’s a really beautiful story, exquisitely told.
I thoroughly enjoyed every page – this is a much slimmer book than the author usually produces, and I escaped into it for an afternoon and devoured it from cover to cover. Amy is a really endearing character, who makes you really feel for her in her attempts to fit into a world where she’s really struggling – eating her artichoke with a knife and fork in a charity shop dress that’s shedding its sequins. And Georgia is simply mesmerising, throughout her 1950s story and during the modern day trip to Manhattan, when her friendship with young Amy is beautifully drawn. This is a story full of small kindnesses, bitter betrayal, and all-consuming love. This is a book for lovers of New York (there’s an excellent guide to Manhattan at the end of the book, picking out the highlights), anyone who likes a little Christmas sparkle, but also anyone with a heart who enjoys a beautifully told old fashioned love story. And Tasmina Perry – I think I love you again!

Tasmina Perry is the Sunday Times bestselling author of novels such as Daddy’s Girls, Kiss Heaven Goodbye and, most recently, Deep Blue Sea. She left a career in law to enter the world of women’s magazine publishing, going on to become an award-winning writer and contributor to titles such as Elle, Glamour and Marie Claire. In 2004 she launched her own travel and fashion magazine, Jaunt, and was editing InStyle magazine when she left the industry to write books full time. Her novels have been published in seventeen countries. Tasmina lives with her husband and son in London.

My copy of The Proposal was an advance reading copy from Amazon Vine: it is due for publication by Headline Review on 7th November in all formats.