The Double by Alison Brodie
Release Date: 19th January 2016
Publisher: Alison Brodie
Beth is mistaken for rock star Sonita La Cruz, and ends up on a billionaire-dollar yacht. As a shift-worker in Glasgow, Beth has only known hardship. Now she’s in a world of uniformed stewards, delicious French food and rows of gorgeous designer clothes. Beth keeps quiet about the mix-up, determined to wear every outfit in her wardrobe before she’s sent home. What’s wrong with a little play-acting? Beth takes to the role of rock diva like a duck takes to water.
Aleksandr, the captain, arrives and is astonished to see a beautiful raven-haired girl lying on deck issuing orders through a loud-hailer. After talking to Beth, Aleksandr realises what has happened. His smuggling buddies, knowing Aleksandr needs to speak to Sonita about a kid’s crisis, grabbed Beth by mistake. Aleksandr is desperate. To save those children, he needs money, but Sonita has disappeared.
Beth rises to the challenge. She looks like Sonita, so why not BE Sonita? Beth does a magazine interview for one million dollars, and ransoms herself for another million. Beth saves the kids … but can she save herself? Too late, Beth discovers why Sonita disappeared.
On the surface, world famous rock Goddess Sonita La Cruz appears to have the perfect life. She is set to blow all competition out of the water with her latest performance, she has a loving fiancé who would do anything for her and she is rich, successful and glamorous. However there is something (or someone) in Sontia’s life who is making it far from perfect..
Aleksandr Shtcherbatsky Zhivago is travelling to Transnistria to visit his nephew Pavlo and is shocked with what he finds. The Ukraine is suffering after the invasion by Moldova and Aleksandr discovers Pavlo is one of many children suffering from tuberculosis and is living in a disused mine. The few nurses who are looking after Pavlo don’t have the medicines that they need to help these children recover. Aleksander realises he needs to do something – and fast.
He tries contacting various pop stars in a bid to get them to help his cause. He receives a response back from none other than Sontia La Cruz saying that she wants to help, however when he tries to follow up on her correspondence he has difficulty getting hold of her. There’s only one thing for it…Sonita can’t be that hard to find, surely?
Then we have auxiliary nurse Beth. Trapped in a loveless marriage and fed up with the drudgery of her day-to-day life, Beth is dismayed to find out that one of her gorgeous colleagues Enrico is returning to Spain. Little does he realise but Enrico has been the one who gets Beth through changing bed-pans, how can she carry on without him? However, when Beth attends his leaving do a series of unfortunate events lead to a classic case of mistaken identity. Things start to look really odd when Beth awakes the next day finding herself on a boat in the middle of nowhere. As for the men who ‘kidnapped’ her and put her on the boat in the first place? Well, they think she’s none other than the one and only Sonita La Cruz…
This is the first novel of Alison Brodie’s that I have read and I can say with sheer certainty that it won’t be the last because I absolutely loved it.
You can’t help but quickly become intrigued by this quirky story and the direction that it seems to be taking. There’s so many layers to the plot and the more you read, the more you discover and the more desperate you become to find out what’s going to happen. Because of the complexity of the story I don’t think you could pigeon hole this novel into one category. It’s a kind of romance/thriller/mystery/historical with humour, intrigue and plenty of drama thrown in for good measure.
The format of the novel works SO well. The story is told from various characters viewpoint’s and I liked this because I felt as though you could build up a stronger picture of each character and their situation. The way everything then comes together is done brilliantly, with plenty of surprises along the way. It’s amazing that all the characters are interlinked in some way or another and Alison has been so clever with her writing to make this work.
I also enjoyed hearing from each character in turn and they became very real to me, possibly one of the reasons for this is that Alison writes for each character using their accent. So there’s plenty of Russian and Scottish tinged dialogue and this really added to the authenticity to me. I had no trouble picturing these characters and it also enabled me to differentiate between all the characters a lot easier.
Alison has obviously put a huge amount of research into this novel. Being based in so many different countries helps the story to move at a fast-pace and I feel as though I learnt a lot from this novel. I felt for the children in Transnistria and the living conditions they had been subjected to – all because of war. It makes for shocking and upsetting reading at times, but with Aleksander fighting the children’s corner you know that he will find a way to make things right.
Character-wise Beth was probably my favourite. The way she handled being mistaken for Sontia was sheer brilliance, even if she did take to using a megaphone and having someone cater to her every whim a little too easily… The way her story starts is also heartbreaking, only in a completely different way. It soon becomes clear that she has been worn down by life and the way her husband treated her was disgusting. I was desperate for her to gain the confidence to kick him to the kerb, but couldn’t realistically see how she was going to do this…
Aleksander was also a joy to read about. Passionate and caring, he wasn’t afraid to stand up for what he believed in and I really liked him. I also liked the real Sontia La Cruz. She had come from such a horrific background and was going through a really difficult and rather frightening time. There is a part of the story where she escapes to Scotland and this was such a thought-provoking, wonderful part of the story. (Especially the relationship she builds with ‘Thunderbrows’.) It’s almost like she re-discovers herself and it’s a fascinating part of the story. Sonita is a million miles away from being a diva and I warmed to her really quickly. It’s clear that both she and Beth are polar opposites – but it’s amazing what a case of mistaken identity could do for each of their lives…
The Double was a cracking read which I struggled to put down. It’s funny, fascinating and one which has characters who will play on your mind long after you’ve finished reading. I couldn’t wait to see how things were going to pan out and Alison certainly didn’t let me down with the ending. I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting end to a compelling and captivating read.
A huge thank you to Alison for sending me a copy of The Double to read and review. ♥
Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side of the family. Alison was a photographic model, modelling for a wide range of products, including Ducatti motorbikes and 7Up. She was also the vampire in the Schweppes commercial.
A disastrous modelling assignment in the Scottish Highlands gave Alison an idea for a story, which was to become Face to Face. She wrote Face to Face as a hobby and then decided to send it off to see what would happen. It was snapped up by Dinah Wiener, the first agent Alison sent it to. Three weeks later, Alison signed a two-book deal with Hodder & Stoughton. Subsequently, Face to Face was published in Germany and Holland. It was widely reviewed, ie: “Vain, but wildly funny leading lady.” -Scottish Daily Mail. It was also chosen as Good Housekeeping’s “Pick of the Paperbacks.”
Unfortunately, Alison then suffered from Second-Book Syndrome. The publisher’s deadline loomed and she was terrified because she didn’t have an idea for a story! She found the whole experience a nightmare; and this is why she cautions first-time authors to write more than one book before approaching an agent. She managed to finish the book – Sweet Talk – but it bombed.
While writing Sweet Talk, she moved to Kansas and lived there for two years. She loved the people, their friendliness, their free-and-easy way of life, the history and the BBQs! Sadly, her visa ran out and she had to come back to the UK – although her dream is to one day live permanently in America. Now, Alison lives in Biarritz, France.
Alison has taken the exhilarating steps to becoming an indie author. Her second ebook, THE DOUBLE, is out on Amazon Kindle with some great reviews. “Excellent.” –San Francisco Book Review.
Alison writes contemporary romance. She aims for a strong plot line, set against the background of a world-changing event, coupled with touches of humour, sexual tension and character transformation.
She loves to hear from her readers.