Hope you’ve all had a good weekend. I had such a lovely Saturday. My fiancé and I took an unplanned journey to Hay on Wye, which if you don’t know it, is nicknamed ‘The Book Town’ on account of the many many bookshops there. If you love books it’s a must visit and I 100% recommend you go there as soon as you can.
Thank you to @picadorbooks for this advanced copy of Becky by Sarah May in return for an honest review. Becky was published on 26th January 2023 and you can get a copy here.
Set in 90s tabloid era London, Becky charts the rise and fall of a very modern heroine as she inveigles her way into the highest society, where tabloid millionaires mingle and trade favours and fortunes with royalty and aristocracy, pushes her way up through the ranks at the Mercury newspaper with manipulative scoop after scoop, and eventually orchestrates her own dramatic downfall. These are some of the biggest news stories and scandals of the last few decades, and Becky seems to have something to do with every one of them . . .
General Thoughts 🤔
I really love stories like this about characters that have come from nothing and somehow found their way to the very top of their field. What this book added was all of the drama and scandal that had me hooked and what made it even more interesting, was that the scandals were based on those that have happened in real life. For example the story about the Royal Family and then events such as phone tapping. I’m old enough to loosely remember both of these things so it was super fun to read about them.
Becky was obviously the main the character and the story followed her life from childhood through to late adulthood. She was a character that I think readers will either love or hate. I personally went through stages of both whilst reading. I also had moments when I felt extremely sorry for Becky and moments when I felt really proud of her and admired her. She was a highly intelligent woman but her emotional intelligence just wasn’t where it should have been to make her a well rounded human.
One character I particularly disliked was George. Everything about this guy was sleazy and he really got under my skin. He’d had a similar life to Becky in that he’d come from an under privileged background, but managed to make a success of his career, but he really needed to be humbled in my opinion. All of that said; I loved to hate his character and I looked forward to the chapters with him in.
Writing Style ✍️
This is the part where I admit that I haven’t read Vanity Fair, therefore I’m unable to pass judgement on how successful Sarah May was in this re-telling. However, I can appreciate the way that she had smartly woven together a classic re-telling, a fictional version of real life events and the general vibe of the 1990s. Writing it down, it sounds like a lot and I think if I had known all of that before picking up the book I’d have thought twice and presumed it was going to be a bit much. It honestly worked so well though and Sarah May was able to create characters with plot lines that I became heavily invested in.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖
This was a story full of scandal and deceit all mixed up in family, friend and professional drama. I loved the 1990’s contemporary setting and it’s inspired me to read more books set in this decade; it’s definitely my vibe. Becky was a character that I loved to hate and hated that I loved her which can only mean that she truly got into my head. A great book that had me hooked from start to finish.