23 Sep 2016



INNER FRONT COVER BLURB: It's the new university term among the dreaming spires. The start of a whole new life.

Meet Isabel, beautiful, clever, shy - and leaving home for the first time.

Meet Olly, recently graduated, idealistic and a little hopeless, a man whose heart leads his brain and for whom opportunity just hasn't come knocking - yet.

Meet Amber, the It girl who is soon partying with the fast set - and no-one is faster than Jasper de Borchy, glamorous leader of the notorious Bullinger club.

Meet the grown-ups: Diana, recently divorced mother-of-one, newly arrived in town to take up a post as college gardener - and Richard, the new college head, a widower, a scientist, and as lonely as some of the specimens he captures in his science lab.

The rich, the poor, the shy, the extrovert, the givers, the takers. Meet the Gifted and Talented.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1}: Isabel stared out of the train window.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 94}: In the confined space of the narrow hall he looked larger than ever, his belly straining under a black T-shirt bearing the legend 'Are you looking at my cock?' under an image of a chicken.

Diana swallowed.

SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

MY THOUGHTS: Set on a university campus - what at times felt like a 1950's campus - and telling the connected stories of several different individuals, students and staff alike. Overall an easy read, dare I say a novel perhaps best suited to a long flight or the pool side? As it was I had several issues with Gifted & Talented ..

  1. A readable enough yarn, just not nearly as witty as it seemed to think it was but then what it humorous to one person isn't necessarily so to the next.
  2. Some more interesting than others, by the time I'd waded through the chapters featuring characters I failed to engage with (which amounted to most of them) and got back to the chapters relating to characters such as Diana, her nine year old daughter, and her relatively amusing 'salt of the earth' neighbours, I'd sometimes lost the thread of their story.
  3. Ah yes, those 'salt of the earth, social housing dwelling neighbours ... to say nothing of the obnoxious, spoilt, little rich girl. Urgh! Full of stereotypes and cliches, all of them horribly patronising. 
Hmm! Originally a book I rated as 'it was OK', I'm beginning to think I was probably a little generous.


Gina R said...

Oh my. Well that one didn't sit well with you now did it? Still, it looks/sounds like it has potential to me so if I can snag a copy, I may check it out myself. Also, reminds me (vaguely) of an updated version (sort of) I just read that WAS really good... THE GOODBYE YEAR by Kaira Rouda. :)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I like the setting, but sorry it wasn't quite as engaging or witty as you had originally hoped!

Natasha Hill said...

Again, loved the excerpts you shared, it made me giggle! Sad to hear it didn't live up to expectations though. I had one recently that was similar and it just wasn't as funny as the blurb stated it would be. It's not the type of genre I tend to read though so I'll take your word for it on this one. Hopefully the next one will be better! :D - Tasha

Kelly said...

Overall, it sounds like it might be pretty good... but I'm always hesitant when you tell me you had trouble engaging with many of the characters. That's such an important part of a novel for me.

Suko said...

Thanks for your honest review. It doesn't sound as if the story engaged you enough, for various reasons.

Have a good weekend, Tracy!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Yea, I don't think this one is for me... mainly because "Full of stereotypes and cliches, all of them horribly patronising." That would totally get under my skin. Brilly review! :)

Aunt Mary said...

Hello Tracy,
Honest review, an easy read as you said. Thank you Tracy
Have a wonderful day:)

Melliane said...

oh that's too bad it wasn't that good

Brian Joseph said...

I have a pet peeve with stereotypical and cliched characters. They really detract from a story for me. One would think that writer with even a basic level of skill would avoid them.

It is too bad as a University setting has such potential when it comes to storytelling.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this one. Not one I had heard of before. Doesn't quite sound like the book for me, but I always love to learn about books. :) Thanks for sharing!