Maxted abandons her usually thoughtful version of chick lit (A Tale of Two Sisters, 2006, etc.) for a train-wreck of a soap opera.
London-based globetrotters Jack and Innocence Kent own a chain of boutique hotels and have the multimillions to buy shoes for each new day (her) and a truckload of Prozac (him). Their obscenely overindulged 14-year-old daughter Emily has her sights set on Lord Timothy, eventual owner of a drafty Scottish castle. Bulimic, frigid and friendless Claudia is Jack’s adopted daughter from his first marriage. Problems abound. Claudia is engaged to her biological father—good thing she’s so messed up about sex they haven’t consummated their relationship. Jack, involved in a financial scandal that nearly ruins him, is only saved by Innocence’s duplicity; she swindles him out of his fortune by transferring all the property into her name. Then Emily, now 16, gets pregnant by Tim, they marry in Vegas and his father disinherits him. Emily has to start selling gossip about herself to the rags to keep herself in Manolos. Flashback 20 years to East London: Innocence is Sharon Marshall, a tough girl with big dreams. She trains as a lady’s maid and works her way up (often on her knees) while Jack, a happier man, is married to Felicia, just beginning to build his empire, and father to sweet Claudia and the newly adopted Nathan. When Felicia suddenly dies, Nathan is sent back to the adoption agency and grows up to become a sociopathic killer, believing that Jack’s rejection ruined his life. After killing his foster parents at four in an “accidental” fire, Nathan finds his biological mother (also dispatched, eyeballs retained as souvenirs) and then becomes a world-famous movie star, all so he can pick off members of the Kent family one by one.
Plot-packed silliness filled with laughable baddies whose deaths are only slightly mourned by the reader. No wonder Maxted published this nonsense under a pseudonym in Britain.