Romance: The Inheritance, Ally Bunbury, Poolbeg, €16.99
Ally Bunbury's debut novel opens in the London townhouse of Sofia Tamper, spoilt Hollywood princess, whose momager is hell-bent on generating positive publicity for her protegee in advance of her appearance in Violet Tiger, a much trumpeted new TV series.
To this end, the venue is crammed with beautiful and influential people, none more so than George Wyndham, renowned art dealer, heir to a Tudor mansion in Scotland, and one of the country's most eligible bachelors. Also there, albeit at the insistence of her PR maven boss, is Irish-born Anna Rose whose brief is to rub shoulders with the right people and drum up new business for Winterbottom PR.
Having failed to connect with the jaded and peevish Sofia Tamper, Anna is planning her exit strategy when her bikini strap snaps. And voila! Out of the blue comes the dashing George Wyndham to preserve Anna's modesty with a silk kaftan. Of course the pair fall instantly in love, and Anna duly brings her new beau home to meet her delightfully eccentric parents, Harry and Freddie, at their idyllic Georgian pile in the west of Ireland. They too are charmed by their daughter's new man, as is Mrs B the housekeeper, Bernard the gardener and Dharma, the live-in yogi master. It seems nothing can come between the happy couple.
But back in Scotland, all is not well. George returns home to discover that his estranged father, Robert Wyndham, has sold George's beloved late mother's favourite painting - a Titian - and is busily squandering the proceeds. Furthermore, Sofia Tamper, whose scheming mother Blaire was born and reared in the shadow of the Big House, has wheedled her way into Wyndham senior's affections.
With his inheritance under threat, George is forced to make a choice - one with devastating consequences.
Pitched as 'The Devil Wears Prada meets Bridget Jones' this sparkling debut novel embodies the best of both. Bunbury, take a bow.
Sunday Indo Living