Jolly japes and scrapes
AS a plot device to cut straight to the chase an emergency counselling session takes some beating. Just a few pages in to Ally Bunbury’s latest novel we already know that its heroine Elodie Gold is a frustrated artist who lives rent-free in her mother Julia’s London mansion; has numerous issues with said mother, not least the fact that she is thoroughly spoilt and has no time for Elodie’s adorable brother Max; has recently broken up with her obnoxious millionaire businessman boyfriend Dominic Finchly; and has just witnessed the death of a junkie in a London boutique — hence the emergency counselling session.
From here the narrative moves through several short-lived attempts by Elodie at gainful employment during which she meets the devilishly handsome Luke Hampton who seems instantly smitten. Then, following yet another row, Julia cuts off Elodie’s allowance before swanning off with her live-in lover Lorenzo. Meanwhile, Elodie’s brother Max returns from LA to discover that his girlfriend Charlotte has had a baby and is living in a hippy commune. Now landed with his baby daughter while Charlotte takes time out to ‘find herself ’, Max looks to Elodie for guidance; and with little choice given their impecunity, the pair decamp to Bellamore, their grandfather’s grand Irish residence where they spent much of their childhood summers.
Once a shrine to moneyed splendour, Bellamore’s threadbare elegance reflects that of its owner who swans around with his much younger lover and their twin terriers Bonnie and Clyde, swilling sloe gin and throwing parties at the drop of a hat. Such blithe, handto-mouth living is all very well, Elodie reckons, but as the plaster crumbles off her ancestral home she wonders how long it can continue. And can she possibly turn it around?
With its epic cast and delightfully silly japes this novel is pure Jilly Cooper. I can’t say better than that.
ROMANCE Infidelity Ally Bunbury Poolbeg €14.99