***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***
In 1959, Diana Christmas – the beautiful, vivacious redhead – was a major star in Britain. It was her moment. She was on the cusp of making it big in Hollywood. Then, she simply walked away from the limelight. Vanished from an industry that adored her.
Twenty years later, Michael, a young film journalist, arrives at her suburban home and discovers the still vibrant and alluring Diana. Between her sheets, he hears for the first time the reason for her disappearance – a tale of coercion, shame and blackmail.
To his shock, he learns that those who destroyed her career and ruined her life still have their claws in her.
Totally smitten, he promises to help her. But Michael soon finds that the past doesn’t let go easily…
Diana Christmas – A new thriller of desire and betrayal from F.R. Jameson.
This was a new genre for me to explore, and I relished the opportunity to read something new.
Michael, a recently graduated film journalist, lands himself an interview with none other than former star, Diana Christmas. Quickly finding himself between the sheets with her, he embroils himself in a history of blackmail and subterfuge spanning decades.
A forewarning to readers, some of the scenes in the book are NSFW and certainly for mature readers. I have to say that whilst I don’t read anything that… pushes the boundaries, shall we say, I didn’t find the raunchier parts too intimidating or uncomfortable to read. The narrative touches upon intimacy in a way that neither shies away from it uncomfortably nor records every sordid detail, which makes for the perfect balance for someone like me.
Each of the characters presented in the book are unique and well developed. Diana herself, much as her character would strive to do, really takes centre stage when it comes to development. The author has quite evidently invested a lot of effort in getting Diana’s persona just right. From the way she speaks to the smallest mannerisms, she is remarkably expressive of her thoughts and feelings. She can change the mask she wears at the drop of a hat… and for me really embodies the expression that the whole world is a stage. The performance, in Diana’s mind, never seems to end. Sometimes, that mask slips in the heat of the moment though, and there are a few rare glimpses of Diana’s true self.
Whilst I was less a fan of Michael overall (entirely a personal bias), his character was written perfectly for the role he plays in the story. He is the love-sick puppy forever at her heels, begging for her affections and jumping through hoops to get it. He is the type of man Diana needed and was no doubt waiting for… as he is easy to manipulate. It’s not that I didn’t like him; I just wish that there was a bit more about him. I know he is young, inexperienced with life and no doubt star-struck, but he falls into the honeyed trap hook, line and sinker! I spent most of my time feeling sorry for him really – for someone purportedly educated, he’s a little wet behind the ears at times.
*Insert smutty joke here*
He did grow on me though, I have to say.
Where I found elements of Michael’s personality a few cards shy of a full deck (my opinion extends to all people of this nature – my former self included), the same cannot be said for the narrative itself. Full of twists and turns, the sophisticated, melodramatic soap opera of Diana’s life keeps the story flowing and evolving with each new development. The unexpected, less than fairy-tale like conclusion was surprising, but more importantly, brings some consequences of the pressures of fame to our attention.
Diana Christmas truly is a thriller fit for the silver screen itself.