Paradise City by Elizabeth Day
Published in 2016 by Bloomsbury
My version: Overdrive digital library
Beatrice Kizza, a woman in flight from a homeland that condemned her for daring to love, flees to London. Howard Pink is a self-made millionaire. Yet self-doubt still snaps at his heels and his life is shadowed by the terrible loss that has shaken him to his foundations.Carol Hetherington, recently widowed, is living the quiet life in Wandsworth with her cat and The Jeremy Kyle Show for company. Esme Reade is a young journalist learning to muck-rake and doorstep in pursuit of the elusive scoop, even as she longs to find some greater meaning and leave her imprint on the world.
Four strangers, each inhabitants of the same city, where the gulf between those who have too much and those who will never have enough is impossibly vast. But when the glass that separates Howard’s and Beatrice’s worlds is shattered by an inexcusable act, they discover that the capital has connected them in ways they could never have imagined.
I’m often not mad on novels that have the points of view of several different characters (I’m easily confused), but I have to say it worked well in this novel. I think this was helped as all the characters’ stories are told in the third person and have distinctive voices and personalities. Also it’s clear straight away how three of the characters’ stories are linked. The fourth character – well, her link to wider events doesn’t become clear until later, and this little bit of mystery was something I also enjoyed.
To begin with I found myself really enjoying all four strands of the story, mainly because the characters were so interesting. They all have very different backgrounds and the chapters were the right length to find out enough about them but without getting totally immersed in their stories. They also crossed over very well.
However I did find as the story progressed that the plot was a bit thin on the ground. Not really very much happens and the book seemed to be much more about the characters than the action, which for me did make the book become a bit less interesting as we progressed.
The end of the novel was also far too neat and tidy for my liking, and it seemed almost like a bit of a cop out by the author, and wasn’t really in keeping with the rest of the story.
I did like some aspects of this novel and the characters worked really well, but the story didn’t have me gripped and there wasn’t quite enough going on here for me.