Picture Perfect by Kate Forster

'After thirty years in this town, the one thing I know is that anything is possible. This is Hollywood, after all.'

Title - Picture Perfect
Author - Kate Forster 
Publication Date - April 9th 2015
Publisher - MIRA 
Format - Paperback (Provided via publisher)

The blurb

Movie stars aren't always picture perfect, especially when it comes to secrets from their past...

Zoe Greene manages the careers of Hollywood's biggest stars. She'll do anything to help them - and herself - get ahead. 

Actress Maggie Hall has been America's sweetheart for nearly twenty years. And she's about to learn that there are two things in life you just can't fight: growing older and falling in love. 

Dylan Mercer - young, beautiful and defiant - has run away from New York to try her luck in Hollywood. She's not after fame and fortune, though. Dylan's on a quest to find her birth mother. 

All three women are swept up in the search for the actress who will score the role of a lifetime. But ambition and desire can bring out the worst in people. And in a town built on illusions, believing you can escape your past might just be the biggest deception of all. 

Becca's thoughts 

First of all, I'd like to say a massive thank you to the marvellous Cara Frances from Harlequin for getting in touch with me in regards to receiving a review copy of Picture Perfect. This is the second full-length novel that I've read written by the fabulous Kate. I've previously read The Perfect Christmas (short story), and The Perfect Retreat, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed, so I couldn't wait to dive into Kate's brand new release which, after reading the blurb, I felt was going to be right up my bookish street! 

My first glance at Kate's cover and title had glamorous images of Hollywood click-flashing away in my mind. I was thinking movie stars, premiers, models, red carpets... The whole SHABAM! But readers, I can tell you that I was more than pleasantly surprised when I actually opened up the book and began to read, because not only were all of those glamorous things included, but so much more besides them! Powerful matters of the heart, dramas, romance and not-so-polished pasts all played an important part in Picture Perfect, and also caused me to love it as much as I did. 

Kate first introduces readers to Zoe and Maggie, two stunning women with incredibly busy but luxurious lifestyles, both treading different paths but alongside each other which, it turns out as their story progresses, has been the way they've worked since their teenage years. Kate truly opened up the world that Zoe and Maggie lived in with an artist's eye, drawing on the details that built up the world perfectly in my mind. Expensive events, walking the same rooms as some of the biggest movie stars and having their picture taken almost constantly whilst out and about, it was fantastic. Strict schedules, people to meet, swapping conversation with the big players, Zoe and Maggie really did have it all. Throughout the book, I felt myself feeling closer and closer to the two women, adoring how Kate flipped the narrative from one woman to the other, allowing me a visual into each of their separate circumstances. Whilst Zoe worked to bring a heart-breaking novel to the big screen, Maggie took care of the broken-down author, and I just couldn't wait to see how it all played out. That's one thing that stuck with me throughout my reading of Picture Perfect... my sheer eagerness to get to the end and finally exhale with ease. 

What made Picture Perfect even more of a meaningful book for me was that Kate took the reader right the way back in time too, to a time before Hollywood and paparazzi and expensive homes, where the reader connects with two young hopeful girls, dreaming of a better future for themselves, as well as for the unborn child resting in one of their stomachs. There was such a brilliant contrast between back then and the present, and I couldn't help but to marvel at how well Kate achieved this. Back in the past, the two young girls were faced with homelessness, not enough money to eat and living in a cramped, dirty home, whereas the two women in the future had everything that they could have ever dreamed of. Flicking back and forth between these two tenses was utterly enjoyable for me as a reader, and I found myself looking forward to dipping back into the past and vice versa. 

As the story progressed, I found myself falling deeper and deeper into a world that was about to become seriously tangled, as well as the lives included. Kate introduced more characters to the plot as she went along, building a fictional world that felt entirely real to me. There was Dylan, a young woman searching for her biological mother, Elliot, a young man who was recovering from serious heart problems. There were starlets, actors, actresses, film directors, personal assistants... And I know I'm making it sound like there were a fair few characters involved in this book, but honestly, not at any point did I feel myself losing touch with any of them or becoming muddled up with who they are. Kate created them excellently, each with their own shining characteristic that set them apart from the others, and so I was able to pinpoint exactly who was who, and enjoyed following each character's dialogue and steps thoroughly. 

Picture Perfect by Kate Forster was just SO MUCH MORE than what the cover depicts. There's definitely that old Hollywood glamour within the pages, and you'll spot a few famous names too, but what I adored about this was that beneath all of the glitter and diamonds, there was a true feel-good aspect that was completely down-to-earth and wholesome. It was just such a joy to read, to feel so involved with the characters and their lives, to wonder where they'd end up next, to try and guess in which direction a new relationship would go... It was WONDERFUL, and by the end of it, I felt like Kate's characters and I were some sort of fictional family. I cared about them so much it was pretty ridiculous, but when I eventually closed the book and put it down, I did so with a contented smile on my face. I felt, 100%, satisfied. 

Becca's Books is awarding Picture Perfect by Kate Forster with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES. I LOVED everything, absolutely everything, and I cannot think of a single thing that I'd change. The characters, the settings, the way they gradually became entangled with one another... I can't wait for Kate's next novel already. I really can't. 



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