New Island, €14.99
Fiona O'Brien follows up her successful debut novel, 'Charity', with another high society tale. This she concentrates on the exclusive property sector of Dublin 4 or, more specifically, Grovesbury Hall, a spectacular mansion set on ten acres, and the adjoining Grovesbury Gardens.
When Grovesbury Hall goes on the market, callous property developer Chris Carroll sets his sights on the land where the beautiful building stands. Having already bought up most of the property in the surrounding area, only four cottages plus the main estate remain. However his plans for new luxury apartments to be built there are scuppered when sexy American multi-millionairess Bobbi Levinski swoops to buy Grovesbury Hall from under his nose.
With the residents along Grovesbury Road (excluding Chris) thrilled at the prospect of having a glamorous new celebrity living in their midst, Bobbi finds herself the talk of the town. However, she finds she has more in common with the lowly tenants of Grovesbury Gardens than her wealthy neighbours, and comes to their rescue when they find themselves in danger of losing their homes.
'Sold' is an intricate and contemporary story that readers will definitely enjoy in the current climate of soaring property prices. The protagonists are amusing and very believable, although O'Brien has made the mistake of peppering her story with too many secondary characters, which makes the tale more complicated than it needed to be. In saying that, there is definitely room in the market for O'Brien's racy stories and, having previously uncovered the murky goings on of the charity circuit, O'Brien proves herself to be an Irish Jilly Cooper in turning her attention to the high flying world of Dublin 4.