Monday 30 September 2013

REVIEW: Trouble At Toff Towers by Anne Ullah.

Title: Trouble At Toff Towers.
Author: Anne Ullah.
Publisher: Self Published.
Genre: Chick Lit.
Year: 2013.

Meet Louisa Toff, a St Thinnian’s old girl who still lives by the old school motto: “Outdo and move on”. Louisa enjoyed her heyday in the 1960s/70s (when she was a top model with the Bone Idol Model Agency) and is now trying her best to stay in the limelight, cashing in on today’s celebrity culture, helped (well, hindered usually) along the way by an assortment of madcap characters. Louisa, or ‘Ell - The Glowering Inferno as she was (unfairly, she thought) christened by the Press, is happily married to millionaire Jack Toff and goes to great lengths to keep it that way. After all, it is easier and quicker to have sex with Jack than to make up an excuse not to and when you’ve found someone like that you hang onto them!

Both ‘Ell and Jack get along famously with her ex-husbands, Hugh Jass and Stu Pendous. Hugh is very good looking if rather vain. He was one of the most celebrated actors of the 1960s/70s. Stu is a rock singer. You remember The Who, of course. Stu was front man for their rival band The Why. They split up when two of the members died. It was (almost) classic rock n roll. You’ve heard of people choking on their own vomit. Well, these two choked on each other’s! Stu made a swift exit and formed his current band, The What On Earth Four.

‘Ell stumbles from one crisis to the next, constantly trying to manipulate the Press to her own advantage. Things rarely go smoothly but, with the help of her Analyst, Di Laffin and her PR Agent, Sue Perdooper, she usually manages to take something positive from each unfortunate experience, and there are plenty of them! However, she does manage to enjoy some success with various business enterprises and it is when she launches her Food For Toffs range and gets mixed up with Sardino Codleone of Finned-Us Frozen Foods that things start to get a little (more) complicated (than usual) at Toff Towers.


If you can read the synopsis of Trouble At Toff Towers without raising a smile, I’d suggest this book isn’t for you. Personally, I loved all the fun names (and all the connotations that came with them!) and the ridiculously dramatic events which have happened in Louisa’s life.

The book is written in the form of a diary (Louisa’s), which isn’t normally something I like to read. However, in Trouble At Toff Towers, it’s so expressive and fun. Some of the things that were said did make me laugh out loud.

The other characters were great fun too! I especially liked Edna (Bucket), and how her accent was written…

Eh up. It’s me, Edna (Bucket). Sorry, but “madam” is avin’ a bit of a lie down at t’ moment. She sez she’s exorsted. Huh – she’s exorsted! Worrabout me? She ‘ad me runnin’ all over t’ chuffin’ city this mornin’ tryin’ ter get ‘er some “ultra-tight, ultra-flared jeans”. O’ course, ah offered ter lend ‘er a nice pair o’ slackd – beige or navy – whichever she preferred but oh no, that weren’t good enough for ‘er. It ‘ad ter be t’ jeans – two sizes bigger than she normally (admits she) teks.

Luckily, she wasn’t speaking too often as I don’t think I would have found it so funny having to read like that for the whole book!

One slight negative feeling I do have of Trouble At Toff Towers is that there didn’t seem to be one definitive moment which changed the direction of the book (the moment where the drama increases at some point from the middle to the end). Yes there were lots of various ups and downs in ‘Ell’s life but I can’t single out one moment in the book where the plot peaked. It seemed to run at the same pace throughout which whilst not necessarily a bad thing, it does make it a bit difficult for me to pinpoint the reasons why I enjoyed Trouble At Toff Towers so much.

But it was a cheerful read – a book to pick up when you’re looking for something to lift your mood and make you smile. After all, there can’t be many people who want to read hard-hitting books one after another.

All in all, if you’re wanting a book dealing with serious issues and full of a complicated plot, you’re not going to find it here. But if you’re looking for a fun, light-hearted read, then picking up Trouble At Toff Towers and reading about the crazy life of an ex model is the best choice.


*The author sent me an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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