“Did she really just say that? I am fifteen again, except the reality is I am experiencing full parental horror, aged twenty-five. I want to die.”
Life hasn’t quite worked out how Arielle Lockley imagined it would. Becoming the next Coco Chanel was always her childhood dream, but she’s spent the past four years living a dizzying whirl of glitzy parties, luxurious holidays and daily shopping sprees – all paid for by boyfriend Piers – and not doing anything to make her Coco dreams happen.
When the recession hits, it’s not just the economy that takes a tumble and Arielle finds herself living back with her parents, on bad terms with Piers, and having a CV that’s as welcome as a pair of knock-off Jimmy Choos. And maybe it’s the location, but she’s also finding unwelcome thoughts of her childhood sweetheart are popping into her head…
What’s a girl to do? Can Arielle figure out what it is she now wants to do with her life and move on, or will she be doomed to spend the rest of her life dwelling over her worst mistakes, stuck listening to her parents’ embarrassing dinner table talk each night?
4.5 / 5 Hearts
I’d like to thank Elle Field for sending me a copy Of Kept in return for an honest review.
Kept is the debut novel for Elle Field and I have to say, I was completely entranced by her book. Albeit, it took me a while to get into it, but when I did, I couldn’t put it down. I loved how Elle set the events of the story, letting us know what was happening before going back to explain how Arielle come to be in the position is in currently in.
I haven’t really read a romance book in a while; New Adult has taken over my life, so it was refreshing to read Kept, read the romance entwined within the book, instead of feeling my panicky self with all the angst that is wrapped up within NA. It was a breath of fresh air and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of Kept.
Ms Field has a way to keep you captivated, wanting to know more about Arielle’s life, wanting to know who she picks, how her life ended up that way and what she is going to do about it. You feel like you go on a journey with Arielle too, by the way she has so much drama and so much pain that she still has harboured inside from her younger years. She’s lost, she had dreams but she never pursued them. It’s a great chick-lit to read, you will laugh, tear up, root for Arielle, ponder over which guy she should be with all the while taking each step with her along the way.
We first see Arielle on the train. She has no money, no train ticket and just a weekend bag. She’s been kicked out of her house by her boyfriend Piers. She then takes us back to the beginning, how she met Piers, how they came to be, what shes been doing the past four years right up to that very moment on the train.
Throughout the book, you see the past and present of Arielle. How to came to where she is now, how it shaped her into someone she didn’t want to be. She had dreams, which took a backburner. She changed but now it’s all about getting her dreams back, she just needs to figure out what she wants to do, and how to go about it.
Piers, her boyfriend, dotted on Arielle but after a bad day, he loses it and kicks her ‘lazy’ ass out. The only place she has to go is her parents house and she doesn’t even want to step foot back in New Forest, it holds too many memories.
But after some guidance, from Piers, her parents and a special fairy godmother, she is trying to get her life back on track, trying to show everyone and herself she can pursue her dreams and make them a reality. Baring in mind she hits some bumps along the way, bumps from her past and it makes her head all fuzzy but in her heart, she knows the right guy is waiting for her, she just needs to sort herself out first.
So what does Arielle do? You’ll have to find out yourself.
I really loved the character of Arielle. Albeit she is a pain in the ass at the start and she is spoilt when you are taken back into the past four years of her relationship with Piers. She see that although she started off strong and spunky and independent when she first met Piers, over time she became a former figure of herself, spending Piers money, buying expensive clothes and holiday and not even bothering to thank him. This is the tipping point for Piers after a stressful day and he kicks her out. You see her vulnerable side break through, with no money, nowhere to really go and with no jobs under her belt, shes lost.
BUT over time, she begins to think about her future, having to work through her past and present, with some advice from her best friend Ob. She has to fight her past, working through her demons from her old teenager boyfriend Noah, who broke her heart. She goes on a journey, transforming herself into someone that everyone can be proud of. She overcomes her past, figures out her present and how to stand on her own two feet without anyone’s help and it made me so proud of her to do this, without anyone’s contributions. In the end she turns back into the independent woman that everyone knew she was, she just lost her way.
What can I say about Piers? I realllllly liked him. He is a gentleman, makes a lot of money and truly loved and cared for Arielle. How they met will have you giggling and what he says to her will make your heart melt. She really is everything to him and he just wants to care for her. BUT, and this is a big BUT, he is one of the reasons that Arielle has never worked during those four years. Because he tells her he will provide for her.
I’m kind of conflicted over him when he kicked her out, because it was his idea for her not to work (If I was told not to work, I would FIND work and not spend his money) and then he calls her selfish and lazy for not having a job. Bit hypercritical don’t you think? But then I can see his point of view, as she became selfish and ungrateful by his generosity. I don’t blame him for needing some time apart from Arielle. She wasn’t the girl he fell in love with.
Despite all this, he still loved her and wanted her back. The time did all the difference to him and to Arielle and he was always there to support her from afar. I think this is why I was rooting for him till the very end.
The supporting characters are brilliant. I completely loved Ob and I do hope that he will have his own book. I’d love for him to find love, seeing as he is married to his job. He made me laugh, he gave some good advice and you can always find him down the pub 😉 Even though he and Arielle haven’t talked for years, it was like they were never apart and that is why I love friendships like this. Arielle and Ob definitely are the best friends despite years apart.
I think my favourite scene is when Arielle is redesigning the shop. That is all I’m going to say but she proves her worth, proves she can do it and proves that with a bit of spunk you can achieve anything you put your mind to. This is one of the reasons I was so proud of her. She took something that was empty and transformed it into something that was popular around New Forest. It was something she loved and was good at. She found her worth.
Kept is a great chick-lit novel. You will be laughing, swooning, rooting for Arielle and end up so proud of her. It was refreshing to read something other than NA and if you need a book to get over the angst, then Kept is definitely the book for you. It has everything to keep you entertained and hooked and Elle Field, I will definitely be checking out more of your books when they are written!