Tilly Bagshawe,
(Time Warner, 2005)

So many people are fascinated by celebrities. Look at all the gossip magazines and talk shows. America loves knowing all about the Hollywood elite. So, there should be a ready audience for Tilly Bagshawe's novel Adored about the wealthy, narcissistic, fictional McMahon clan.

The main character throughout most of the book is Siena McMahon. She was spoiled as a child by her grandfather, the legendary Duke McMahon. Duke, whom the world revolves around (or so he lives his life), is such a stud that he not only has a wife, but he openly has a mistress. In fact, she lives with the family, despite his wife and older children's protests. One of Duke's older children, Pete, is Siena's father, a hugely successful producer who attempts his own level of control over Siena. She rebels against him at a young age and, despite the prospect of being disowned, jumps into a highly successful career of modeling over higher education as her parents decreed. Ultimately, she pursues acting, hoping to win roles on her own abilities and not her family name.

What ensues is six CDs of people treating those around them like refuse. Sure, what goes around comes around and many of these characters get their comeuppance -- sometimes worse than they dished out. In short, when I started listening to the audiobook of Adored I was not sure what kind of person would be interested in this garbage!

And then I found out I was one of those people. It was not so much the story that drew me in. What made this audiobook for me was the reading by Sonya Walger. Sonya was born and raised in England, but has been in the U.S. acting in such shows as HBO's Mind of the Married Man and CBS's CSI: New York. Adored has characters from the U.S., the U.K., France and Spain. What immediately grabbed me was the way Sonya narrated in her English accent, but slipped seamlessly into an American accent for dialogue. She was very adept at it and I'm impressed that she did not stumble between accents. My favorite accent was when Sonya pretended to be an American mimicking a British accent. I am still chuckling just thinking back on it. Bravo, Sonya! Your performance was spot on!

Bagshawe is a freelance journalist, although she has spent time as a headhunter. While Adored is her first novel, she writes a lot for The Sunday Times and the Daily Mail, among others. She bounces back and forth between L.A. and London with her family, which might explain the continuous back-and-forth over the pond in the novel.

Readers who like peeking in at the lives of the dysfunctional "rich and famous" will love this novel. Most of the characters are despicable and sleazy. For those who enjoy audiobooks, the narration makes up for the subject if that is not your typical cup of tea. I honestly do not know how much I would have enjoyed this book if I had been reading it instead of listening to it. My guess, is not anywhere near as much.

by Wil Owen
24 March 2007

Buy it from Amazon.com.