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Reviewed by Katherine Williams for Readers' Favorite
Styling Wellywood by Kate O’Keeffe is a classic chick lit novel, the first in its series. After spending four years in London, Jessica never even thought of returning home. She loves the glamour that comes with being in England, and she vows she wouldn’t trade it for the world. But due to the fact that her visa expired, she must move back into her childhood home with her mother in Wellington, New Zealand. When she returns home, the only thing Jessica has to look forward to is her new business. She partners up with her best friend Morgan and together they create their own personal stylist brand. Jessica is set on bringing the glitz and glam that London has to offer straight into Wellington. Although Jessica seems occupied by her new job, she also unknowingly has to face unresolved problems that she left behind many years ago. These problems include her high school enemy, her complicated feelings for her best mate, Ben, and her relationships with some of her dearest friends. Most importantly, she must address the dark past that she desperately has been trying to ignore for a long time. Will Jessica be able to successfully run a stylist company, overcome her struggles, and face her true feelings? In the end, will she be able to move on from her past and start to live life normally again? Or will she continue to distract herself with glamour, mojitos, and even a promising, hunky tennis instructor?
I haven’t felt this passionate about a book in a long time. Styling Wellywood is a fast, fun and light read, but also successfully tackles real life issues with a certain type of benevolence. O’Keeffe is a very gifted writer as she uses her characters and setting to full advantage. New Zealand locals will love this book as the country is depicted beautifully. O’Keeffe manages to include accurate mannerisms as well as eye-catching descriptions of imagery in Wellington. She also creates very rounded, complicated and relatable characters. Every single one of Jessica’s friends reminded me of someone I know in real life. Even Jessica’s parents made an impression on me, as I felt like I had met them before. But most importantly while reading this novel, I found myself yelling at Jessica for her mistakes, crying along with her due to her misfortunes, and cheering her on as she fought for a couple of major victories in her life. She acquires strong traits that reminded me of many women in my life. At times I even felt like she and I have had similar feelings towards love. But don’t get me wrong, at first Jessica seems shallow and unimpressed by most things. Through involvement with her hometown and the people she loves, she develops and turns into a caring and level-headed young lady.
Including the great characters, setting and much more, I guarantee that you will quickly fall in love with the wit, charm and humor that this story has to offer. I know I did. Overall, I found Styling Wellywood to be a delightful, well written masterpiece and suggest that chick lit lovers read it immediately. I cannot wait to read more of O’Keeffe’s future work, as I am confident that she will not disappoint. A job well done.