Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Review: Cutting Loose by Nadine Dajani
Here is a summary of Cutting Loose from Nadine Dajani's website:
Meet three women who are as different as could be—at least that’s what they think—and the men who’ve turned their lives upside down as their paths collide in sizzling, sexy Miami. . . .
Ranya is a modern-day princess—brought up behind the gilded walls of Saudi Arabian high society and winner of the dream husband sweepstakes . . . until said husband turns out to be more interested in Paolo, the interior-decorator-cum-underwear-model, than in his virginal new wife.
Smart, independent, but painfully shy, Zahra has managed to escape her impoverished Palestinian roots to carve out a life of comfort. But she can’t reveal her secrets to the man she adores or shake off the fear that she doesn’t deserve any of it. Neither can she stop herself from thinking that if she holds on to anything—or anyone—too dearly, they will be taken away in the blink of a kohl-lined eye.
Rio has risen above the slums of her native Honduras—not to mention the jeers of her none too supportive family—to become editor in chief of Suéltate magazine, the hottest Latina-targeted glossy in town, and this in spite of Georges Mallouk, her clueless boss, and in spite of Rio’s affair with Georges’ delicious but despicable younger brother, Joe.
In this city of fast cars, sleek clubs, and unapologetic superficiality, Ranya, Zahra, and Rio wrestle with the ties that bind them to their difficult pasts, each wondering if she will ever manage to cut loose.
I think that the title of this book, Cutting Loose, was very appropriate as the story seemed very easy and carefree. This was a fast read but it was also very fun and refreshing to be immersed into the Miami clubs and social society. The story deals with three women all with different problems and at various points in their lives. Ranya is the pampered Arabian socialite, Rio the tough Latina magazine editor that worked hard to get to where she is today, and the talented Palestinian Zahra, who is very talented but can't seem to let go of her past mistakes.
The story opens with Ranya in London, who recently left her newly married husband because she learned that he was gay. Ranya came from a well-off family and her husband was prepared to offer her the same luxurious lifestyle. When she informs her family that she will not be returning to her husband they cut her off financially, leaving her to figure out how she will survive without their support.
As Ranya spends time in London she runs into the handsome Georges a couple of times and although she is married, there is an attraction between the two of them. Georges is an entrepreneur and has various businesses in the works and is always accompanied by Zahra, who heads his financial team. Ranya cannot figure out why Zahra seems to instantly dislike her since they hardly know each other, but this comes to light soon enough in the novel.
When Georges and Zahra complete their business in London, they return to the main office in Miami, Florida. This is where Rio enters the novel. Rio is the editor and chief of the Sueltate magazine that Georges owns. Rio works very hard at her job and she is good at it, and it also helps that she is having a passionate affair with her bosses playboy brother Joe. Rio may be tough on the outside, but there was a part on page 194 that revealed Rio's raw emotions as she was always trying to stay on top of her game:
I shake--with what? Rage? Fear? The contained fury of impotence? I don't know. It's all too much. Sometimes I just want to bury my head in my hands and cry at the hopelessness of it all. Then, a second or three later, I'm over it. Moving on with my life.
Ranya doesn't know where to turn for help so she finds herself at the door of the Sueltate magazine. Georges wants to help her and keep her around as long as possible so he asks Zahra if Ranya could stay with her and offers her a job at the magazine. Rio finds herself quite upset with the hiring of this new employee without any experience and struggles to think of projects to keep Ranya busy.
As the story goes on, all of these women find themselves dealing with new emotions that come into play with the changes that are thrown at them. You could definitely tell how their ethnic backgrounds influenced decisions that were made by these women. This is a fast paced story that will make a great beach read, as you are visualizing life in the fast lane in Miami. Nadine seems like such a fascinating and down-to-earth lady, she even sent me a hand written Thank You card for reviewing her book. Now this was sent from Grand Cayman, and I'm sure there are better things to do down there than send out Thank You cards! Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to review this book for you Nadine!
If you want to find out more about Nadine Dajani and her novels there is a great author interview over at Bookends. Nadine also has a very informative website here. So if you are ready to Cut Loose for the summer pick up her book-it's an enjoyable retreat from life. Stop back here in the next day or so if you are interested in winning a copy for yourself.