All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Unsticky by Sarra Manning

on December 27, 2017

Sarra Manning
Headline Review
2009, 576p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:


Money makes the world go round – that’s what twenty-something Grace Reeves is learning. Stuck in a grind where everyone’s ahead apart from her, she’s partied out, disillusioned, and massively in debt. If she’s dumped by another rock-band wannabe, squashed by anyone else at her cut-throat fashion job, or chased by any more bailiffs, Grace suspects she’ll fall apart…


So when older, sexy and above all, wealthy art-dealer Vaughn appears, she’s intrigued against her will. Could she handle being a sugar daddy’s arm-candy?


Soon Grace is thrown into a world of money and privilege, at Vaughn’s beck and call in return for thousands of pounds in luxurious gifts, priceless clothes – and cash. She’s out of her depth. Where’s the line between acting the trophy girlfriend, and selling yourself for money? And, more importantly, whatever happened to love?

This is a very unusual book and I can definitely understand that it’s not for everyone. I first encountered Vaughn in the last book by Sarra Manning that I read, It Felt Like A Kiss. He was Ellie’s boss and a complete and utter dick. I was surprised when, looking at all the other Sarra Manning books that I’m yet to read, he seemed to appear as a main character in one. There were a few mixed reviews from people I know but I decided to give this a go because it seemed so interesting and different. Vaughn is a long way from a typical love interest – he’s older (41) and has a lot of control issues and wants very specific things. Grace is 23 so there’s a significant gap between the two of them that isn’t often genuinely explored in fiction. Mostly my experience with the older man – younger woman trope is in order to establish both as villains. The women are usually gold diggers or evil stepmothers, the men shallow and vain, desirous of a trophy wife.

Grace is dumped on her birthday in public the day she meets Vaughn. She’s definitely in a kind of vulnerable position and I think there are certain factors in her life that lead her to accept Vaughn’s offer, but the offer comes after a couple of key moments where she’s already attracted to him so I think she just considers Vaughn’s offer of financial compensation to be his ‘hostess’ as a kind of extra. Vaughn is very wealthy and Grace works as a struggling assistant at Skirt magazine with a diva boss and a crew who generally make fun of her low budget fashion. Grace is the sort of person who buries her head in the sand about pretty much everything and isn’t sure why her relationships don’t last beyond the three month mark.

Both Grace and Vaughn are well, no getting around it. They’re quite fucked up. Grace definitely has abandonment issues (and to be honest, not without reason) and she’s a doormat as well as chronically unable to face reality. Despite this though, she’s not particularly a romantic which is why I think she’s able to look objectively at Vaughn’s offer after they’ve interacted several times. Vaughn on the other hand…..yeah there’s probably not enough words for the amount of issues he has. He’s a control freak in all aspects of his life, a workaholic, incredibly rude and sarcastic, he is wealthy and in a position of power so he tends to tolerate no fools and gets his own way pretty much all of the time. Vaughn straddles a line but that was what I found interesting about him. I didn’t find him “swoonworthy” nor did I place myself in Grace’s position whilst reading this because I wouldn’t have lasted five minutes in a room with him. But I was really interested in what made him tick, the little glimpses of a different person, a person he doesn’t seem to show to many people. Vaughn reveals things about himself incredibly slowly and resentfully but those small admissions tell an awful lot when you add them up together. Grace doesn’t seem to see some of Vaughn’s vulnerabilities for a while – she’s dazzled by the events, his wealth, perhaps even that brusque and flat persona. Most of what they dig out about the other comes under duress or inebriation and there are regrets and embarrassment at showing these sides of themselves to another person.

I liked the idea that these two flawed people with such deep-seated issues could find each other in the most random of ways and make something work, grow together and become better for it. It wasn’t easy and Vaughn makes a lot of mistakes. Not going to deny that. Like I said, he straddles a line. Probably crosses it a few times. But that’s what people do. They make mistakes, they push each other’s buttons, they mess things up big time in order not to appear vulnerable in front of others. These are people in all their ugliness and pain and sometimes, that’s what I want. And so I continue on with my mission to read all of Sarra Mannings’ backlist as quickly as I possibly can.


Book #206 of 2017


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