Originally published: 20 August 2018
Author: Sarra Manning
Published by: HarperCollins
Length: 386 pages
Reading dates: 23 September – 3 October 2018
Star Rating: 4/5
The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp is a contemporary retelling of Vanity Fair, which unfortunately I haven’t read and am not the slightest bit familiar with which is a real shame as I’d love to be able to compare them!
Becky Sharp is an orphan, “cared” for since her parents’ death by her father’s old drinking buddy, Barbara Pinkerton who is also an agent. The book starts with Becky in the final two of the Big Brother house, alongside privileged bankers daughter, Amelia Sedley. On leaving the house, she spends some time living with Amelia and her parents before outstaying her welcome and being packed off to be the nanny for the 5 children of legendary, lecherous old actor Pitt Crawley. Soon, she befriends Pitt’s sister Matilda Crawley, becomes her carer and friend before wooing and marrying her nephew and Pitt’s son, Rawdon.
Becky has big dreams – she wants to be rich and famous and doesn’t care who she uses to get there. She makes use of her connections, her beauty and her complete lack of any morals to get exactly what she wants and doesn’t truly care about anyone.
I love how completely out for herself Becky is. She steals and lies and is pretty horrible to everyone she meets but for some reason I really warmed to her and was cheering her on! I’ve had a quick look at the story of Vanity Fair and the characters all have the same names and the plot is similar but told in the present day instead of during the Napoleonic Wars. Rawdon is a cavalry officer instead of an actor (but is still a gambler); Jos Sedley made his fortune as a collector in India while in this book he has made his fortune selling protein balls (“How are your balls, Jos?”)
Becky finds fame in her own right as an Instagram star and although she receives plenty of knockbacks, she always lands on her feet. This is a fun and light-hearted read – Becky is the anti-heroine whom I’m sure plenty of people would aspire to!
Funny and clever, I really enjoyed this – a real breath of fresh air!
Thank you to Harper Fiction for my copy, along with the nail varnish and chocolate!
About the author:
Sarra Manning is an English writer. She attended the University of Sussex and took up an English with Media Studies degree. She became a freelance writer after submitting her work to Melody Maker. She worked as the entertainment editor for five years of the now-defunct teen magazine J-17. Manning was the editor of Elle Girl (UK edition), then re-launched What To Wear magazine for the BBC and has worked on UK magazines such as Bliss and The Face. She’s contributed to ELLE, Seventeen, The Guardian and Details and is a contributing editor to ELLE UK and writes regularly for Grazia, Red and Stella, as well as consulting for a number of British magazine publishers. She has been dubbed the “teen queen extraordinaire” following the release of her hit teen fiction book Guitar Girl, and the popular Diary of a Crush trilogy.