Name: Fraud and Fabrication
Author: KD Forsman
Genre: Romance, Social Issues
For this week’s review, I am reading a review copy of Fraud and Fabrication, the debut novel of KD Foresman.
Fraud and Fabrication is written from the first person viewpoint of Cassandra Fox, a 24 year old young woman who has recently taken on a new job as secretary at Leighton Park Stud, a farm which buys and trains racehorses.
We quickly learn Cassandra is there to escape the fallout she has suffered from a failed relationship from a man named Simon, a high powered executive from Auckland who was initially a client for her old job but began a relationship with her until the contract ended and he returned to Auckland having dumped her.
Initially Cassandra has a strictly professional relationship with John Leighton, her boss and owner of the Stud. However she soon becomes involved in his personal life when we learn his girlfriend, a very young Australian model called Cheree, is an alcoholic. Cassandra also becomes involved with his oldest son, Geoff after he is called when John’s younger son injures a horse.
Geoff and Cassandra hit it off and their relationship blossoms with Cassandra seemingly living in a perfect world. However, the Leighton family have many dark secrets which threaten to blow Cassandra’s idyllic lifestyle wide open…
Fraud and Fabrication is a very good debut novel and a great introduction to the series.
The first thing that I think most readers will enjoy about the novel is the setting and plot is very unique. The novel is set in a horse racing stud and revolves around the world of horse racing which is quite unique and is a world which is rarely seen in fiction. The novel is well-researched and offers fantastic insight into this glamorous, money-spinning world.
Usually one of the things I rarely discuss in my blog is writing style as I tend to focus more on the story and characters than the actual writing. However, the writing in this novel is great with plenty of flair and wit as Foreman chooses to write from the perspective of a young woman so their are many humorous touches to entertain the reader (one example which stuck in my mind is a comparison Cassandra makes where she says two of the characters go together like Miley Cyrus and the Queen Mother). These touches make the novel really enjoyable.
The novel also has a lot of depth to the characters within the novel and the Leighton family are seemingly perfect – they are young, rich and beautiful but scratch under the surface and there is a very intriguing, complex and dysfunctional family who clearly wish to keep the pretence of perfection rather than reveal the reality underneath. In fact, the glamour of the world of horse racing and the Leighton family for me drew comparisons to the US soap opera Dallas – with a seemingly perfect family experiencing much deeper issues from their world of excess.
It is when the novel is showing the issues the Leighton Family experience where I feel it is strongest, with the character of Cassandra offering a comparison and a viewpoint on the issues around her – of which there are a lot including alcohol and substance abuse, affairs, dishonesty, wealth and the sense of entitlement from it.
However where I think the novel is weaker is in it’s more romantic places. For example the novel begins with Cassandra in a new job and the reason she is there is because of a man, she then subsequently meets the man of her dreams in Geoffrey Leighton. In part I found some of this to be a little cliched of the romantic genre as we have seen women in this situation in romantic fiction many a time before (the most famous character which draws comparisons for me is Bridget Jones). I also felt this drags down the character of Cassandra in some ways from being the voice of reason in the novel to your typical romantic lead – however the romantic aspects are consigned mostly to the start of the novel.
The other criticism I have is in some ways Cassandra appears quite contradictory. She is presented as a young independent woman but then the reason for her being at the stud is because of a man which points towards her being the opposite. Also in the earlier chapters Cassandra tells us with great glee how she investigated her predecessors work and found she had embezzled money out of the company.yet in most of the novel she turns a blind eye to practically all of the issues going on with the Leighton family. These slight contradictions, though only slight, could frustrate some readers with the novel.
Though I believe the novel is far stronger in showing the dark side of horse racing and wealth than it is as a romantic novel, it is a very good introduction to the series and a great debut novel.
Disagree with my review? Let me know in the comments below…