Morgan Mandel continues to offer books that engage readers, with character development that delights and is easy to follow, and plots that twist and turn right up to the end of the story.
Girl of My Dreams is unlike Morgan Mandel's other novels ... a mystery, yes, but no one dies in this one. Instead, someone blossoms, from a nondescript but efficient administrative assistant to an eye-catching super model, surprisingly seductive as a contestant in a television production.
Her boss, the show's producer and director, is disappointed that he has lost her to the competition, and desperately tries to replace her with new assistants that cannot measure up to the job's demanding requirements, nor Jillian's quality. And Jillian, in her new identity as Veronica, struggles with the demands of a beauty queen's demanding role, trying desperately to lose the competition she slipped into to fill a last minute vacancy. Wishing only to return to her former, subdued, quiet life style, she instead finds herself the most likely winner, and suddenly the hunted prey of a jealous competitor.
The crazed contestant who knows Jillian's true identity provides the opportunity for the story to become a murder mystery. There is murder in Nadia's background, and she makes more than one spectacular, show-stopping attempt on Jillian's life.
The men in the story go through their own metamorphosis, and their personality fluctuations confuse and disappoint Jillian/Veronica. Both men have shallow parenting in their childhood memories, contributing to their success-driven lifestyles. Jillian's parents were lovingly devoted to each other, leaving her with a goal of establishing such a relationship in her own life.
Morgan has reached out of her comfort zone of murder mystery to write a humorous, fast paced parody of beauty contestant competitions, with all the bells and whistles, including settings in a European palace, a tropical island paradise, a fashion runway in Paris, dark alleys along a canal in Venice, a bikini-clad game of volleyball on the beach, and the dark back stage of a TV production.
Five stars for this engaging novel! And here are the links to my reviews of more Morgan Mandels books: