Over the Edge by Suzanne Carroll
Paperback published 9th May, 2013 by The Writer’s Coffee Shop
I received this novel from Net Galley and my thanks go to the publisher and Net galley for allowing me the chance to read it and review.
Over the Edge is a humours, laugh out loud, feel good back that leaves you feeling warm and as though you’ve just caught up with an old friend. It’s the perfect blend of light entertainment mixed with the more complex issue of what it takes to find oneself and how to remain true to who you really are in the process.
Over the Edge is a romantic tale set around the character of Zoe Harper. We are first introduced to Zoe’s character during a pre-wedding meltdown that explodes into something so much bigger. From the very beginning I was intrigued by her, and the people in her life for everyone seemed to be widely different to herself, including her at-the-time fiancée Dan Costi.
Having survived the meltdown and the resulting fall-out with Dan, Zoe sets out to find herself. With no place to stay, an office filled with garbage bags full of her worldly possessions and the mother-in-law from hell still on the scene, Zoe has not idea how she’s going to get through everything that’s just happened. Egged on by an over zealous work colleague Zoe unwillingly looks into self-help methods of ‘coping’ with a break up and ends up searching out quick fixes for all aspects of her life – housing, career, travel, physical changes including a tattoo. Throughout all of her attempts to re-invent herself, the last thing Zoe expected was to find love again, especially not so soon. Cue Angus Creed, Creed Corporations CEO, return to the Sydney offices, an outback adventure or two, dancing lessons and that’s exactly what she finds. But is Zoe ready to take the leap of faith again so soon? And can she over come her self doubts and limitations after living under Dan’s thumb for two plus years? And will her drastic measures prove successful or will they simply add more pain and drama into her already packed life?
For the most part I could not put this novel down. I read it night and day (and on two memorable occasions while brushing my teeth!); whenever I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about it.It made me smile like an idiot and laugh out loud (literally!) on the train more than once! And that’s rare in a novel these days.
From the outset of the novel’s opening I was drawn to Zoe’s character and her plight. A point made even more intriguing and addictive when Zoe started to make all this spare of the minute decisions that you knew where going to end badly. Her attempts at reinventing herself with generic methods not catered to her own personality were both amusing and frustrating at the same time so much so that for a couple of minutes I wanted to yell at Zoe to snap out of it and get her s**t together. Not so much because she annoyed me, but rather because the choices she was making were leading her down the obvious car crash route. Naturally this meant I couldn’t look away. I didn’t want too.
Angus Creed was a breath of fresh air as far as leading male characters go. He was firm in what he wanted (like you would expect for an CEO), but he had this other side, this softer side that Carroll really brought to life. One minute he’s yelling on the phone to ‘Nick’ about the death toll being too high, then next he is slow dancing in his office trying to teach himself the waltz. Throughout her dealings with Angus, it’s obvious that Carroll went to great pains to avoid obvious stereotypes and archetypes, while also staying true to the character. What’s even more refreshing about Angus as a character however is the move against the over done ‘bad’ guy act. He is simply the boss, a self made multi-millionaire who demands the respect he deserves and looks after those who look after him.
All that said, I’m in two minds about Angus’ representation in the narrative as a whole. On one hand I would have liked to have seen him make a bit more of an effort in the book, and yet on the other I love the sparse glimpses we get off him at the beginning and I understand that the focus is mainly on Zoe Harper and her experience along the way. What I did love about him, was the way in which Carroll showed his two sides so fluently and the essence she captured in both halves of him -. i.e. his very public business persona against his rather private inner self. The treatment of Angus as a character in this way helped to both develop Zoe’s interest in him, but also to round him out as a character. For Angus is neither the partying, arrogant CEO type of many romance novels who must change in some form to be with the woman of his dreams, rather he is who is, nor is he some unbelievable saint like character that can only exist in books. A point I think that Angus highlights here, is that Neither of our characters are forced to sacrifice any piece of themselves to make their relationship work and nor do they have to undergo any drastic change, rather the story focus on the concept of letting go and allowing yourself to love again, to fall head long into that endless abyss with no idea of where you might touch down or whether you might get hurt or not.
As far as the whole romance side of the book goes, Over the Edge is a sweet contemporary romance book that takes it time to develop and nurture the characters and their relationships before rushing in to anything; so if your looking for something hot and steamy and full on, this probably isn’t the book for you. In fact for the duration of the book, I think there is only really one scene that you could really count as ‘date like’ (two if you include the end) in where the two main characters are having dinner after rescuing the dogs and a broken magazine rack. While that may not sound very romantic or conclusive to a good romance book, there’s something to be said for Carroll’s writing in the way the she slowly brings our two characters together, taking the time to nurture their feelings and growth as characters and thus creating a very realistic relationship that progresses naturally despite the humorous hiccups along the way. In fact the dinner and beach scene is an extremely powerful and pivotal scene for our characters and their story, and I can not stress how romantic and and well it all flows when pitched against a busy lifestyle and the growing tension between our characters. Not to mention how well Carroll has resisted the urge not to forsake each character’s sense of self for the sake of the plot and pacing of the book in turn.
Over the Edge is a stunning debut but an author I will be sure to keep an eye out for in the future. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something a bit light, but entertaining. It’s the perfect feel good novel when you are looking for something to read while you snuggle up with your doona this winter, or lazing about on the beach in Summer.
This book was read as part of my Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2013 and counts as well towards my Romance Appreciation Challenge 2013
For more information of the novel or the author check out my guest post that was posted earlier today and or the authors website, GoodReads page. To purchase your own copy of this novel head on over to the Writer’s Coffee Shop to grab a copy.