Book review: To Touch the Stars by Jessica Ruston

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Renowned for their style, glamour and sophistication, Cavalley’s makes the most luxurious hats in the world.

Every woman dreams of topping off her outfit with one of Violet Cavalley’s fabulous creations...but only fashion icons and film stars can afford them.

Violet has poured her heart and soul into building her multi-million pound London business and raising her three children.

She’s talented, she’s beautiful, everything she touches turns to gold and her 60th birthday party is going to be a day of glorious celebration.

Or is it?

Daughter of novelist Susan Hill and Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells, Jessica Ruston’s second novel, a fabulous follow-up to her glitzy debut Luxury, delivers the same addictive brand of glamour, excitement, intrigue and sheer readability.

To Touch the Stars is a voyage of discovery, a journey into the heart of one woman’s dark past while opening a revealing and fascinating window onto the lavish world of high-class hat design.

Violet is preparing for her much-heralded party at her beautiful villa on the island of Capri surrounded by her sons Blue and Flip and daughter Frangipani. Also at her side are the two other people closest to her, partner Patrick and Kalisto, the man who has been like a brother.

After welcoming her 60 guests, one for each year of her life, a new and uninvited visitor appears...and blows apart the world she has so carefully fashioned.

To understand the dark secrets being unravelled, we travel back to the hardships of Violet’s miserable childhood, her struggles as a single mother and all the devastating losses she has had to endure.

We witness the blood, sweat and tears that went into building one of the world’s most valuable brand names from nothing and watch it become as much a part of Violet as her own skin.

She loves the company as fiercely as her three children and, dogged by the ill luck that has overshadowed her life, she now faces the prospect of dividing up her empire and bestowing on one of them the heavy burden of inheriting the business.

What she didn’t expect was that the ‘curse’ behind the Cavalley family’s gilded façade would come back to haunt her in such a devastating way.

Ruston presents the drama of Violet’s life and loves whilst also introducing the parallel and equally tempestuous stories of her three very different children.

Stylish and entertaining, To Touch the Stars is the perfect book for girls who just want to escape.

(Headline Review, paperback, £6.99)