It is hard to describe how much I adored Cleo Spender, the fictional seventy-something A-List socialite and former TV superstar, who is one of the main (and certainly most delightful) characters in Louise Fennell's debut novel, Dead Rich. Impossibly glamorous and equally beautiful, Cleo has decided to grow old deliciously and perhaps my favourite scene in the entire novel was when she is off filming on the slopes of Kathmandu, where "bathed in the golden light of dusk Cleo looked extraordinary, like the sphinx, beautiful and darkly mysterious".
Dead Rich, published this year by Bedford Square Books and now available through Simon & Schuster, is the story of the Spender family, "glamorous, rich and very, very famous." In Louise Fennell's novel, they're modern Britain's ultimate celebrities, easily dominating the pap-filled, champagne-fuelled world of the tabloids, as well as the older world of London high society. The Spenders are basically like a cross between the Kardashians and the Mitfords and Dead Rich is therefore a warts-and-all expose of what life for today's super-wealthy and super-famous can be. From the loathsomely self-obsessed Valentine Robinson to the aforementioned Cleo, who is relentless in her fabulousness, Dead Rich is packed full of brilliantly improbable yet thoroughly believable characters, from bed-hopping lotharios to bisexual property empire heirs and the spoiled uber-brats of celebrity parents. Clever, naughty, honest, camp and very, very funny, Dead Rich had me laughing out loud and hoping that it'll make the transition to the Silver Screen very soon!