Book Review: Piece of My Heart by Penelope Tree

If I’m picking up a book you can pretty much guarantee that it will be a thriller. However I love high fashion and I have to say I was intrigued by the semi-autobiographical nature of Piece of My Heart.

I devoured the book in no time at all and found myself wondering who each character was based on – it’s not hard to guess who Ramsey is. This first novel from iconic 60’s model Penelope Tree tells the story of Ariadne (Ari), a young women who was trapped between the suffocation of English boarding school and a chaotic home dominated by her eccentric, wealthy, and politically powerful mother. She rises to the top of the modelling world after being discovered by Bill Ramsey – the notorious bad boy photographer of the Swinging Sixties.

Fame. Money. Sex. Ari wants them all. And as the face of the 1960s they are hers for the taking. But how much is she willing to sacrifice to get them?

The novel explores, with brutal honesty, issues around eating disorders, drug addiction and unhealthy relationships, as well as the damaging and dizzying impact of sudden fame, and shares the inside scoop on ‘60s fashion and high society for the first time. Ari’s life is completely transformed, spinning out of control as she experiences everything from photoshoots and parties, to drugs and an increasingly dysfunctional relationship. Following a photoshoot in Nepal, Ari contemplates how her life has turned out. Was it all worth it?

Penelope Tree says:

Piece of My Heart is a novel about the trouble with appearances. Born into a world of great privilege, my protagonist Ari becomes a top model in the 1960’s and the lover of a well-known photographer. Several years later, extreme circumstances compel her to look for a life that doesn’t depend on wealth, image or the man she loves.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and find it hard to believe that it is Penelope’s first. She paints a picture so vividly in your mind that you feel you are there watching Ari’s life unfold before you. I was completely absorbed, wanting to see how her life panned out. Whether you are interested in fashion, high society, fame or the 60’s, this book is for you. It’s a real page turner!

Piece of my Heart by Penelope Tree is available from 23rd May, published by Moonflower Books.

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