Priceless by Nicole Richie

Charlotte Williams is your typical socialite. She’s beautiful, sassy and wants for nothing. Her widowed father’s only child, she has been spoiled and money has been no object. Until her father is arrested on fraud charges and suddenly the FBI are seizing her home and freezing accounts and she’s left with not a penny to her name. Her father’s in jail, guilty of swindling people out of their savings, she’s essentially homeless, she’s being stalked by the paparazzi, her father’s victims and a faceless stalker who wishes her harm. New York is not the best place for her to be. Fleeing to New Orleans in the hopes of finding some annonimity, Charlotte is forced to fend for herself for the first time in her life – this means finding a job and a place to live all without using her Daddy’s reputation (which doesn’t amount to a lot) or her womanly wiles. Is she up to the challenge?
New Orleans is supposed to be her reprieve, a place she can start all over again where no one knows her name or rather where no one realises or even cares who she is but a sneaky reporter tracks her down and soon her very own personal stalker also knows her location and makes her the target of a hateful web campaign. She’s forced to retreat even further, moving from her waitress job to a greasy kitchen with French boys who are more concerned with whether she can wash a dish.

Turns out Charlotte has one last trick up her sleeve – the girl can sing, she can really hold a tune in that Norah Jones, bluesey way which the New Orleanians just adore. This talent may just be her meal ticket and with her latest love interest she may just be able to make a name for herself, a name which has nothing to do with Daddy and is all her own doing. Once the heady sensation of success hits will she leave behind the mere mortals and get back to her life of riches?

Charlotte has a naive vulnerability to her which is endearing. She has her bitchy moments but these are mainly reserved for the paparazzi and those so called friends who turn against her and provide the press with the

ammunition they need to print scandal about her sheltered life. Charlotte isn’t one of the rich looking down on the little people – she was raised by servants and they were her closest friends and confidantes.

Nicole Richie has spun a tale which may not be relatable to the average person but is certainly entertaining. The main character is likeable despite her spoiled upbringing and is difficult to dislike, she is no way one dimensional, she has flaws and hidden depths which is a refreshing break from stereo typical leading ladies. The one flaw with Charlotte is her life – even when desolute seemed a little charmed, things come easily to her. The characters in the supporting roles are quirky, loveable and funny – Nicole Richie made Charlotte’s father the villain but at the same time he is a good guy.

This is a good book to get lost in one afternoon while curled up with a cup of tea.

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