The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp by Sarra Manning

HarperCollins, September 2018


She was a sweet girl, but you got sick of sweet after a while; started to crave something tart, acidic…

It probably won’t surprise you from the title, but this is a modern retelling of ‘Vanity Fair’ and a rather excellent retelling it is, too. Fresh from the Big Brother house, Becky is keen to keep her star burning brightly, chasing riches, status and fame.

Of course, it is not only Becky who receives an updated storyline and the changes are genius - George a Tory MP, the Pitt Crawleys as an acting family (with the dowager aunt playing the part of, well, the dowager aunt on a fictionalised Downton Abbey) and Jos Sedley, quite hilariously, as a bulked up owner of a power balls company, which leads to many double entendres throughout. No one is safe from the cutting satire and, as with the original, Manning lets neither the characters nor society come off looking good.

Becky is the most deliciously unlikeable character or, rather, she should be seeing as she lies and schemes and flirts her way through the book to get what she wants, and is often quite cruel along the way. But, it is hard not to cheer for her and, in some ways, to like her. She is, at the very least, upfront about what she wants.

I am a sucker for a modern retelling, especially when it is done with a spirit of fun, and this is a very, very fun book.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided free of charge from the publisher for review purposes. This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click through and purchase something, I'll receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for reading and keeping Readers Gonna Read running!