“Meet Charlotte Williams…
Rich, gorgeous, blonde and a talented singer, she has everything going for her. Spoiled and indulged, her life has always revolved around fashion, gossip, partying and men.
When Charlotte’s father – her only family since her mother’s tragic death years ago – is arrested on fraud charges, her glittering world shatters around her. Alone and penniless, she must make her own way for the very first time.
Harassed by paparazzi and the outraged victims of her father’s crimes, Charlotte flees to New Orleans to escape the scandal. But what happens when a Park Avenue Princess is forced to fend for herself? How will she adapt to the Big Easy’s bohemian lifestyle? And in the face of anonymous death threats, can she keep herself out of danger?
From the stylish avenues of Manhattan and dark clubs of the French Quarter to the bright lights of Los Angeles, Nicole Richie’s scintillating tale shows that the very life you run from is the one that won’t let you hide”
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about celebrities becoming authors and using ghostwriters. Overall, I wasn’t too thrilled by the idea but when the chance came along to read Nicole Richie’s second novel, Priceless, I was quite prepared to say ‘hey, maybe I don’t like the idea of celebrities writing books, but this one was really good, so they’re not all a bad idea’. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Priceless centres on Charlotte Williams – a young New York socialite, as she deals with the arrest of her beloved, workaholic father for fraud and embezzling millions of dollars. As her bank accounts are frozen and she herself comes under suspicion for involvement, she must face the world without support and without her millions.
As she leaves her father’s disgruntled clients and the paparazzi behind in the city, she seeks refuge in New Orleans with her former Nanny, Miss Millie. She soon discovers a new way of life and even a way to face the scandals that mar her every move.
The set up of this story had the potential to be quite interesting – to see how a rich, spoilt girl deals with suddenly being penniless and homeless, however the plot was lacking in its execution. From being cliché to predictable, the book often read like a cheesy midday movie. Though I can’t say I was completely bored, I wasn’t exactly thrilled either. At least half way through the book I knew how it would all turn out and what the ‘twist’ would be, but kept going just to see if I was right. I was.
Then there’s Charlotte herself. I found her very hard to relate to and could barely sympathize with her situation. You can hardly say she fell from grace, as her life was one big scandal even before her father’s arrest. Charlotte had just arrived back from a year studying in France after burning down one of the buildings at Yale the year before in a fit of jealous rage (as you do). That, along with a name for being one of New York’s party girls with a string of former boyfriends, Charlotte’s reputation wasn’t exactly squeaky clean.
Once she arrives in New Orleans and things seem to fall into place for Charlotte in a matter of hours. She already has a job, new best bud, a potential singing career and not one but two men vying for her affection. The way things fall so into place for Charlotte made it very difficult to ever feel sorry for her despite the reasons that brought her to New Orleans to begin with – a lot of the times she came off as superficial, self centered and played the weak, teary eyed damsel in distress often.
The men in this story were a bit hopless when it came to Charlotte. Their attitude was something like this –
Men in the book: Oh Charlotte you are so attractive, and talented, and beautiful. Although I shouldn’t like you, I’m apparently blind to your flaws and find it very difficult to stop myself from pulling you close and having my way with you. Right now.
Priceless attempted to emphasize Charlotte’s social status by being pretentious and name dropping designer outfits at regular intervals, the clothesgasms were actually pretty annoying – Chanel! Lacroix! ZOMG VINTAGE ARMANI!
I’ve read quite a few books based on New York socialites (and –love- watching Gossip Girl) but I never felt annoyed by them the way I did with Charlotte (except for Serena, she’s annoying, but that’s because she makes dumb choices. She’s still cool though…but I digress).
Priceless is an easy read with some witty dialogue that I’m sure some people will enjoy reading, but it doesn’t come with my recommendation.
Dear Nicole Richie,
You have a cool sense of style and your accessories line is quite nice. Please stick to that.
Publication Date: September 2010
Teaser Quote: “That’s very noble of you.” Charlotte wasn’t in the mood to be made fun of.
He raised his eyebrows. “It’s called supporting the community. Google it.”
“I already did. Right after I Googled ‘superiority complex.’”