#BlogTour #Review ~ Brake Failure by Alison Brodie #Giveaway

Brake Failure is a contemporary romance with humour, suspense and a kick-ass heroine.  The story is set in one of the most fascinating periods of America’s history:  the months leading up to Y2K “melt-down.”
“Is it too late to tell him you love him when you’re looking down the barrel of his gun?”
Ruby Mortimer-Smyth is an English debutante, destined for Ladies Day at Ascot and taking tea at The Savoy. She knows the etiquette for every occasion and her soufflés NEVER collapse.
She is in control of her life, tightly in control.  Until fate dumps her down in … Kansas.
Ruby believes that life is like a car; common-sense keeps it on the road, passion sends it into a ditch. What she doesn’t know is, she’s on a collision course with Sheriff Hank Gephart.

Sheriff Hank Gephart can judge a person.  Miss Mortimer-Smyth might act like the Duchess of England but just under the surface there’s something bubbling, ready to explode.  She’s reckless, and she’s heading for brake failure.  And he’s not thinking about her car.

With the Millennium approaching, Ruby gets caught up in the Y2K hysteria.  She joins a group of Survivalists, who give her a gun and advise her to stockpile basic essentials, such as gasoline and water-purifying tablets.  So she bulk-buys Perrier, Gentleman’s Relish and macaroons.
Ruby, far from home, is making Unsuitable Friends and “finding herself” for the first time.  She falls in with a gang of Hells Angels and falls foul of the law.  At every turn, she comes up hard against Sheriff Hank Gephart, whose blue eyes seem to look deep into her soul.  She desperately wants him but knows she can never have him.
She’s angry at the emotions he arouses in her.  Pushed to her limit, she bursts from her emotional straightjacket.

As the clock strikes midnight of the new Millennium, she’s on a freight train with three million dollars, a bottle of Wild Turkey and a smoking gun.
What happened to Miss Prim-and-Proper?   And why did she shoot Mr Right?

Note:  Alison Brodie wrote this story from first-hand experience.  She lived in Kansas during this time and was stunned by the hysteria, unnerved that the US government was spending $150 billion preparing for Armageddon.  As Lionel Shriver says in her novel, We Have To Talk About Kevin:  “1999, a year widely mooted beforehand as the end of the world.”

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About the Author

Alison Brodie is a Scot, with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side. Alison was a photographic model for a wide range of products, such as Ducatti motorbikes and 7Up. She was also the vampire in the Schweppes commercial.

A disastrous modelling assignment in the Scottish Highlands gave Alison an idea for her first romance novel, Face to Face. It was taken up by Dinah Wiener, the first agent Alison sent it to. Three weeks later, Alison signed a two-book deal with Hodder & Stoughton. Subsequently, Face to Face was published in English, German and Dutch. “Vain, but wildly funny leading lady.” -Scottish Daily Mail. It was also chosen as Good Housekeeping’s “Pick of the Paperbacks.”

Unfortunately, Alison then suffered from Second-Book Syndrome. The publisher’s deadline loomed but Alison couldn’t think of a story! She found the whole experience a nightmare; and this is why she cautions first-time authors not to sign a multi-book deal unless they are prepared!
Alison lived in Kansas for two years. She loved the people, their friendliness, the history and the BBQs! Now, she lives in Biarritz, France with her rescue mutt, Bayley.

Alison’s previous release, THE DOUBLE, was published to rave reviews:

“Proof of her genius in writing fiction … Excellent.” – San Francisco Book Review.

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My Review

So with a name like Ruby Mortimer-Smyth you’d expect a high class upstart wouldn’t you! Ruby is one of those awesome British characters who displays one image yet is so quirky, bizarre and reckless you can’t help but be intrigued with what might lie beneath.

She was abandoned by her mother, grew up with a stepmother and stepsister who she was in competition with from the age of eight .. little Miss Perfect (the role her mama bestowed on her) kinda missed the instruction memo on how to behave lol.

Ruby is a total hypochondriac, married to Edward for status rather than love it seems. Desperate for him to get the job in Paris so her oneup-manship over her sister can be gloated upon … all appears to be going well until in fact Ruby and Edward locate to Kansas!! OMG she couldn’t believe it, how embarrassing. The locals all thought she had insider knowledge on the queen .. they certainly weren’t the sort she could possibly be friends with or could she?

Yet from the outset she tangles with Sheriff Hank Gephart and he ignites her rebellious nature. Hank tolerates an awful lot from Ruby and the sexual tension is obvious. But Ruby refuses to consider being nice to a country hick like him especially when she spots Payat, an Indian chief who works with her hubby. She idolises his desirable attributes and plans a future on the reservation, as if living in a wigwam is any better than Kansas!

Ruby is very much a lady of two souls, at times I felt for her and wanted to give her a hug, other moments I was screeching at her stupidity.

This story is set in the lead up to the year 2000 and the events that happen on NYE .. it then time-slips to tell Ruby and Hank’s life until a conclusion is reached. When there is a bank robbery and a shooting involved you know it won’t be a straightforward love story, this is uniquely different, rom-com at it’s best with a sneaky twist.

When I first started reading I was a little confused with the way time jumped back/forth and found it a bit disconcerting until I got into the swing of it (in fact the author explained all the pieces are like a jigsaw until it all falls into place and that suddenly clicked in my mind) once I was in I was hooked. 

A rip roaring, rollercoaster ride of humour and disbelief at some of Ruby’s antics. By the end I was willing her to behave and let life slow to a ‘normal’ pace so she could catch up. A fabulous bunch of characters, I just loved the interactions between Ruby and her newfound friends. And if you don’t grin at the Mr. Frosty incident then you obviously have never had noisy neighbours!

Attach your seatbelt and take the ride of your life .. you won’t regret it. Brilliantly written and thoroughly enjoyed.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book, thanks to Alison and Neverland Blog Tours . I don’t hesitate to give it 5 sparkly stars.

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2 thoughts on “#BlogTour #Review ~ Brake Failure by Alison Brodie #Giveaway

  1. Thank you, Ali, for this incisive review of my novel, Brake Failure. I am so thrilled you enjoyed it so much – I truly am. I can’t wait for you to read my next one! Alison xx

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