By: Sarah Rayner
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 2014
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: September 9, 2014
Sarah Rayner takes revenge to a whole new level in her latest novel, Getting Even.
Ivy and Orianna are the best of friends. They are Green Integrated’s dynamic duo at the prestigious London ad agency. Little did either know the fierce energies they brought to the table for That Sunshine Feeling campaign would be the beginning and unraveling of their friendship. It may be the last job they work together as a harmonious team. Orianna ignores the lessons learned from her last romantic involvement with a colleague and is drawn to dreamy and handsome head of production, Dan. She convinces herself that this time would be different. Ivy, on the other hand, has no intentions of telling anyone about her proclivities in the workplace; especially since both she and her extracurricular love interest at the firm are both married. Unbeknownst to all three, personal trainer Rob would be the link to the destruction of their once perfect little universes.
Convinced it is time to make their union known among office peers, Dan and Orianna come out. Sadly, Ivy was the one person Orianna wanted to break the news to first but trainer Rob beats her to the punch. It’s no secret Ivy is offended, but she manages to forgive Orianna for keeping such an important secret from her. With feelings mended and back to business as usual, life goes on at Green Integrated. What is completely unforgivable and certainly a permanent fracture on the two apparently inseparable workmates is when Ivy inadvertently learns that Creative Director Neil is leaving the firm and bestie Orianna has been graced with the coveted role of backfilling his lofty role. As far as Ivy is concerned, this is the last, deceitful straw she will be dealt. It’s game on and Ivy’s new mission in life is to do anything and everything in her power to bring down Orianna—no longer a friend, but most certainly a foe.
Sarah Rayner is specific with the development of each character’s persona (and as a group) which solidifies the tone of her story in the opening pages of Getting Even. Her winning formula of placing the focus on perfecting the ambiance of electrifying competitiveness among her characters is existent in the fast-past environment of an advertising agency. Her dialogue is crisp and believable and because of this, the reader is able to assume an immediate connection to the goings on in the plot. Ms. Rayner doesn’t over-embellish her scenes with unnecessary ‘telling.’ Rather, she plants sublime suggestions for the reader to willingly embrace which allows the reader to see the plot unfold while actively engaging in the story line. Ms. Rayner tempers the drama between the two main characters (Ivy and Orianna) which is a skill that makes the writing solid and the story believable. I personally have worked in a corporate environment for many years and could relate to the (sometimes) ‘bitchy’ competition between women who vie for that one role they both covet, but only one will receive. Indeed, when the challenge is on, women can be a force to reckon with. Ms. Raynor has done an excellent job of portraying this premise. I look forward to her next body of work.
Quill says: Getting Even is an engaging read of ‘be careful what you wish for’ with a whole lot of revenge sprinkled across its pages.