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451953,042 (3.76)3
While Rupert Campbell-Black teams up with other high flyers to win the franchise for a television station, he finds himself strangely attracted to an innocent young girl. Looking at the passions of life behind the television screen, this is another slice of Jilly Cooper's social innuendo.
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Rivals by Jilly Cooper


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Book Description: adapted from Amazon.ca
Into the cut-throat world of Corinium television comes Declan O'Hara, glamourous Irish mega-star, with his radiant wife, handsome son and ravishing teenage daughters. Living rather too closely across the valley is Rupert Campbell-Black, divorced and as dissolute as ever, and now the Tory Minister for Sport. Declan needs only a few days at Corinium to realize that the Managing Director, Lord Baddingham, is a crook who has recruited him merely to help retain the franchise for Corinium. Baddingham has also enticed Cameron Cook, a gorgeous but domineering woman executive, to produce Declan's programme. Declan and Cameron detest each other, provoking a storm of controversy into which Rupert plunges with his usual abandon. As a rival group emerges to pitch for the franchise, reputations ripen and decline, true love blossoms and burns, marriages are made and shattered … and the race is on to capture the Cotswold Crown.

My Review:
Jilly Cooper never fails to entertain: high-flung drama, sex, smut, betrayal – what’s not to love? It is a guilty pleasure of mine to escape into her novels, full of characters who are often stereotypical, but for whom I’m drawn to root nonetheless: case in point, the lecherous Rupert Campbell-Black. Enjoyed this drama about two rival groups bidding for a multi-million (billion?) pound television franchise. Somehow I expect real-life network bids are probably as double-crossing and back-stabbing as they are in the delightful world Cooper has created in Rivals. ( )
  lit_chick | Dec 20, 2015 |
The very best of Jilly's fiction IMO. A friend who's a connection of hers told me some of the best lines were overheard in real life by Jilly. You can tell she has a wonderful sense of humor and an insider's knowledge of the world she describes. The stories are completely (& deliciously) made up, but the world is real.

If you have a horribly long flight, this book is the perfect distraction. You'll be happily in Jilly's world instead of airplane hell. My copy's been across the Atlantic so many times it qualifies for frequent flyer miles.

BTW: this book stands on its own so you don't have to read Riders first, although you can. ( )
  rosemarybrown | Nov 25, 2012 |
Set in the rural area around the home of Rupert Campbell-Black, one of the show-jumping stars of Riders, this book eschews the world of horses and concentrates instead on the ins and outs of running and bidding for an ITV franchise. A cast of characters all falling into and out of bed with each other, with shifting loyalties. By and large most people turn out to be pretty nice really, and the nasty ones get their comeuppance. And it has a lovely happy ending of course, which yes, made me shed a tear or two despite having read it before. It's still trash, but it's readable trash. Though I must learn not to wince at the constant strings of women who would be prettier if they'd just lose some weight. ( )
  lnr_blair | Jul 7, 2009 |
In some ways this is very much more of the same from Jilly Cooper as Riders, but in general Cooper has tightened up her act. The writing is more snappy and less rambling, the characters seem more vivid and certain of them are far more likeable then in her first book.

The plot this time involves a large franchise battle between Corinium - the incumbent television company, led by Tony Baddingham - and Venturer, formed by a number of larger than life characters who have had various run-ins with Tony and wish to see his downfall.

As well as being reintroduced to Rupert Campbell-Black - who is far more loveable rogue this time than unprincipled bastard - we also meet the O'Hara family, including the divine Taggie who is destined to play a huge part in Rupert's life. Taggie is one of my very favourite characters of Cooper's and her union with Rupert is sweet and genuine.

As mentioned, Cooper's plot is less convoluted. Here there is the definite focus of the franchise battle, which drives the plot forward. There are innumerable cases of bed-hopping and wife swapping as each consortium attempts to plunge the other into controversy before the big meeting with the IBA.

Of course, there is a naughty fairytale element to the story - nice things happen to nice people(Taggie and Rupert) ; those who are conflicted and difficult learn how to become better people (Cameron Cook); while the bad guys are ousted (Tony). There is one person who is irredeemable in my eyes, and this is Maud O'Hara - she is selfish and shows both lack of judgement and bitter jealousy.

I also found myself annoyed with the plot device of young, precocious girl (in Riders, Fen and here, Caitlin) - I sense that Cooper is attempting to build a youthful version of herself into each of her stories. Finally, Cooper has the tendency to use words such as 'screamed' and 'yelled' in terms of conversations, which becomes jarring after a while.

Overall, Cooper is not breaking the mould here at all but she writes a fantastic and gripping story. ( )
  magemanda | May 23, 2009 |
A good introduction to Taggie's family it would have been nice to have heard more about them. ( )
  susanpenter | Apr 24, 2009 |
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To Annalise Kay who is as wise as she is good and beautiful
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Sitting in the Concorde departure lounge at Heathrow on a perfect blue June morning, Anthony, second Baron Baddingham, Chairman and Managing Director of Corinium Television, should have been perfectly happy.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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While Rupert Campbell-Black teams up with other high flyers to win the franchise for a television station, he finds himself strangely attracted to an innocent young girl. Looking at the passions of life behind the television screen, this is another slice of Jilly Cooper's social innuendo.

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