Martine McCutcheon’s The Mistress Shames Parodists
For reasons based in pride and a desire to showcase McCutcheon’s enviable talents, the publishers, Pan Macmillan, have published the book’s first chapter on the web:
Mandy loved her home in the basement of a grand stucco property in Queensgate, South Kensington. As she walked into the entrance she checked herself out in the mirror. She felt good, more confident than she had expected to at this turning point in her life. She reached for her lip brush and added one final coat of luscious gloss. She cleaned any remaining stains off her teeth with her tongue and smiled at herself in the mirror. Her hair was dark as ebony and it fell in shiny waves over her shoulders; her skin was flawless, even and gleaming, her long dark lashes framing her beautiful big brown eyes perfectly. Her lower lip was fuller than the top and when she smiled she lit up the room. She grabbed her keys and her clutch bag and quickly squirted some perfume.
And not just any perfume. Martine’s heroine – can you guess who she’s modelled on? – is less a work of fiction than women in search of a brand:
She grabbed her slightly sodden copy of Grazia again and headed out of her heavy black door, pulling it shut by its knocker.
‘Ready, darlin’?’ said the cabby with a twinkle in his eye – he clearly found Mandy attractive.
He was a sweet, cheeky chappie in his thirties with cute dimples – a typical black-cab driver in his Ralph Lauren jumper with polo-shirt collar poking up from underneath.
Not ‘alf bad, Mandy. But not as attractive as attractive Mandy finds attractive London, attractively:
God, she loved London. Even in the rain, she found it romantic. As they drove past the Natural History Museum, Harrods and one of her favourite hotels, the Lanesborough at Hyde Park Corner, the old streetlights glowed a deep orange and fairy lights twinkled in the trees, building up the momentum for Christmas… London was such a fast place, full of different nationalities, different religions. On a bad day it could feel suffocating, but generally it felt to Mandy like the most exhilarating city in the world, with the speed of New York but the history of a Paris or a Rome. If you went for it, truly went for it, you could get the life you wanted here, and that was Mandy’s aim – to have it all. And why not? She’d read a greeting on a card once in Paperchase on the King’s Road that had truly stuck with her:
Reach for the moon, and even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
She loved it and used it as a mental pick-me-up whenever she felt low.
And that’s just the opening to the first chapter. If anyone would like us to get a copy of the book and appraise in full – chapter by chapter – do let us know.
Martine McCutcheon’s Diary Of A Mandy is available for your enjoyment…
Spotter: Marina Hyde