Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Cathy reviews What It Takes by Terry Tyler

Today’s book review comes from Team Member Cathy, she blogs at


Cathy chose to read and review What It Takes by Terry Tyler

What It Takes

Here is her review.

Book Blurb
“A tale of three sisters…
Karen Kavanagh has spent her life feeling like the runt of the family.
Her two elder sisters, domestic goddess Ava and salon owner Saskia, are mini versions of their mother, a gorgeous Danish beauty. Karen has inherited her father’s droopy, dull brown hair and long nose – pitted against two Scandinavian sauna babes, she feels like Cinderella in reverse.
Danny Alvarez doesn’t see her like that. He thinks she’s wonderful.
Lots of women want Danny, but Danny just wants Karen.
He pursues her with the devotion of a stalker – but she pushes him away. Then she realises what she’s done…”

Karen’s insecurity and self-doubt takes hold with a throw away comment by her mother when Karen was seven years old. It sticks with her and intensifies over the years, causing jealousy and resentment of her more glamorous sisters. Compared to them Karen feels less than. Not good enough. Unloveable. The sisters’ relationship can get very strained at times. Karen’s emotional baggage is deep-rooted and she has a tendency to be obsessive. She doesn’t really know what, or who, she wants. There’s an event (funny, sad but serious) in her youth that adds to her feelings of being unworthy.

“We always knew we were going to have trouble with my sister Karen. She was difficult even as a child.
Used to her sulks and tantrums we might have been, but we were still shocked by what she did to Gemma Franklin.”

This is a character driven story of real people in real relationships and circumstances, it could be any family in any street. Terry Tyler’s writing is very descriptive and detailed, it pulled me in from the start. The characters engender all the emotions, empathy, frustration, sadness, one would experience in such involved interactions. The portrayal of intricate and complex relationships are intriguing and very true to life. I couldn’t help but feel for Karen, and later Ava…..even though things aren’t exactly as they seem.

The story is skilfully told and works really well with the narrative initially in the first person from Ava’s point of view, then also from the perspective of several of the key characters which gives a different aspect on each personal approach to events. This in turn is an opportunity to get to know each well-defined individual more thoroughly.

The dynamics of the relationship between the sisters, their immediate circle of friends and co workers and the love and loss aspect gives the story more depth and makes it much more than a romantic novel. There are also dark undercurrents and some deviousness running through from an unexpected quarter that comes as a surprise. How far would someone go to have the person of their dreams?

I loved the very satisfying ending. Wonderful descriptions of Norfolk too, a place I haven’t visited…yet. This made me want to go.

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