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4.3 51
by Tilly Bagshawe

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To the outside world, Siena McMahon has a fairy-tale life. Born into a great Hollywood dynasty-granddaughter of movie legend Duke McMahon, daughter of billionaire producer Pete McMahon-she is blessed with beauty, brains, and wealth...a proverbial princess. Yet behind the wrought-iron gates of the sprawling McMahon mansion in Hancock Park, her life is far from


To the outside world, Siena McMahon has a fairy-tale life. Born into a great Hollywood dynasty-granddaughter of movie legend Duke McMahon, daughter of billionaire producer Pete McMahon-she is blessed with beauty, brains, and wealth...a proverbial princess. Yet behind the wrought-iron gates of the sprawling McMahon mansion in Hancock Park, her life is far from idyllic. The McMahons are bound together not by love but by infighting and ambition. When a gold-digging English aristocrat, Caroline Berkeley, worms her way into their lives and their home, the family's potent mix of jealousy and wealth explodes. Packed off to school in England, Siena starts making plans to leave the moment she arrives. She is determined to become a Hollywood star in her own right-just as her grandfather had said she would be. And once back in L.A., the rejections, betrayals, and failures she'll face will only make her stronger and tougher than ever before. But at what price? In the utterly dysfunctional landscape of her life-among friends, lovers, and family-she must find the people who will help her survive, help her become the person she was meant to be, help her be truly Adored. Set in the most glamorous cities of the world-L.A., London, Paris, and New York-Tilly Bagshawe's debut novel is like the real-world Hollywood it mirrors: deliciously escapist, wickedly sexy, and always irresistibly compelling.

Editorial Reviews

Sienna McMahon was born into glamour. The granddaughter of film legend (and ogre) Duke McMahon, she grows up amid Hollywood scandal and opulence. Determined to forge her own identity, she becomes first a successful supermodel, then an actress; but unhappiness and tragedy keep breaking through. Then, in the time-honored tradition of Jackie Collins and Danielle Steel, the love of a good man brings her happiness and fulfillment.
Publishers Weekly
With only one previous audiobook under her belt (Bergdorf Blondes, Hyperion Audio), Walger's sensational narration of Bagshawe's deliciously sinful novel proves she's a budding audio star. Walger (who appears on TV's CSI: NY) throws herself into this adaptation with giddy abandon and palpable enthusiasm. Narrating most of the book with her crisp, confident British accent, she effortless slips into American characters, giving each an individual cadence and personality. Bagshawe's decades-spanning Hollywood tale of glamour, greed, lust and revenge will remind listeners of the sweeping, high-caloric sagas by Jacqueline Susann or Lynda LaPlante. Like those two authors, Bagshawe excels at creating characters who are borderline unsympathetic but always compelling. While the big, juicy beach novel has been trimmed a bit, Jessica Kaye's excellent abridgment keeps the various story lines coherent while never slowing the pace below a gallop. Walger's remarkably adroit characterizations never let the multitude of characters become confusing. The only flaw in this production is that the musical cues sometimes play too loudly, threatening to drown out the narration rather than enhancing it. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Reviews, May 2). (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Gorgeous, smart, and talented Siena McMahon is Hollywood royalty-granddaughter of movie star Duke McMahon and daughter of big-shot Hollywood producer Peter McMahon. Though she yearns to be a movie star like grandpa, daddy wants her to study medicine at Oxford. When Siena does something that essentially seals her fate in her father's eyes, she has no choice but to go her own way. As she matures, Siena makes both brilliant and disastrous decisions in terms of her career, her love life, and the people she keeps in her inner circle, experiencing dizzying levels of happiness and despair. At 500-plus pages, Bagshawe's debut is a hefty slice of escapist cake in the vein of Judith Krantz and Jackie Collins. And although the plot is often predictable, who cares? This cocktail of sex, Hollywood, and a dysfunctional family is simply intoxicating. Public libraries should expect big demand. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/05.]-Samantha J. Gust, Niagara Univ. Lib., NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Bagshawe goes for the glitz in her big, brash, fantastically enjoyable first novel. Siena McMahon doesn't have much in common with the typical chick-lit heroine. She neither stumbles nor bumbles. She craves power, fame and rigorous sex, not chocolate, shoes or another glass of Chardonnay. She doesn't eke out a living on the fringes of glamour; she was born smack in the middle of it. Her story is also a gossipy saga of the Hollywood dynasty that created her. Bagshawe makes a conscious break from Bridget Jones territory to revisit the glittery domain of Jacqueline Susann, Jackie Collins and Danielle Steel. The results are saucily delicious and utterly absorbing. The story begins in the 1970s, before Siena was born, just as legendary movie star and all-around bad guy Duke McMahon is installing his young mistress in the mansion he shares with his wife and their two children. This unorthodox arrangement leads to scandal, an illegitimate child and a lasting legacy of emotional dysfunction. The only daughter of Duke's elder son, Siena spends her early years in a tangle of conflicting loyalties, open hatred and savage betrayals. Her estrangement from her family is more or less complete by the time she's shipped off to an English boarding school. When she returns to Hollywood, she's a supermodel well on her way to becoming a successful actress, but it will take spectacular tragedy and the love of a good man before she's truly reconciled to her past and herself. Hot-tempered, oversensitive and ruthlessly ambitious, Siena is not an easy girl to love, but she's certainly entertaining, and Bagshawe does an excellent job of creating her over-the-top yet believable character. In fact, even the mostminor cast members here have well-defined personalities and real motivations. If her predecessors invested the rich and fabulous with epic grandeur, Bagshawe aims to make them accessible-not ordinary, but vividly human. Should be one of the summer's biggest beach books.

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Time Warner Audio Books
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By Tilly Bagshawe

Warner Vision

Copyright © 2006 Tilly Bagshawe
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780446617536

Chapter One


"Forty-eight, forty-nine ... fifty! Nice job, Duke, you're looking great."

Duke McMahon lay back on his workout mat and looked up at his trainer. Jesus Christ, these young guys all looked like shit. Sideburns like a pair of hairy runways, a brown velour jogging suit, and more gold jewelry than the fucking Mafia. No wonder so much Hollywood pussy was out there looking for an older man.

Still, Mikey was right about one thing. Duke was looking great. He sat up and took a satisfied look at his reflection in one of the floor-to-ceiling mirrors that plastered the room. At sixty-four, he still had the body of a man twenty years younger, and he didn't owe one inch of it to surgery. He hated working out with a passion, especially the goddamn sit-ups, but was infinitely vain. In his six years with Duke, Mikey had never known him to cancel a single session.

"You still need to do some more work on your abs, you know," Mikey chided as he watched the old man untie his sneakers and head toward the shower.

"Yeah, and you still need to do some more work on your fucking wardrobe, man. Not to mention your hair." Duke held up his hands in mock exasperation. "I'm telling you, buddy, you look like Cher with a three-day shadow. Get a fuckinghaircut!"

Mikey laughed and turned down the blare of Mick Jagger on the record player. Duke loved his Stones.

It was a long time since the trainer had seen him in such a chipper mood. Evidently the new girlfriend was working wonders. He knew he shouldn't really like Duke, but he couldn't help it. Sure, the old man was a bastard. An addictive womanizer, he treated his poor wife, Minnie, like dirt and was so right-wing-anti-gay, anti-women, anti-blacks, anti-taxes-it was totally outrageous. But he also had this incredible energy, a lust for life that seemed to draw people to him. Mikey had a lot of wealthy, famous clients-although none quite as wealthy or famous as Duke McMahon-and none of them could touch him for raw charisma.

Emerging dripping and naked from the shower, Duke strode over to the window and looked out at the California sunshine. He'd had the gym built on the first floor of his sprawling hacienda in Hancock Park, a pale pink Spanish architectural masterpiece known to the busloads of tourists who hung around outside the gates simply as the McMahon estate. Although the estate itself had been built in the twenties, when Hancock Park was first starting to become popular with the swelling ranks of movie actors and musicians who had moved west to find fame and fortune, the interior was a bizarre milange of modern and traditional styles.

Minnie, Duke's long-suffering wife, had impeccable if rather conservative taste, and many of the public rooms reflected her refined and understated influence. In striking contrast, Duke's unashamed vulgarity and love affair with all things modern had led to some gruesome decor decisions, of which the gym was only one: The state-of-the-art music center, complete with eight-track tape deck and stereo speakers, was housed in an immense velvet-lined teak cabinet. A central workout square of polished wood was surrounded by a sea of cream shag carpeting, fitted wall to wall beneath the ubiquitous mirrors, and a disco ball hung in pride of place from the vaulted ceiling.

"For the love of God, Duke, would you put some clothes on?" Seamus, Duke's oldest childhood friend and now his right-hand man-a sort of hybrid manservant, PA, and business manager-had stuck his flushed, permanently jovial face around the door, giving a brief nod of acknowledgment to the trainer. "You have a meeting at eleven, you know? I know the dress code is casual in Hollywood, but I'm sure John McGuire would appreciate a pair of underpants at least."

Duke looked over his shoulder at his old pal and grinned. They were almost exact contemporaries, but Seamus looked nearly old enough to be his father. His hairline had receded so far that he appeared completely bald from the front, and a lifelong penchant for "the odd dram," as he put it, had contributed to both his florid complexion and his spreading waistline. In anyone else Duke would have been scathing of such a lack of self-control, but he'd always considered Seamus a special case. Having battled his way through the vipers' nest of scheming agents and unscrupulous studios in Hollywood, Duke knew just how rare loyalty and genuine friendship were. Seamus was a gem.

"Go fuck yourself, wouldya?" he replied good-naturedly, scratching his balls for added effect. "I'm trying to enjoy the view here."

And quite a view it was. Immaculately manicured lawns rolled down the hill away from the house as far as the eye could see. An Olympic-size pool flashed and shimmered in the morning sunshine, surrounded by a haphazard collection of orange and lemon trees, all groaning with fruit. Tiny hummingbirds, their brilliant streaks of color clashing with the unbroken blue of the sky, flitted from flower to flower, enjoying the sunshine. It was hard to imagine that such a Garden of Eden could be completely man-made; that without ceaseless irrigation, planting, and tending, the whole of Hancock Park would have been nothing more than a lifeless desert. But then that was precisely what Duke loved about L.A. It was a place where you could turn a patch of dirt into paradise, if you worked hard and wanted it badly enough.

Any one of the legions of Mexican gardeners and handymen on the lawns below could have glanced up and seen the master of the house stark naked, surveying his kingdom from the window, as they had on so many mornings before. Duke didn't care. It was his house. He had worked for every square inch of it, and he could shit on the fucking floor if he wanted to. Besides, he liked being naked in front of the staff, because it drove Minnie insane with embarrassment. Humiliating his wife was one of Duke's greatest and most enduring pleasures.

"Eleven o'clock." Seamus raised a reprimanding finger in the general direction of Duke's naked rear view before scurrying off to prepare the paperwork for the day's meetings.

"Look at that, man." Duke made a sweeping gesture through the window for Mikey's benefit, once Seamus had gone. "What a terrific day!"

"We're in California, Duke. Every day's a beautiful day." The trainer zipped up his sports bag and leaned back against the mirrored wall. He wasn't in any rush to leave. His next client was a hopelessly overweight Beverly Hills widow who couldn't seem to get enough of his brown velour jogging suit and shoulder-length hair. Chewing the fat with Duke was a whole lot more fun. "So what's put you in such a great mood all of a sudden? This wouldn't have anything to do with ... is it Catherine? What's her name, your new girlfriend?"

"Mistress, my new mistress." Duke grinned. "I'm a hell of a lot too old for a 'girlfriend.'" To Mikey's relief, he pulled on a pair of white linen golfing trousers and sat down on a bench, warming to his theme. "A girlfriend is someone you hold hands with, maybe go to the pictures. One day, if you find you really like her, then maybe you marry her and she becomes your wife. That's a girlfriend. Now, a mistress-a mistress is something totally different." He paused for dramatic effect, a slow smile spreading across his predatory hawklike features. "A mistress is basically pussy that you own."

"Jesus Christ!" Mikey exploded into laughter, genuinely shocked. "You can't say things like that! Nobody owns nobody else, Duke."

"Ah, kid." Duke shook his head. "How little you know."

Standing up to admire his chosen outfit-white pants, white patent-leather shoes, and a tight chocolate-brown turtleneck that was far too warm for the California climate but that accentuated his chest and biceps-he put an affectionate, paternal arm around his trainer. How come he could never talk like this to his own son, Pete? The boy was always so fucking uptight, a stuck-up little prig like his mother. Duke used to say that Pete Jr. was a replica of Minnie, only with balls-but these days he wasn't too sure whether his son even had that distinction.

"Anyway, in answer to your question, yes, my mood probably does owe just a little something to Caroline."

"Sorry, yeah, Caroline, you told me."

Duke was beaming like a drunk in a liquor store. This must be quite some girl. As if reading his mind, the old man continued. "Not only is she a world-class fuck"-Duke noticed Mikey fighting to stifle a blush-"seriously, man, you should see her, she is the sluttiest little whore but she speaks like the fucking queen. If you haven't screwed an English girl, I'm telling you, you gotta try it."

"I'll bear that in mind," said Mikey. "Thanks."

"But the best part is," Duke looked at him triumphantly, "she's agreed to move in with me. Permanently. As of today."

Had Mikey missed something here? "What do you mean she's moving in with you?" He knew it was rude to piss on Duke's picnic when he was so patently over the moon. But how could Caroline possibly be moving in? "What about Minnie? Did you guys, like, separate or get a divorce or something? How come I never heard about this?"

"Nope." Duke cracked his knuckles and smiled broadly. He was evidently lapping up the younger man's discomfiture. "No separation, no divorce. I just told her. This is my house, and I want Caroline to live here. Minnie'll do what she's told if she wants to remain a part of this family."

Mikey winced. Duke's brutality never ceased to shock him, especially where poor Mrs. McMahon was concerned. He couldn't understand why on earth she tolerated it. Still, even by Duke's standards, this was a bit extreme, moving the girlfriend into the estate right under her nose. He imagined Peter wasn't going to be too pleased either.

"We're having a welcome dinner tonight at eight," continued Duke, unfazed. "It's just family: Caroline and me, Laurie, Pete and his wife ... and my wife, of course," he sneered sadistically. "But you're more than welcome to join us if you'd like. I'll have Minnie set an extra place."

Jesus Christ, so Minnie was expected to play hostess at this charade? Suddenly Mikey felt awkward, guilty. He didn't want to be a party to any of this. "I can't," he said, blushing. "I'm really sorry, but I can't."

For all his charm, Duke obviously had a huge hole right where any sense of morality or basic human compassion should be. And when you looked right into that hole, it was black. Frankly, it scared the shit out of Mikey.

Sensing the old man's disappointment, he shrugged apologetically, attempting to lighten the atmosphere. "Dinner with my girlfriend, you know?"

"Sure. Of course," said Duke with a mirthless smile that reminded Mikey of the wolf grinning at Little Red Riding Hood. All of a sudden the room seemed to become terribly cold. "It's not a problem, kid, really," said Duke, heading for the door. "I understand."

Sitting at her dressing table in the east wing of the house, Minnie fastened the clasp of her pearls with a steady hand. The sweet scent of the cyclamen creepers that grew around her dressing-room window never failed to relax her. She took a deep, calming gulp of the warm morning air and sighed.

Minnie adored her dressing room, her small, private sanctuary filled with the beloved and familiar reminders of a former life: Her father's antique English writing table now served as her bureau, and the richly faded Persian rug on the floor had once been the nursery rug back home in Connecticut, on which she and her brother, Austin, had crawled and squabbled and built elaborate cities out of blocks. Lavish vases of flowers covered every available surface, and a slightly battered but charming old bookcase beside the door was filled with books, not only collected but read by generations of Millers. Some had belonged to her great-great-grandfather and Minnie loved simply to hold them, stroking the spines and thinking of all of her ancestors who had held them and read them before her.

Thirty years in Los Angeles had done nothing to diminish her homesickness for the East Coast. But through her flair for interior design-Minnie had that rare ability to turn a house into a home without diminishing its elegance, with a style that combined traditional conservatism with real warmth-she had created a miniature East Coast oasis inside the estate, which had become a huge comfort to her in her frequent times of trouble.

Having arranged her pearls carefully in the mirror, she picked up the silver-backed clothes brush on the dresser and swept a few stubborn strands of lint from her skirt. Today would be a difficult day. But as her mother had always taught her, a lady never loses her composure, no matter how trying the circumstance. Whatever it took, she must maintain her dignity, draw it like a shield around her in the face of this ... this ... unfortunate event.

Ten years younger than Duke, at fifty-four Minnie had embraced middle age as enthusiastically as her husband had fought to keep it at bay. She looked like his mother. That is to say, she dressed like his mother. Or like his mother would have dressed had she come from an old-money Greenwich family like Minnie's (rather than an impoverished New York Irish tribe of manual laborers and petty thieves). Her daily uniform had barely altered since she and Duke first married over thirty years ago. A khaki linen skirt to the knee, crisp white shirt with jauntily upturned collar, tan panty hose (no matter how stiflingly hot the weather, a lady never went bare-legged), slightly heeled round-toed pumps, and, of course, her grandmother's pearls.

Thanks to a rigorous, no-nonsense daily beauty routine consisting of soap, water, and a good dollop of cold cream at night, her handsome patrician face was not excessively lined. The years of suffering she had endured through the latter stages of her marriage to Duke had etched themselves only faintly around the eyes, where other, happier women had laughter lines.

Still, Minnie reminded herself grimly, she had a lot to be thankful for. Life as the wife of the world's most famous movie star had brought a lot of material comforts, which had certainly dulled the pain of some of her other marital disappointments. And of course, she had her children. Sweet, reliable Laurie, and her beloved son, Pete, still lived on the Hancock Park estate, and along with Pete's young wife, Claire, they provided a daily buffer of emotional support against Duke's increasingly open hatred of her.

Her husband might be insisting on moving his cheap little tart into their home. But, by God, if he thought he was going to drive her out with his vindictive little games, her or the children, he had another think coming.

"Mother? Oh, Mother, there you are."

Laurie's forlorn face peered around the doorway. At twenty-eight, Duke and Minnie's younger child had already adopted the appearance of a confirmed spinster. Her full gypsy skirt and loose shapeless Moroccan blouse did nothing to conceal the rolls of fat acquired through decades of comfort eating. With her greasy brown hair scraped back into a severe ponytail and her face bare of makeup, it was almost impossible to believe this timid, trembling mouse of a girl could be the natural child of such fine-featured parents. This morning her appearance was further hampered by a bright red shiny nose and eyes dreadfully swollen from crying.

"Well, of course I'm here," said Minnie, her voice bright and businesslike. "Where else would I be? We have an awful lot to do today for the dinner, and I'm going to need your help, Laurie-Loo, with the flowers."

For the last week, Caroline's arrival had been referred to simply as "the dinner." No one could bring themselves to utter her name.

"Oh, Mother!" Laurie's swollen, twitching face finally gave way, and she crumpled into full-throated, childish sobs. "How can you be so calm about it? I mean, how could Daddy do this to you, to all of us?"

"For the good Lord's sake, Laurie, pull yourself together," said Minnie. If there was one thing she would not tolerate, it was giving in to one's emotions. It really was disgracefully undignified. "It's a difficult time for all of us, but we have nothing to be ashamed of, and certainly no reason to cry."

She handed her daughter a white monogrammed handkerchief and patted the chair beside her. The rosewood creaked as Laurie eased her sniveling bulk into it. Minnie wished her daughter would show just a bit more self-discipline when it came to food, but she smiled at her kindly and tried not to show it. "Really, darling, you mustn't cry." She patted Laurie's head ineffectually, as if she were an obedient dog. "Believe me, your father will tire of this young woman soon enough. Just as he has with all the others."


Excerpted from Adored by Tilly Bagshawe Copyright © 2006 by Tilly Bagshawe. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

TILLY BAGSHAWE went to Cambridge at the age of eighteen with her ten-month-old daughter in tow. At twenty-six, she was the youngest-ever partner in one of the world's most prestigious headhunting firms. Now a freelance journalist, she is a regular contributor to The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, and other major British publications. Tilly lives in L.A. and London with her husband and daughter. This is her first novel.

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Adored 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
domangmic More than 1 year ago
From the moment I started to read this book, I was hooked! Very hard to put down. The story gets better with every turn of the page. This was my very first Tllly Bagshawe novel and I have read many more since. All her books so far have been great. I highly recommend this author and her books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much that I've actually been sad that it was over. I bought this book when it first came off and put it off until recently. I loved all the characters and the story line was never boring. It was a constant page turner and I would recommend this book to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a last minute purchase after roaming the book store for an hour. Even though it took a little while for the book to get going, I enjoyed it. It had me on the edge on my seat and I'm excited to read her new book 'Showdown'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I this book will have you at the edge of your seat to find out what will happend next! This book has a lot of drama better than any life in real hollywood!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Really, I am an avid reader, so when my mother handed me this book by this new author, I was a little wary of taking on a new writer. But I was wrong, wrong, wrong. This book made me drunk with the desire to find out what would happen on the next page, and the page after that, and the page after that. The character development is amazing - very specific and alluring. By the end of the novel, you'll feel so attached to those characters that you'll want a sequel, and it will only be a couple of days after you started reading it in the first place. It's just that good. And for a debut - I'm enthralled.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay, so it's not Anna Karenina, but what do you expect from a big ol' Hollywood novel? Everyone you love is here: the gorgeous mixed-up starlet, the unscrupulous billionaire producer, the handsome-but-sweet male hunk (two of these, in fact), the screwball agent. There's even a crusty old German director thrown in, along with assorted wannabe starlets and sleazeball showbiz types. And, of course, the boy-meets,loses,etc.-the girl story. Regrettably, I canceled a star on this book on the last page, when Ms.Bagshawe had a happily reunited couple do something so classless and tacky under the circumstances that I lost any empathy for their 'joy'. Otherwise, an enjoyable tale, sparked here and there with unexpected humor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A riveting saga of a Hollywood family that you don't want to miss. I was drawn into the storyline and at times found that I had to set the book down because I was afraid of what was going to happen next to our heroine. A definite summer hit!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are missing Jackie Collins run to the store and buy this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am about half way through this book and I cannot put it down. I read the earlier reviews and someone mentioned it was like a Danielle Steel/Jackie Collins novel. It does have both writers, especially Jackie. Very easy to read. I am so glad this is a long weekend I cannot wait to finish it. I know it is not the norm to write about a book until finished but I know I am hooked on this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just love the way Tilly Bagshawe books read. She put them together so elegantly.
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this took m me back to the Jackie Collins and Judith Kranz novels I snuck out of my mom's closet in the 80s.
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I have read this book over and over again. I just love it! I wish she would write more books like this.
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I recieved this book as a gift from a friend when she moved away. I have to admit, the number of pages was a little intimidating (She gave me the hardcover version). After the first few chapters, I was hooked! The plot is ever twisting and turning...like a soap opera meets thriller. I have loaned it to many other friends and they all agree, this book is A+! I can't wait to read more by her!
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