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Liberation of Alice Love

Liberation of Alice Love

3.5 501
by Abby McDonald

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"Delicious in so many ways, you'll find this one hard to put down."
-Laura Dave, Author of The Divorce Party and London is the Best City in America

Alice Love keeps her life (and job, and family) running in perfect order, so when her bank card is declined, she thinks it's just a mistake. Sadly, someone has


"Delicious in so many ways, you'll find this one hard to put down."
-Laura Dave, Author of The Divorce Party and London is the Best City in America

Alice Love keeps her life (and job, and family) running in perfect order, so when her bank card is declined, she thinks it's just a mistake. Sadly, someone has emptied her bank account, spending her savings on glamorous trips, sexy lingerie, and a to-die-for wardrobe-and leaving Alice with lots of debt. As a dashing fraud investigator helps her unravel the intriguing paper trail, Alice discovers that the thief is closer to home than she ever imagined. What's more, it seems like her alter ego's reckless, extravagant lifestyle is the one Alice should have been leading all along. As the little white lies begin to stack up, how far will Alice go to find the truth?

And whose life, exactly, is she fighting for?

"refreshing, fun, and sexy...a perfect beach read."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mousy London lawyer Alice Love gets her identity stolen and finds her true self in this rocky tale of trust, personality makeovers, and a lying globe-trotting thief. "She didn't leave me any worse off, in the end," Alice says of Ella, a work pal who makes off with Alice's credit card info to set up a new life in Hollywood. But before the ruse is over, Alice retaliates by morphing into a compulsive stalker, taking on Ella's identity, and discovering that a lot of little lies add up to a whole lot of fun. The transformation nearly costs her the love of a good man, but Alice comes (nearly) to her senses by the time she corners her arch-frenemy. McDonald (The Popularity Rules) keeps the pace brisk, but a plot busy with an international chase and Alice's many reinventions proves on occasion too much to handle, and Ella, paradoxically, proves a more intriguing character than Alice. What works best is what lies beneath all the frantic action: a good old-fashioned romantic page-turner. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
""A lot of little lies add up to a whole lot of fun."" - Publishers Weekly

""McDonald's smart chick-lit novel takes a provocative view of a timely subject-identity theft-within the usual framework of romance and comedy."" - Booklist

""A delightful story of a woman reclaiming her life after betrayal and theft but deciding the same old routines no longer work. Her struggles, self-doubt, and eventual resolution are immensely relatable. Who doesn't want the chance to live a more exciting life - even for one night?"" - Harmonious Madness

""This story could have been ripped from the headlines since identity theft is such a common problem these days that can totally damage a person both mentally and financially. If you enjoy Madeleine Wickham, you will love this one."" - Book Hounds

""Abby McDonald makes it clear that not only can she write great YA novels, but her adult fiction is just as potent and interesting."" - Debbie's Book Bag

""A fun, fast-paced, entertaining story about a women who finds herself (and a little romance) after searching for a so-called friend that stole her identity."" - Under the Boardwalk

""A fun, charming romp - perfect for the days you want something light but not predictable. McDonald will be added to my must read list sooner rather than later."" - Bellas Novellas

""Abby McDonald is amazing, and unquestionably a talent to watch. Only 25 years old and already has four titles under her belt. I'll definitely be waiting for her other titles to swim across the pond."" - Read All Over Reviews

""Abby McDonald spins an entertaining chic-lit novel. Carefully crafted, the pages just fly by."" - Minding Spot

""The Liberation of Alice Love is a barrel ride of laughs, witty characters, and a book that you will want to make a permanent spot on your bookshelf!"" - Cheryl's Book Nook

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5.36(w) x 7.97(h) x 1.23(d)

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Chapter One

It began with a vibrator. A smooth, stainless steel, jewel-encrusted vibrator that-according to the ribbon-trimmed user manual-cost over seven hundred pounds. Even Alice, who valued her orgasms as much as the next woman, had to wonder what delirious pleasures it could possibly deliver to justify that kind of expense.

"Yes, is that customer service?" She blinked awake, almost surprised by the sound of a real, human voice. With the soothing hold music and afternoon sunlight spilling through the attic windows, Alice had been lulled into a daze, tracing the embossed script on the heavy cream box, back and forth, back and forth. She sat up.

"There's been some kind of mistake," she explained. "One of your...products was delivered today, but I didn't order-No, I don't...Je ne parle pas...anglais? Parlez-vous anglais?" The bored-sounding French voice on the other end of the line gave way to another surge of Schubert. Alice let out a long sigh of defeat.

It had arrived that morning: the inconspicuous brown box addressed to her in neat lettering from a company in Paris. Already late, Alice had stuffed it into her bag with a handful of other post; now the box's luxurious contents sat in the middle of her antique desk, utterly out of place surrounded by ordered stacks of contracts and her mug of chamomile tea.

It was a mystery.

"What's that?" A familiar head appeared around her open door, blond hair falling in a floppy fringe over warm blue eyes.

Alice jumped. Sweeping the box into a drawer, she quickly leaped up. "Rupert!" Her voice was strangled with embarrassment.

"Oh, nothing, just...a mix-up. What are you doing here?"

"I've got some things to sign-thought I'd come down in person. Besides," Rupert added, moving closer to kiss her on both cheeks, "I think I'm due another lunch."

They shared a rueful smile. Vivienne's lunches were notorious. Whenever one of her clients had been going through a dry spell-and might otherwise start questioning the wisdom of their illustrious agent-Alice's boss would whisk them out for a three-hour session of compliments, champagne, and star-studded visions of international acting success. Alice had seen them wander back to the old, Soho office a hundred times, dazed and delirious with future promise, their faith completely restored.


"No, L'Escargot," he replied, gloomy, naming an even more expensive restaurant. Alice tried not to wince. Things must really be slow.

"Well, good luck," she offered. Few clients bothered to acknowledge her, let alone brave the perilous winding staircase to say hello, but Rupert had always been the nice one. Too nice. His promising string of period drama parts had slowed to a trickle, and personally, Alice thought his gallant enthusiasm was the problem. The ones who made it as leading men came equipped with brash arrogance, not boyish good looks and a sweet devotion to their wives.

"If you want, your tax declaration is around somewhere," she suggested, not wanting him to have ventured up there for nothing. She began to click through her files on the screen. "Are you all right waiting?" She glanced up. "Do you want tea, or something?"

"Oh, I'm fine." Rupert moved aside a stack of books and took a seat on the battered leather couch. "The girl at reception is getting me a coffee. She's, uh, very eager to help."

"I'm sure she is," Alice murmured. Fresh from drama school, the new assistant, Saskia, was especially accommodating to clients.

The attractive, male ones, that was. "Ah, got it! Let me just print you a-" The words died on her lips as the computer let out a strangled bleep. Suddenly, her screen began to blur into a sequence of binary code and hieroglyphics.

"No, no...!" Alice cried, but it was no use: her mouse was frozen, her keyboard, dead.

"What's wrong?" Rupert hurried to look over her shoulder as Alice stared at the angry-looking symbols. "Oh. That doesn't look good."

"No, it doesn't." She swallowed, not wanting to think about all the client data in peril. "I wonder if it's just me, or"-an angry cry echoed up from downstairs-"not."

She found everyone crammed into the reception area, arguing loudly. Vivienne refused to let The Grayson Wells Agency inhabit anything as ordinary as an office block; instead, Alice worked in a narrow, three-story townhouse on a cobbled Soho backstreet. The agents operated out of low-ceilinged nooks, visitors were greeted by a checker-floored cloakroom, and Vivienne herself held court from the second-floor drawing room, complete with damask wallpaper and a Georgian-style chaise lounge. After years spent wilting under fluorescent lights in a gray cubicle at a corporate firm in the city, Alice adored her attic hideaway. She could play Radio 3 in uninterrupted calm, grow pansies in the window box, and never be bothered by the daily dramas of everyone else.

Well, usually.

Ducking to avoid the low-slung ceiling, Alice edged into the room. Vivienne was fluttering her hands as if she were having a fainting fit, the agents were milling about in panic, and Saskia was proclaiming her innocence in between dramatic gasps of dismay.

Yes, it was business as usual at Grayson Wells.

"What's happening?" Alice asked. "Are everyone's computers-?"

"Fucked." Tyrell answered shortly, folding his arms across a spotless white shirt. A new agent from the States, he sauntered around in designer tailoring and box-fresh Converse sneakers, wooing prospective clients with talk about taking their careers to the next level, touching bases, and leveraging their brand potential. "I'm waiting on an email-"

"My client needs his contracts and-"

"My BlackBerry's down and I can't function-"

Alice maneuvered to the front of the room. "I know this is a stupid question," she said. "But has anyone called the technician yet?"

There was silence.

"And I'm guessing everyone's turned their computers off at the mains?" she added. "So this thing can't do any more damage." There was a lurch of motion as Anthony, their aging literary agent, dove toward the power socket, knocking his glasses askew in his rush to yank the plug out. "There!" He held it triumphantly aloft, the flickering lamp reflecting on his bald spot.

"Well done." Alice patted his dandruff-speckled shoulder.

"Now, what actually happened?"

All eyes seemed to slide toward Saskia, standing beside the reception computer in a ruffle-necked blouse and pencil skirt. "I didn't know it would do that!" she protested immediately, blue eyes wide with innocence under flame-red ringlets. "I was just downloading a file. For research!"

"Downloading?" Vivienne finally spoke up. Her face was pale as always beneath a severe dyed-black bob; petite figure swathed in a voluminous black pashmina and trailing ropes of pearls.

"A film." Saskia's voice faltered, as if she realized the gravity of the situation for the first time. "No Hope...And Then Death. It's Russian."

Of course it was.

Alice was about to escape them all and wait for the cavalry of the IT call-out man when she was gripped by a terrible fear. "You did back up the database though, didn't you, Saskia? Every night, like we talked about?"

Saskia flushed.

Alice closed her eyes for a second. "When was the last time?" she looked at the girl, pleading. "Last week? Tell me you backed up before the weekend, at least."

Saskia bit her lip. "There were just so many new things to learn! I was meaning to ask someone..."

Alice gulped, as the full extent of the damage finally became clear. Months of records, lost!

Meet the Author

Twenty-five-year-old Abby McDonald grew up in Sussex, England, and studied politics and philosophy at Oxford University. She began writing in college, completing her first novel before graduating to work as a music journalist. Her novel The Popularity Rules comes out in Fall 2011, and she has also written the young adult books Sophomore Swap and Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots. Visit www.abbymcdonald.com

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Liberation of Alice Love 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 501 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a free Friday book that I never would have thought to buy. I was pleasantly surprised that it had a little suspense, romance, and comedy. I really liked it.
TracieTN More than 1 year ago
This book was far too long, and I found myself skipping pages here and there. It was unsatisfying as a read, and I never understood the lead character or the unlikely conclusion as far as her friend Ella was concerned at the end of the book at the outcome of the chase. That seemed strange to me, and not as a plot factor, but in general. I also would have liked more deeply developed characters in Alice, Nathan, and even Julian. I think I would have liked more a love triangle development between the three rather than how Julian chose to approach the situation. (I would have liked Alice to choose the other guy had things been different, but she chose the one she did, and that was that). I think it would have made for more interesting reading, too. Of course, that's me and other readers may not agree. Alice's chase for justice with trying to find her former friend was exciting, but the conclusion to that felt tacked on, and we never understand more than a surface level Ella with no deeper explanation as to why she had stolen Alice's identity, among others. I just never was that interested in all of this, and I didn't like Alice's lying and so forth and justifications, but that's not a writing flaw but something about the character I just didn't like. I never quite saw Alice's "liberation," though, and I didn't like the woman she was trying to be in that change. That woman lied, manipulated others, and hid things from the people around her, plus pretended to be something she wasn't, and it all rang false to me. I think Alice went in a destructive direction with her overall change, but in the end she was rewarded for it in terms of the man coming back into her life that she ended up with, no real consequences for Alice and Ella in either of their scenarios, and no sense of maturity, development, or growth in any particular direction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Despite the heroine's insecurities, this is a thought-provoking coming-of-age novel that delves into the process of figuring out identity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a really good book until the ending. I just thought it ended quicker than i wouldve liked. Overall, a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Easy to relate to all of the characters and kept my interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes you wonder what you would have done in Alice's shoes.....kind of a fun read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Betrayal of a friend is often the most mystifying and I like the way that Alice dealt with it and found out about herself at the same time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Despite some of the negative comments I see on here, I found this book quite entertaining. I don't agree with everything the main character does, and found myself trying to will her away from some actions - but of course it never worked. Heh. I was very interested to see how it would all work out in the end, though. Probably BECAUSE of all her wacky decisions. This is a good read, and I recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Surprisngly good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasn't expecting to like this book so much, but I really enjoyed it and loved the message in it. i hope to learn that lesson myself. (not in the same way she did)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written. Well researched. Most enjoyable. Wonder where Ella is now.?
chearne711 More than 1 year ago
I am always a fan of British chick lit stories, such as Jill Mansell's stories. This book is cute and has you rooting for the heroine the entire story. I thought it kind of dragged sometimes, and there were a couple relationships that just fizzled out and never came up again. Side stories were put in as fillers, but not much thought or emphasis put on them. Ending was nice, but not my favorite. Those are the negatives... But I really did like reading the book. Nice change of pace from all these fantasy YA books that are big now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure if I hadn't made a mistake as I was reading the first page. However, the more I read, the more engrossed in the Alice and her life. It was such a good read, apart from some of the language and some of the questionble, risky, and moral decisions some of the characters made. I would certainly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next book by this author.
the_curious_reader More than 1 year ago
Pale style with tainted substance. How I learned to stop hating my sociopathic, criminal destroyer and love her charm (and even mildly emulate it). Patricia Highsmith could have had a blast with this premise.
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I thought this book had potential. The book is about Alice Love who leads a very well organized life is a victim of identity theft from someone she thought was a friend, She tries tracking the thief down. However, the book does not make good on a promising premise. The book raises questions that it does not answer. Alice bends rules and starts telling lies as the book progresses. The book leaves unanswered the question of whether this is a good thing. Are we supposed to feel nice women finish last or is there some benefit to leading a moral life? The book never resolves Alice's moral dilemmas.
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