Author: Aita Ighodaro
All That Glitters is the second novel by Oxford graduate and former fashion model Aita Ighodaro, the reason I mention these two as descriptors is that her life experiences and observations throughout have helped inspire her novels. I read Ighodaro’s debut, Sin Tropez, on its release in 2011 and quite enjoyed it.
As I read All That Glitters it did seem a little familiar, there were some very similar themes but the further I read the more All That Glitters found its original direction; until I got smacked in the face with one of the major players from Sin Tropez, model Natalya. The inclusion of Natalya in All That Glitters is a little gratuitous really, she is one of the guests on the fateful yacht trip that changes many lives. She makes a bit of a cameo early in the book but later on she becomes quite a major character.
We got to know Natalya well in Sin Tropez from her troubled childhood and determination to make a brighter future for herself to the struggles she faced on her journey to famous Latvian model. This, in ways, seems to parallel some of Isabel’s journey but Isabel was never going to be content catching herself a rich and powerful husband – her determination was to build her own fortune and become rich and powerful in her own right.
From the opening pages we can see that Isabel is an extremely intelligent young woman who hides many talents behind her breathtaking beauty. She has a quality about her that attracts people, and not only men either.
All That Glitters takes us into the world of Oxford students, politics and the rich and powerful. We watch Isabel plot and scheme to align events in her life just the right way to see her achieve what she wants, and then it all comes crashing down for very mysterious reasons. Everything she worked towards and she seems to have just thrown it away; and here the intrigue really starts to step up.
Jealousy, selfishness and using those around you to get what you want out of life are all traits that I find terribly unappealing but they do tend to make for interesting reading when I know they aren’t going to have any effect on me, and they are traits that have been well used in this novel.
I found the characters to be likeable or loath-able as was warranted and I was well and truly hooked on the almost insubstantial threads that tied seemingly unrelated characters past and present. I found the last third of the novel to be virtually un-put-down-able, until the way too neatly tied up ending.
There were some unexpectedly graphic descriptions which threw me and sent an involuntary shiver down my spine, which is something I love because it’s always nice to have that element of surprise in a book you are enjoying.
Aita Ighadaro you’ve done it again. You took what could well have been an enjoyable but largely substance-less piece of fluff fiction and made it intriguing, exciting, and most importantly unpredictable in its twists. I will certainly be keeping an eye on what’s next for you.