Terry Tyler’s writing is unique. She writes about real people with the sort of problems that many of us have, in such a straightforward way that you feel you are in that town, part of that relationship, wanting to shake that silly girl or punch that arrogant prat! And she does it with such wit and humour too.
What It Takes is, on the face of it, the story of Karen, the ugly duckling with two beautiful sisters. But it is also her sister Ava’s story and that of boyfriend Danny, not forgetting all the other people affected by Karen’s emotional whirlwind. The characters are so solid you could touch them, the dialogue always pertinent and feelings vivid.
From the first line, “I know Ava and Saskia are Daddy’s favourites, but..” you know that Karen will have problems which will affect the rest of her life. Like all good heroines she will make terrible mistakes, she will frustrate the reader and cause mayhem but you can’t help rooting for her. And even Ava with her perfect family and Saskia with her successful business have not found the answer to perfect happiness.
As the plot develops, you believe you can predict what will happen, but there are two surprising twists which turn everything upside down and I was left wondering if there’s a follow up novel to deal with the consequences of What It Takes. If you want to relive an 80s childhood or experience complex relationships in an extended family this is the book for you.