Younger is a novel that seemed to be part chick lit/women’s fiction and part thriller. The story begins like a thriller and throughout Younger, there are spies, Russians posing as Brits and vice versa, embassy officials, and targets as well as a host of dead bodies. Killings are done off-stage. The protagonist, Anna Wallingham is on the run when the novel opens.
After the prologue concludes, problems arise with the flashback to events that lead up to the prologue. It is a long set of chapters. I ended up being confused, wondering about certain things, having forgotten some of the details mentioned in the prologue and characters introduced after the prologue. The pace of the story bogs down in this middle part as well. If this section, which was the guts of the story, had been interspersed or related in bits and pieces while Anna is on the run I believe that the pacing of the story would have been much quicker, more thriller-like.
After the prologue: Anna Wallingham is a mid-to-late fifties ad executive who is booted out of her job when the company she works for, Coscom is bought by a pharmaceutical company, BarPharm or Barton Pharmaceuticals, which is looking to use its expertise in the development and marketing of medically-based products mainly for the mature age set (think something like IS Clinicals). Lo and behold, Anna lands on a new opportunity—one filled with promises of easy riches—courtesy of BarPharm. After a bit of consideration, Anna adopts a “what the heck” attitude and hires onto be a guinea pig for a set of “Youngskin” or “Younger” skin care cream products that have the power to turn back time—make Anna look like she is in her twenties. There are three lines—each more powerful than the last. For the most part, the one Anna is testing is being developed as the fountain of youth for ageing spies. Anna’s marketing skills also come in handy during the development of a marketing scheme for other two lines destined for retail stores and doctors’ offices.
Shortly after Anna hires on with BarPharm, people start dying around her or act mysteriously, she learns that not all is quite as she has been told and also discovers that her predecessor died under mysterious circumstances. Sensing danger, and not getting any answers to her questions, Anna begins to take steps to protect herself and leave town. Soon thereafter, the story picks back up from where the prologue ended. From there to the end, Younger reverts back to being a thriller. One thing in the conclusion was confusing: Anna’s return from France to Rome via Milan. The trip from France in this reader’s opinion should have ended at Milan and a new chapter started with the arrival in Rome. As it was written, it was hard to tell, until much later, if certain events occurred on the way to Rome or after Anna’s return to Rome.
Overall, Younger is a good chick-lit read—it is an easy read with a subject matter that would appeal to women or those who work in the fashion or beauty industries.