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Still a glorious romp of a read, Jilly Cooper’s Rivals features one of the best age-gap romances ever: 37-year-old Rupert Campbell-Black and 18-year-old Taggie O’Hara.

As with all Jilly Cooper’s “bonkbusters” there are multiple plotlines going on and we get involved in the lives of many different characters. And the main plotline – the TV franchise battle – is a wonderful story in itself.

Of course all the various affairs and romances are entwined with this, generating divided loyalties and leaked secrets, but it all comes good in the end (for the nice characters anyway).

The main romance is of course Taggie and Rupert: she’s beautiful and the sweetest heroine ever, and he’s devastatingly attractive, fascinating, and sought after by practically every woman in the country.

I’ve read this book multiple times now and it’s always a huge treat. It’s not necessary to have read the first of the series – Riders – though it does introduce Rupert Campbell-Black and some others, so if you’re intrigued by his backstory it’s worth a go. (It’s not really a series as each novel stands alone, but many of the same characters do recur).

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