Publisher: The Dial Press
Genre: Chick Lit
Part love story, part workplace dramedy, part witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world, this is New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella’s most timely and sharply observed novel yet.
Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. The final, demeaning straw comes when Demeter makes Katie dye her roots in the office. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.
Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.
Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the image.
I’ve been a huge Sophie Kinsella fan since her Shopaholic series and Becky Bloomwood is one of my favorite chick lit characters of all time, so naturally I’m always excited when she releases a new book. Though this wasn’t her best book, I still enjoyed it as it provided a much needed escape from reality.
Katie is a fairly typical character that I’ve come to expect in a Kinsella book, she’s an average woman with plenty of quirks who manages to get herself into awkward situations that are always good for a laugh. She’s got a charm about her that makes her endearing even when she’s behaving inappropriately. She’s trying to live the life she’s always dreamed of but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Her boss Demeter is a nightmare, think shades of the Devil Wears Prada and her flat in London is nowhere near as glam as she had hoped it would be.
I admire Kinsella’s characterization, I can usually connect with her protagonists and Katie was no exception. This was a bit formulaic and predictable as far as plot, but that didn’t keep me from being pretty engaged in Katie’s life. It was a light read and sometimes I need a break from all the thinking that comes from reading so many thrillers. The constant guessing and trying to work out the plot twists can be really fun but also tiring, so it was nice to be able to just lose myself in a book and relax.
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Thanks to The Dial Press for my review copy.