Friday, May 2

The Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella

Ever since she was a child Samantha Sweeting knew she wanted to make partner at prestigious London law firm Carter Spink, and now it's so it's so close she can taste it - the hours (and hours) of hard work and devotion, her meticulous attention to detail, and the complete abandonment of anything approaching a personal life are about to pay off. The morning after her birthday (by a miracle she made it to the restaurant instead of having to cancel, but neither her barrister mother nor her high-flying brother could make it, and her hippy brother's dropped out all together), fired up by the unofficial word that the position's hers, Sam clears off her massively paper-covered desk. And finds a memo. About an insurance debenture that needs to be lodged. Five weeks ago. The deadline's passed, the firm's exposed, and when Sam discovers the company's filed for bankruptcy she realises she's left Carter Spink liable for £50 million.
In a daze Sam leaves the office and walks randomly about town until she hits Victoria station, where she sees a partner on the other side of the platform. Hiding with a family group she gets on a train and doesn't get off until it reaches its' destination, whereupon she randomly wanders again until she finds a house. She hopes they'll give her some aspirin and a glass of water, but instead Sam's offered a housekeeping position and, numb with shock, she takes it.
The underlying premise stretches incredulity but, if you can accept it the rest of The Undomestic Goddess exemplifies the best of the genre - it's satisfying, involving, not too heavy but not wholly light weight, funny (I actually laughed a couple of times) and rewarding. I've enjoyed Kinsella's Shopaholic series, but actually prefer this, even on a second read (last time was a couple of years ago). - Alex

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