Saturday, January 9

Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella

Lara's life is not going to plan - her best friend Natalie has taken off, leaving her to try running their fledgling headhunting firm even though she has no experience or contacts, and even though he's the love of her life, Josh has broken up with her and won't even take her calls. The last thing she wants to do is go to her great aunt's funeral - she never even knew Sadie, and the last thing she feels like is lying to her parents about how together she is, maintaining that façade in front of her smug older sister, and having the brilliance of her coffee-chain billionaire uncle rubbed in her family's face yet again.
When Lara hears a young girl calling shrilly for her necklace she discovers that she can communicate with the ghost of Sadie. Though a hundred and five when she died, Sadie always felt like the young woman she was in the twenties - when life was a kick, filled with lovers and fashion and the dancing she adored. Sadie wants Lara to have a bit more life, too, and is quite good at persuading people to do things by screeching in their ear. Sadie can help Lara in ways she doesn't expect, and in return Lara is determined to track down Sadie's missing necklace, a task that reveals the most unexpected of family secrets.
When I started Twenties Girl I was underwhelmed - I found Lara one of those most trying of chick lit heroines, all self-centred and trailing after a useless man who clearly doesn't want her. But despite myself I was drawn into the novel and the characters, and before I knew it I was enthralled. Part romance, part historical and part mystery, Kinsella weaves together the lives of two twenty-something women living eighty years apart. As we learn more about each woman we see layers and maturation. The resolution of two secrets, one about Sadie's long-lost love and the other about Lara's odious Uncle Bill, is intertwined and deeply satisfying. Most of all we get to see Lara evolve into an independent, forthright woman. It's not serious literature but it's well worth the investment - and I'm not a big fan of Literature anyway. - Alex

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