Sophie Kinsella (actually Madeleine Sophie Wickham), is the very popular English author of “chick lit,” such as the Shopaholic series.
While I usually eschew this genre, I make an exception for Kinsella. She writes with so much cleverness and humor that I feel it makes up for the “lightness” of the genre.
This particular books combines elements of “Working Girl,” “The Parent Trap,” and “Bridget Jones.” Katie Brenner, 26, has come to London from Somerset to live her dreamed-of life in the big city, working for a well-known advertising agency, Cooper Clemmow. Her boss, Demeter, is intimidating, not easily impressed, and seems to “have it all.” But she is also very scattered, always losing important papers and mixing up appointments, and seems cold and unfriendly to the staff.
Before long, Katie meets Alex Astalis, one of the partners, with whom she feels an instant chemistry, but she hears he is having an affair with Demeter. This just makes her resent Demeter even more.
Then Katie, who is low employee on the totem pole, gets fired when some downsizing becomes necessary. She goes back to Somerset to help her dad and stepmom open up a “glamping” business on their farm. It actually turns out to be wildly successful, but Katie still longs to return to London.
As you know would happen, Demeter and Alex both show up as glamping guests, and the whole plot takes a zany turn, with Katie trying to make the experience a disaster for Demeter (a la “Parent Trap”) but being foiled at every turn. She learns some surprising things about Demeter in the process though, and the ending is gratifying, if a bit rushed.
Evaluation: I love Sophie Kinsella; I can always count on her books to lift me up from the heavy miasma of current events and make me laugh. They are as predictable as can be, but it doesn’t seem to matter; in fact, in a way it enhances the enjoyment. You know you won’t be blindsided by some tragedy when you’re in the mood for lightheartedness.
Published in the U.S. by The Dial Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House, 2017