Part love story, part workplace drama, this sharply observed novel is a witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world. New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella has written her most timely 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. 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 truth.
I was sooooo excited to receive this book, and it exceeded my expectations! As kismet would have it, I received it one year to the day after I'd seen Sophie Kinsella speak in London (an experience that, if possible, made me fall even more in love with her!) I've yet to read a Kinsella book I haven't loved, and while this admittedly fell into her old patterns, it was nonetheless brilliant.
Sure enough, by the third page I had laughed out loud. Reading a Kinsella book is like having a chat with an old friend who gets you, putting on that sweater that's cosy and makes you look good, or sinking into a warm bubble bath. I felt like I knew Katie like an old friend and was rolling my eyes at her antics affectionately. She deals with the very real problem of having a not-so-perfect life that I totally related to.
One aspect of this book that I loved was how the entire romantic plot took more of a backburner than normal. Katie didn't let herself be defined by any men. I also had a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings inspired by her dad and her step-mom, and I loved the way Katie's feelings towards them and her relationship with them evolved.
Her career exploration was a lot of fun. The design details were much more interesting than I thought they would be. I have no desire to work in marketing, but Katie's descriptions of her work and the way she used her eyes for detail was really fun to read about. Her job search felt very real, as did her struggles with unpaid internships, long commutes, and expensive flats. Mainly, I thought that the job advice she received was important and widely applicable.
I went through a lot of emotions at the ending, but was ultimately disappointed. To be entirely ambiguous so as not to give spoilers, the ending flipped on me multiple times and I wasn't sure what was going to happen, which was a plus, but I texted my friend at 95% with a lot of excitement just to have what I thought had happened reversed. But then again, most readers I assume will find the ending very satisfying.
This addresses a lot of aspects of our world and how we portray it, and I really enjoyed how she made the book modern and relative to life today. She even threw in a reference to Trump, which could not be more timely. While a lot of books go overboard with texting and social media, I felt like this one had a stellar amount.
If you've liked any other Kinsella books, this will hit the spot. If you like any type of chick flick/rom com lit, you'll love this. Definitely something I'll read again, and I highly recommend it.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.