"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Review # 39: The Undomestic Goddess, by Sophia Kinsella

I confessed earlier that I'm not a fan of the Shopaholic books, but I read Can You Keep a Secret? and realized that it wasn't so bad, so I thought I'd give Kinsella another shot, and picked up The Undomestic Goddess from a pile at my sister's. 

And then I remembered why I didn't really like her.

Samantha Sweeting is a high powered London attorney who makes a big mistake at work on the eve of her partnership. The mistake is gigantic - like, millions of dollars gigantic - and Samantha walks out of the office in a daze, boards a train, and winds up in the English countryside with only her dreaded Blackberry for company. She knocks on the first door she can find, and the lady of the house mistakes her for the new housekeeper. 

For some insane reason, Samantha goes along with it, despite not even being able to make toast, let alone knowing how to actually keep house. But Trish and Eddie Geiger, the nouveau riche lords of the manor, might possibly be the dimmest bulbs in all of England, so they don't catch on.  The gorgeous gardener Nathaniel does, though, and, feeling sorry for Samantha, he enlists the help of his mother to teach Samantha how to cook.

Of course, the ruse can't last forever, and when Samantha uncovers some dirty secrets at her firm and then the press gets wind of where she's been all this time, everything gets blown wide open. Samantha is offered everything she always thought she wanted, but suddenly she isn't sure that's the right path for her.

There wasn't anything wrong with this book, per se. The writing was fine and the structure was done competently enough, but the story was a little (a lot) outside the realm of plausibility. And normally I can handle a little bit of that, but you can't tell me that a highly educated woman has managed to get to the age of 30 without figuring out how to wash her clothes or make a sandwich. I think what did me in more than the story was the characters. I couldn't get behind a single one of them. They weren't bad, exactly, but there wasn't any quality in any character that made me want to root for them. I can't even remember how the story ends, to be honest, which tells you that I didn't care about the players.

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