Author: Sophie Kinsella
Overview from Goodreads:
Part love story, part workplace dramedy, part witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world, this is New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella’s most timely and sharply observed 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. The final, demeaning straw comes when Demeter makes Katie dye her roots in the office. 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 image.
After reading I Owe You One, I’m now on to my second Kinsella novel! Our main character is Katie “Cat” Brenner who works at a marketing firm in London for her boss Demeter. She dreams of running her own ad campaign and feels she has valuable ideas. Instead of letting Katie participate in campaigns, Demeter has Katie doing all the busy admin work and running errands. Demeter seems to have it all and Katie finds her to be self-absorbed and doesn’t care about Katie’s advancement. As this is a rom-com novel, it would be incomplete without a love interest for Katie. For this story, our love interest is Katie’s boss, an executive named Alex. However, it seems that he is already in some sort of relationship with the married Demeter.
Katie lives in with her flatmates and portrays herself as living the perfect London life through her social media accounts using her “Cat” persona. Things take a turn when she is fired by Demeter. Eventually she moves back home with her dad and stepmom to help them start and run a B&B and glamping company on their property. She helps them create marketing brochures, activities, and helps to run the day to day operations. The operation gains popularity and soon Katie is faced with an unexpected turn as one of the guests is Demeter and her family.
Demeter doesn’t recognize Katie, giving Katie a chance to take out some revenge on Demeter. These were some very laugh out loud moments as we all secretly wish we could pull this off on some boss that weren’t the best to us. (Not sure if I actually would go through with it, but it was funny to think about.) Through Demeter’s stay, Katie get to see the real-workings of Demeter’s life and Katie starts to question whether everything she knew about her former boss was right or maybe there could be more to her.
As secrets and events are revealed, crazy antics happen and move our story to its ultimate climax and you’d have to read the story to find out the details as writing them here would spoil them. It’s a very entertaining tale and it was an enjoyable read. Like most rom-coms, it is predictable and you can figure out the end after reading the description, but it is how you get to that ending that make these novels a good-read. I do agree with other readers that there are parts of this novel that seem unnecessary as they could be taken out of the novel and the story would still make sense.
The romance isn’t center stage in this novel as the main focus is on Demeter and Katie. One theme is that everything you see may not be what it seems. Katie’s life that she portrayed on social media about her life in London didn’t match reality. Demeter’s life may not be what Katie thought I was and maybe Alex may not be who she thought he was. It’s the main overall theme of this book with the rom-com novel that I thought I was going to read taking a backseat. It still happens, but it just wasn’t as satisfying as you don’t get a lot of interaction and build-up between the couple. I wish some pages were changed from everyday events to creating a more interesting dynamic between the couple where their chemistry is further explored and we care about them more to think that they would last long-term.
Overall, this novel was a very entertaining read. There isn’t as much substance and character development, but it is enjoyable and I would read it again. I recommend this novel to anyone who wants a nice easy read that you can finish in a day (maybe less if you’re a fairly fast reader).