Seriously? Sophie Kinsella is one of my FAVORITE AUTHORS ever. After five stellar novels by her, you could definitely say that I am a fan. She has a wonderful way of creating vivid, endearing characters that get into all sorts of mishaps. Her latest offering, The Undomestic Goddess, however, sort of disappointed me.
Meet Samantha Sweeting. A highly intelligent and workaholic attorney for a prestigious law firm, she is over-stressed and high-strung. Even during a spa treatment for her 29th birthday, she can’t bear to tear herself away from her blackberry or cell phone. About to be made partner at the firm, she is known for her competence and brains.
However, on the day she is supposed to have her partnership announced, she discovers she has made a huge error costing one of the firm’s clients over 50 million pounds. And she completely loses it. She stumbles out of the office, onto the nearest train, and manages to somehow get mistaken for a housekeeper seeking a job. And… she ends up getting a housekeeper job at the Geiger residence.
The only problem is, Samantha doesn’t even know how to turn on an iron, let alone wash clothes, cook fancy dinners, or sew. Although she “accidentally” mentions to the Geigers that she is highly skilled in those areas. (Shades of Becky Bloomwood, indeed!)
This book started off really good. I liked that the main character was very intelligent and had an interesting career at a law firm. The book has Kinsella’s trademark wit, humor and lively storytelling. As always, the other characters were endearing and interesting. I did have a hard time putting this novel down for the first several chapters.
But unfortunately, things went sort of downhill. For one thing, everything just happens WAY too conveniently and coincidentally for Samantha. As a matter of fact, most of the novel is based on things that just “happened” somehow. The entire novel is too far-fetched. Samantha somehow goes from not knowing how to even use an iron to someone cooking, cleaning and mending happily within 3 short weeks, among other things. It’s ridiculous. I feel that Kinsella should have spent more time fleshing the plot out more realistically. One should not have to suspend THAT much disbelief in a fiction novel!
And the ending? Perhaps had this been a fairy tale, it would have had the perfect ending. For a chick lit novel, it was just too trite and hackneyed. Without giving away the ending, I can’t go into further details, but I was disappointed about the choices Samantha made. And the events leading up to the ending were just ludicrous of the eye-rolling variety.
Kinsella’s breezy and enjoyable writing style saved this book from being a total disaster, but overall it was nothing more than an average read – much less than what I’ve come to expect from this author. I do however recommend this book to chick lit/fiction fans alike for a light, humorous, romantic summer novel – if they are willing to deal with such an unbelievable plot.
The Undomestic Goddess
by Sophie Kinsella
The Dial Press