Tag Archives: Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic to the Stars- Sophie Kinsella

Well what can be said of the latest instalment of Becky Bloomwood’s life? I’ve been following Becky’s story for many years now and I always enjoy following her crazy adventurous spirit.

Shopaholic to the Stars is well written, well-paced and is consistent, as I’ve said before these are three things all good books should be. Kinsella’s depiction of Becky Bloomwood truly makes her character and spirit come alive off the page. It’s the kind of world you wouldn’t mind being a fly on the wall of.

By chapter 3 I was totally imbedded into Becky’s story. I had become emotionally invested in Becky’s family, friends and life in general, any reader paying attention will find the same- I wanted Becky to prosper and have every positive outcome possible. Kinsella, in my opinion, just has that knack of revealing just enough detail; at just the right time. The surprises are constantly flowing but you never get distracted from the main plot. The minor characters Kinsella interjects throughout add detail and flavour to the story. Shopaholic to the Stars is anything other than predictable.

shopaholic to the stars

The strongest emotion I felt whilst reading Shopaholic to the Stars was frustration. This was a consistent feeling I had- not towards the author, but rather Becky herself. This novel and the subsequent instalment to follow, I expect will prove to be the steepest learning curve for Becky Bloomwood since the very first novel in the series, Confessions of a Shopaholic. There were times I simply wanted to jump into the pages and scream at Becky, maybe shake her round the shoulders a bit! But it certainly says something of the skill of the author when then written word can fuel such a charged emotion for an extended period of time.

The last two chapters are the most dynamic and explosive regarding the plot, but as usual Kinsella delivers a stylish adventure with pizazz and panache. This novel is full of lively characters old and new and compelling plot twists. Stylistically I find most of Kinsella’s novels follow a pattern common to many other novels categorised as ‘chick-lit’; but that doesn’t mean that their not worth reading- far from it! Kinsella’s style is easy to read, almost conversational, if you haven’t got a lot of time to read, or like to read in short bursts Kinsella is a writer you should definitely try.

I wouldn’t say this is the ideal novel to read as a stand-alone. It would definitely provide a better experience for the reader if you were to start from the beginning of the series; which is something I sincerely recommend you do (don’t just watch the terrible movie and then think you can pick up the story from Shopaholic to the Stars)!

Overall Shopaholic to the Stars is an enjoyable read, but admittedly I’m not a fan of the cliff-hanger ending Kinsella leaves you with. Now don’t panic Kinsella is already promoting the next instalment so I’ll be reviewing that as soon as possible, but for now we’ll all just have to wait!

© Gemma Feltham 17 July 2015

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Wedding Night- Sophie Kinsella

Recently I’ve had a break from reading, throwing myself into other enjoyable creative outlets. But I’ve found my way back to the wonder of the written word and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I chose the novel Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella simply because, it’s written by one of my favourite authors. It’s a method of choosing a book which has been tried and tested and I’m rarely disappointed.

wedding night

I found Wedding Night a refreshing take on the romantic ‘chick lit’ novel. Without giving too much of the premise of the book away, I enjoyed the sisterly dynamic between the two female protagonists. It’s more common for ‘chick-lit’ to feature best-friends in this dynamic rather than sisters. Being an elder sister to two siblings, it’s a relationship I can easily identify with which made the novel even more engrossing. I found myself wondering ‘Would I have said that?’, or getting excited when I thought ‘I would definitely have done that’!

After a somewhat slow start, by chapter 10 the events have spiralled and the pace becomes much more frantic and exciting. In some places I felt the novel focused too much on the sexual element, but it does undeniably have its place in the plot of the novel. With a fast paced the plot thickens rapidly. There is a wide variety of characters, a good mix of antagonists and protagonists and in general there’s an interesting mix of encounters; that many readers will find lively and will easily identify with.

Despite the pace of events, character development in Wedding Night is steady. Some may feel it’s a little slow but I find that it’s a common trait in novels which shift perspectives regularly throughout. Kinsella skilfully builds relationships, bridges the two perspectives where events require it and reveals character traits through interesting and often amusing events and circumstances. The result is believable characters, you know who you like and who you don’t. As a reader I quickly discovered characters who infuriated me and those who brought out the romantic side of me. It is a testament to the author who can induce such an emotional response.

Wedding Night is a whirlwind of emotion, the pace once it gets going it doesn’t let up- I couldn’t put it down. Whilst some of the events I imagine will only ever happen in novels and films, there was enough real character, real emotion and realistic dialogue to carry those more theatrical plot twists. The flow of the novel is steady, it keeps up with the pace of events and there were enough plot twists to make every chapter interesting.

Whether you are familiar with Kinsella’s work or not I strongly recommend you give Wedding Night a go. It’s the perfect novel for fans of romance and ‘chick-lit’ fiction but it would also suit readers who generally prefer more light-hearted reading and happy endings.

© Gemma Feltham 22 April 2015

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The Tennis Party- Sophie Kinsella writing as Madeleine Wickham

The Tennis Party is much like many of Kinsella/ Wickham’s novels- well written, well –paced and consistent, three things all good books should be. Add funny to the mix and you’ve got a perfect read for all seasons. Although this is definitely the perfect novel for reading at the beach or on a sun-lounger, I enjoyed it just as much on a cold December night, tucked up in bed; reminiscing about the sunny days of July and August.

The novel’s opening chapter introduces the reader immediately to three of the four couples who are the focus of the plot. You will quickly discover those you like (Stephen and Annie) and those you’re not quite sure about yet (Caroline). By the end of chapter three the characters who had stolen my heart were Georgina and Nicola. You only have to read these first three chapters to understand why. The friendship, which appears to have stood the test of time, between Georgina and Nicola brings back memories of your first ever best friend, all the things you did together and all the reasons why you were friends. It’s a trip down memory lane that I expect almost everyone can relate too.

This brings me to take note of one of Kinsella/Wickham’s most obvious skills and stylistic approaches. Her ability to have a character deliver a line which is not only something the reader themselves wishes they had the courage to say, but also to convey it exactly how you imagined you would say it yourself. It’s this skill and talent that makes the characters of the novel so relatable- even if the actual settings of the novel are only familiar to a few readers. This is much more than ‘chick-lit’. I enjoy Kinsella/ Wickham’s work so much that I would even go so far as to say, that her work can be viewed as every bit the social comedy of the twenty first Century, that Jane Austen’s is of the nineteenth Century. There are twists and turns in what feels like every turn of the page, but Kinsella/ Wickham always gives just enough detail without giving away any surprises. By chapter eight the reader is starting to see the perfect worlds of our couples disintegrate.

The Tennis Party

Although the exact events within the pages of The Tennis Party may not occur in everyone’s world, the key issue of miscommunication most certainly does, and the mind boggles at the extent that some people will go to; too avoid talking about their problems. The fast pace of the novel makes the character revelations- in particular those of Charles, Cressida, Patrick, Caroline and Ella- all the more shocking. You expect to be surprised, but I did not expect what I received at the end of Chapter nine!

The Tennis Party is a story of rise and fall, friendship, love, self-realisation and self-development.  It’s also a novel that could be interpreted in many different ways. It could be a feminist piece displaying men in a particularly unkind light, or a social commentary on the fabulously wealthy, their lifestyles and the consequences of money. I choose to view it as an easy, entertaining read with a not-so hidden moral that communication is always better for a relationship, one way or another.

The final two chapters of The Tennis Party are extremely explosive and here readers will suddenly decide in-definitely who they like and who they don’t, and in doing so will probably find that their opinions of a few people have changed, during the course of the book. But having said that, by the end of the novel I felt underwhelmed- in my opinion there was minimal resolution given for any of the problems which came to light.

Overall The Tennis Party is a good read and I couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed it’s narrative style and humorous delivery, but my personal preference for having nice clean endings with everything explained and tied up, made me feel that the ending was lacking somewhat.

© Gemma Feltham 21st December 2013 

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