Fleur is beautiful, unscrupulous, and has a large wardrobe of black designer suits. With the help of The Times announcements page she gatecrashes the funerals and memorial services of the wealthy, preying on rich, vulnerable men. She charms her way into their lives and onto their platinum credit cards, takes what she can, and then moves swiftly on.
When Richard, a dull but wealthy businessman, meets Fleur at his wife's memorial service, he's bowled over. Gradually Fleur works her spell on Richard's family - transforming their lives while she moves in on their wealth. But she finds herself lingering longer than she meant to ...
"Money is safety, darling," the delightfully wicked funeral crasher Fleur Daxeny advises her 13-year-old daughter after an almost perfect execution of her best skill: swindling wealthy widowers. In this modern-day novel of manners, Wickham's lively prose needles the British upper class with a mixture of suspense and wit. Armed with a closet full of designer black suits, the daily obituaries and a face that never betrays her 40 years, Fleur invades the funerals of the wealthy, enchantingly rich, grieving new widowers in need of a shoulder to cry on. She attends the memorial service of Emily Favour, whom she pretends was a long-lost acquaintance, and promptly lures the good-hearted Richard Favour into her web. Although his troubled daughter, Phillipa, and her crafty husband, Lambert, suspect serious gold digging, Fleur's beauty and charm dazzle them, and soon she's invited to live at the family estate in Surrey. What Fleur finds there is a gate-crasher's dream--a welcoming family, an accessible Gold Card and, after some snooping, a bank account worth millions. Even when Fleur's daughter, Zara, whom Fleur has neglected to mention, arrives unexpectedly from boarding school, the Favours make no fuss, welcoming the teen into the fold. As Fleur and Zara become comfortable with country club life, Fleur learns that she's not the only one scheming for Richard's money, and that Richard might not be as gullible as she thinks. But with Zara finally enjoying the stability of a real home, can Fleur leave so easily this time? Wickham (Swimming Pool Sunday) creates memorable characters who are as unpredictable and multifaceted as they are stylish. While the quick wrapup misses a cue, this novel is still jolly fun.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Absolutely loved it! So well written you can almost picture the people and surroundings
A good read but awful main character
I enjoyed this. I like madeleine whickham books. I found the characters quite interesting and enjoyed how they all had their own stories. Lambton was interesting to read about I really wanted to see him get what he deserved. Richard and the kids were great warm characters who grew a lot. I particularly felt for Richard and his realisation of his wife’s cruelty the scene when he lies to his son and tells him his mother loved him really hit me.My only major problem is fleur. As her alter ego Sophie kinsella Madeline Whickham has written lots of characters like fleur normally they are exposed and eventually redeem themselves. The book description certainly implies this “she not the only one after his money” in actual fact the book would have worked just as well without fleur as a main character. Yes she charms other put 90% of this is through pretence. What few positive traits she has are tainted. She loves her daughter but barely acknowledges her feelings. She worries about having nothing, that I get so that justifies her actions?Even her past and her parents death does not mark her sympathetic as we see her betray her only friend. Fleur barely has an growth any good she caused was a by product. She did help Phillipa grow but cared nothing fit her. She helped Richard get over his grief but never told him the whole truth. Still there are enough other characters viewpoints filling this to make it a good story despite fleur. Still worth a read
Fabulous read, another great book.