NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Your Life comes a humorous and heartwarming novel about family, set against the backdrop of the most fabulous party you’ve ever snuck into.
“Another triumph, packed with brilliant characters and madcap situations.”—Jill Mansell
It’s been almost two years since Effie’s beloved parents got divorced, destroying the image of the happy, loving childhood she thought she had. Since then, she’s become estranged from her father and embarked on a feud with his hot (and much younger) girlfriend, Krista. And now, more earth-shattering news: They’ve sold Greenoaks, the rambling Victorian country house Effie has always called home.
When Krista decides to throw a grand “house-cooling” party, Effie is originally left off the guest list—and then receives a last-minute “anti-invitation” (maybe it’s because she called Krista a gold-digger, but Krista totally deserved it, and it was mostly a joke anyway). Effie declines, but then remembers a beloved childhood treasure is still hidden in the house. Her only chance to retrieve it is to break into Greenoaks while everyone is busy celebrating. As Effie sneaks around the house, hiding under tables and peeping through trapdoors, she realizes the secrets Greenoaks holds aren’t just in the dusty passageways and hidden attics she grew up exploring. Watching how her sister, brother, and dad behave when they think no one is looking, Effie overhears conversations, makes discoveries, and begins to see her family in a new light. Then she runs into Joe—the love of her life, who long ago broke her heart, and who’s still as handsome and funny as ever—and even more truths emerge.
But will Effie act on these revelations? Will she stay hidden or step out into the party and take her place with her family? And truthfully, what did she really come back to Greenoaks for? Over the course of one blowout party, Effie realizes that she must be honest with herself and confront her past before she’ll ever be able to face her future.
Kinsella (Love Your Life) delivers a fizzy account of an unmoored 20-something woman and her family's drama. Effie Talbot's father, Tony, split up with her beloved stepmother 18 months earlier. Tony has a new girlfriend, Krista Coleman, a much younger woman whom Effie doesn't trust, which causes Effie's relationship with her father to suffer. Meanwhile, her love life is in a shambles and she has been laid off, and to make matters worse, Krista and Tony have put Greenoaks, the family home in Nutworth, West Sussex, up for sale. Krista is planning a "house-cooling" party, and though Effie initially determines not to go, she changes her mind after she remembers that her cherished Russian dolls are in the house and she wants them back. The dolls become a sort of leitmotif for the various characters' nested secrets: one revelation involves Effie's ex, whom she runs into at the party and who reveals that despite a seemingly perfect veneer, he's been dealing with clinical anxiety; another involves the state of Tony's finances as revealed by Krista. By the time Effie retrieves her dolls, much has been uncovered and she is the wiser and happier for it. Humorous and lighthearted, this successfully commits to the notion that, given time, love will prevail. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, Inkwell Management.
Not my favorite book of her’s but it’s not bad! I think I just felt like the beginning development was rushed so I wasn’t too invested in Effie.
I have never written a review but felt I needed to. I adore Sophie Kinsella and don’t mean to be mean. But this book really seems to not be by her or just not up to par with her others, particularly her Shopaholic series. This book is basically about nothing. It’s supposed to be about the shifting bonds of family relationships but in reality at least 100 pages is spent on the most frustratingly odd attempt by the heroine to sneak into the her soon to be sold family residence. Literally no one would act this way. Plus it’s just tedious to read the idiotic various places the heroine hides in her own house. She waxes on & on about the memory of every floorboard, attic, piece of furniture etc. But when suddenly she remembered how in love she was with the SHRUBS I almost could not finish.
I totally enjoyed this story, from cover to cover. The story is full of well developed, fun characters.