Sophie Kinsella, author of the popular Shopaholic series featuring Becky Bloomwood, has introduced a new heroine in her latest novel The Undomestic Goddess. The “goddess” in question is Samantha Sweeting, a twenty-nine-year-old lawyer on the fast track to becoming partner at swanky law firm Carter Spink. Although Sam loves her job and wants nothing more than to be a partner, she has no social life to speak of, is stressed out beyond belief, and her high-powered mother and brother can’t even make the time to join her for her latest birthday celebration. All of this seems worth it, though, when she finds out that she has achieved her biggest goal—she has become a partner at Carter Spink. Unfortunately, the joy is short-lived. Sam finds some papers buried on her desk that she apparently forgot to file—and that little mistake has cost one of their clients fifty million pounds.
In a panic, Sam rushes out of the office, takes a train, and ends up in a small suburb of London, lost and terrified. She ends up on the doorstep of Trish and Eddie Geiger, who mistake her for a housekeeper come to apply for a job. Wanting only a place to crash for the night and to get her head in order, Sam unwittingly takes the job. When she finds out that she no longer has a career at Carter Spink, she decides to stick it out at the Geigers for a while. The problem? She doesn’t know how to cook or clean. And though Trish and Eddie are easy to fool, the hot gardener isn’t so gullible.
Unlike Becky Bloomwood, who was a bit too air-headed and ditzy for my liking, the character of Samantha Sweeting is smart, gutsy and easy to root for. It’s easy to see why the gardener ends up falling for her, and their chemistry works beautifully throughout the book. Secondary characters also shine with life. Kinsella rarely makes the mistake of creating a character who falls into the ‘good guy/bad guy’ mold and most of the supporting cast are realistic and multi-dimensional.
Like the Shopaholic series, the plot of The Undomestic Goddess requires the reader to suspend a bit of belief. For instance, it’s a little difficult to buy that a high-powered lawyer would blunder her way into a job as a housekeeper and even harder to believe that a woman who couldn’t boil an egg learns how to cook gourmet meals in only a few weeks. However, if you don’t take the story too seriously, you won’t mind these unrealistic bits and instead focus on the great characters and funny situations.
If you liked the Shopaholic series, you’ll surely love Kinsella’s new book. And, if you’re like me and found Becky Bloomwood a bit too flighty, you’ll find much more to like in Samantha Sweeting. The Undomestic Goddess is recommended to anyone who likes light, cute romances with a generous sprinkling of humor.