Sunday, 17 August 2008

The Secret Shopper's Revenge by Kate Harrison

IT'S chicklit of the best sort, and it's a bildungsroman too.
Emily is a single mother. She never intended to be, but her up-and-coming businessman husband up and went. Now he's in Switzerland with lover Heidi, and Emily's subsisting on subsistence payments with baby Freddie.
Sandie is the corporate woman. Her toe is on the threshold of the boardroom, she coaches her Lord Dim boss in strategy and figures, and he brings her for cosy suppers.
Grazia is a redundant muse - the artist she inspired and adored and nursed has died and left her with no purpose in life.
But the fate that brings these three together changes every one of them. Not to mention serving up the most satisfying comeuppance to the baddies who do them down.
There are great villains: Emily's ex, slimy little Duncan; the horrid Marsha, who patronises her customers and cheats her bosses; Grazia's anonymous phone-caller.
At the start, Emily is a child, still in thrall to the creepy boy-next-door she married, who calls her Chubster and Piglet. And Sandie and Grazia? They have their secrets and their insecurities.
As the three become mystery shoppers, turning their cameras on shops and businesses to find out who's caring for customers and who's walking all over them, they grow and change.
This is a Cinderella story - three Cinderellas, really - and as yummy and comforting as a big box of liqueur-filled chocolates.
If the sun is shining, take it to the beach. If the day feels as if someone opened a zip in a water-filled sky, curl up beside a turf fire with the duvet around you, good music and a box of Lily O'Brien's chocs, and sink into that chicky enjoyment.

No comments: