SOCIETY GIRLS by Sarah Mason


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Chirpy provincial romance from second-novelist Mason (Playing James, 2004) revisits another sister of the gregarious Colshannon clan of Cornish.

Having returned from a disastrous around-the-world trip, and now living with her actor parents at their charming old house in Cornwall (prime Daphne du Maurier country), Clemmie, one of seven Colshannons (sister to Holly), temporarily works as a waitress at a café in Tintagel—yes, home to King Arthur! Her career is on hold for this installment, as she becomes caught up in the drama of reporter Holly’s Bristol Gazette, where the society pages editor, Emma McKellan, daughter to the rich solicitor Sir Christopher, has mysteriously disappeared without retrieving her effects at the office. Imperious Emma seems to be engaged to a handsome Cambridge boy, Charlie Davidson, the wedding planned shockingly for a week hence, but the father violently disapproves; Holly decides that Sir C is hiding his daughter and that this will be her big newspaper coup. While snooping around in Bristol, the sisters unearth some information about the drug case that Sir C was involved in. Emma, indeed, is discovered, pregnant and hiding from the selfsame Charlie, aka Martin Connelly, a young drug criminal Emma’s father put away in jail seven years before. Now, he’s preying on Emma out of a kind of sick revenge. The young women play fugitives in order to secrete Emma from the clutches of Martin, and eventually the whole family sets off to the south of France for a frolicsome week’s holiday. There are merry escapades among the 20-something pub set, and many changes of partners: the ubiquitous family friend Sam finds Clemmie more appealing than his affected “ra-ra” Charlotte, while lovable brother Barney takes up with a daughter from the rival Fothersby family—horrors! Meanwhile, eccentric mother Sorrel pipes in constantly, “What on earth are you wearing?”

Busy dialogue and much popping to and fro: the next episode will no doubt feature yet another sibling.

Pub Date: June 28th, 2005
ISBN: 0-345-46957-7
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2005


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