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by Sophie Kinsella

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 2001
ISBN: 0-385-33548-2
Publisher: Delta

Another bright young thing from London with a bad habit: shopping.

Rebecca Bloomwood is a financial journalist of sorts, offering sensible advice—which she seldom takes—in the glossy periodical Successful Saving. But she herself can’t resist a designer sale, the more useless and expensive a garment, the better. In fact, Rebecca harbors an irrational wish to be run over just so the world can see her new bra with embroidered yellow rosebuds and gorgeous matching knickers. Her pitiful salary, though, doesn’t allow for extravagances like these, and her overdraft allowance has been exceeded by several thousand pounds. An officious accounts manager named Derek Smeath sends increasingly less polite dunning notices every day, and her tall tales about broken legs and dead dogs and even a recent conversion to evangelical Christianity are failing to deter—or amuse—him. Meanwhile, perky flatmate Suze, the daughter of fabulously rich and indulgent parents, is little help, although she does fix Rebecca up with her equally wealthy cousin, Tarquin Cleath-Stuart. Dreaming wistfully of marrying money, Rebecca tries to impress the dull but sincere Tarquin by inventing a charity that provides violins for impoverished children in Mozambique—and is mortified when he immediately makes a donation of five thousand pounds, scribbling a cheque that she has to return. But there’s another man in her future: handsome Luke Brandon, a financial genius who devised a fund-switching scheme that seems to have deprived her parents’ neighbors—a well-meaning but slightly dotty old couple—of their nest egg. Outraged, Rebecca publicizes their plight on a morning TV show. Then Luke, a smooth operator in more ways than one, explains all—and beds her on their first date. But he won’t be the only one charmed by Rebecca’s wit and style.

A have-your-cake-and-eat-it romp, done with brio and not a syllable of moralizing. Newcomer Kinsella has a light touch and puckish humor.