The bold and bright cover of The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella was the first thing that drew me towards this book on the shelf. The second thing was the fact that it’s written by Sophie Kinsella, so I already knew it was going to be good.

I read this book back to back probably in the space of a week but it’s the kind of story you can read over and over again – no doubt I’ll be re-reading this whilst enjoying the sunshine this summer or by the pool if I ever get another holiday!

The Undomestic Goddess tells the story of high flying lawer Samantha who lives and breaths her work. She can barely get a break, meaning her social, family and home life have all fallen below par. But when she makes a huge mistake that costs her her job, she runs away and finds herself in a predicament working as a house keeper, despite never having done anything domestic before in her life. What ensues is a humourous and heart warming story where this previous workaholic learns how to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Book Review | The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella | Chick Lit

The blurd reads:

Samantha thrives under pressure. A high-powered London lawyer, all she can concentrate on is taking the next step in her career; eating, sleeping, seeing friends – even taking a breath – will have to wait.

But just when she’s about to get everything she has ever wanted, Samantha makes a mistake. A fifty-million-pound, career destroying mitake. Unable to face the consequences, she does the unimaginable and runs away…

Catching the first train she can, she finds herself in the countryside, outside a beautiful grand house. Mistaken for another woman, she falls into a new job as the family’s housekeeper.

Disaster ensues. In a blink, her life has shifted from writing briefs to washing them – and she has no idea how to work the washing machine. Let alone the oven. A former master of the takeaway menu, she’s now expected to whip up fine cuisine.

But gradually, she falls in lovr with her new life in a wholly unexpected way. Will her employers ever discover the truth? Will Samantha’s old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

The first thing I loved about this story is that the book is a decent size – a lot goes on which makes the story last longer. I found a lot of comparisons between this story and Sophie Kinsella’s other recent novel – My Not So Perfect Life – in the sense that both characters run away from the pressures of their career and fall into a whole new lifestyle.

Both end up in the rural countryside and soon realize that the slower pace of life and smaller things like letting go of your phone or appreciating the beauty in baking offers simple but more rewarding pleasures in life.

Even though Samantha is a high powered laywer in London, I could see some similarities between her life and mine. When I’m not working, I’m blogging. When I’m not blogging, I’m trying to fill up my social life. We do live in a fast paced society where we’re constantly switched on, so the messages and theme behind this story has taught me the joy of switching off.

I loved the intriguing character of Samantha’s love interest – the rugged gardener Nathaniel – and I really enjoyed reading their story unfold with tension and flirting. In fact, at parts, it was rather racy (in a classy way) and is a little bit more racy from what I usually read in Sophie’s novels – but I liked this!

There were some parts of the story that were a little unbelievable, like how Samantha got away with it for so long or even why she decided to play along and not own up – but they were believable enough to still enjoy. There was also a classic twist towards the end regarding Samantha’s career – if you’re a fan of Sophie’s writing, you probably spotted the twist a mile off but it was satisfactory nonetheless.

Some of my favourite parts of the book came with the moments Samanatha spent with Nathaniel’s mum where she learned how to bake. I love the way Sophie described the frustration of not knowing where to start with baking or when something goes wrong – but also the rewarding feeling when something is created through baking. It almost made me want to take up baking myself. Almost.

Overall though I enjoyed this story a lot and will likely re-read it a few times this summer. It’s a light hearted read – with some underlining thought provoking issues – and I don’t doubt that many copies will be read around the pool this summer.

Have you read any of Sophie Kinsella’s books lately? What are your thoughts? Let me know!

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It’s been a while since I’ve popped up a book review and that is honestly because I haven’t been reading as much lately and the books I have been reading haven’t been worthy of a review! But when I spotted Sophie Kinsella’s latest novel – My Not So Perfect Life – on sale recently, I made sure to pick it up.

I’ve enjoyed Sophie Kinsella’s writing for a long time now – I love how she’s unapologetically known as the queen of writing chick lit books – but cool chick lit books that shy away from the typical standards that you’d expect in such a story. She’s not afraid to tackle tougher subjects in her books, yet her writing is almost always relatable on some level or another.

Saying that, I can’t say I ever particularly became a fan of her Shopaholic series and didn’t read past the first couple of books. However, I loved I’ve Got Your Number and Remember Me? is still hands down one of my favourite novels of all time which has resulted in a creased dog eared copy that I read at least once a year.

Formidable Joy | UK Lifestyle Blog | Book Review | My Not So Perfect Life | Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect Life is probably the only recent work of hers I’ve picked up and after reading the blurb, I was curious to read the whole story.

The blurb reads -Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

The grass is always greener… with the right filter.

At first glance, I thought this book was a very on trend take on current issues we all face in the type of society we are, what with always being online. But I immediately thought it was an interesting twist – although the story touches on Katie Brenner creating a certain life via Instagram, her jealousy and envy of her boss – Demeter – is very real, happening right in front of her eyes. So it was an interesting take to indulge in the regular feeling a lot of us often have these days – envy for the picture perfect lives we see online and comparing ourselves to others – but this focuses on the jealousy we feel and develop in real life.

The story mostly focuses on this subject of course and we see a huge transformation in Katie’s life – from being a professional but quite frankly exhausted Londonite to slumming it back home in Somerset, swapping glamourous clothes for whatever is comfortable. The change is very subtle and gradual but we as readers can already see what’s right in front of our eyes – Katie is clearly much happier at home deep down, even though she doesn’t acknowledge this.

Throughout the book we learn more about Demeter too and within a few chapters we quickly learn just how different her life actually is as opposed to the life she portrays. Demeter was an interesting character – it was weird that we met her as a head strong b*tch boss, but midway through the book we’re feeling sorry for her and eventually come to love her as she lets her guard down and becomes a much more relatable person.

Katie’s character sounded almost like my inner monologue at most points – she’s determined to stick to her fast life in London, even if behind the scenes everything is less than perfect – by a lot. She’s got ambition. She’s headstrong and she’s honest. But she’s also very human too. It takes her a good while to see the truth about her own life – let alone her bosses – and though to us it might seem so obvious where her heart lies or where is best for her, she definitely does her fair share of denying.

This book is essentially about our portrayal of ourselves not just online but to everyone in general. We put a mask on and act like our life is perfect, but when the masks come off and the chips fall down, we’re all just pretty much the same and neither of us are better than the other, even if someone may have a higher position at work than you or more followers on Twitter.

There’s a few lovely side stories in this novel too – there’s a little romance, and it’s very interesting to see Katie take on the roll of helping her father and his partner launch a new glamping business. For Sophie’s readership, this part of the book was really quite fascinating, hearing about how Katie advertised the venture and helped promote the business. We are – as bloggers, at least – a society who take matters into our own hands – we plug our blogs relentlessly, we choose creative freelance work over stuffy ‘safe’ jobs and most of us are pretty much obsessed with social media – or at least fascinated by it – and it’s ability to drive revenue and custom.

So overall the smaller storylines in My Not So Perfect Life really helped to round out the book and change things up a bit. My Not So Perfect Life is a story that I’ll certainly read again and again and I think it’ll do well to help us all remember that no matter how jealous or envious we might be of someone, when the masks come off and the truth is revealed, we’re no better than each other – it’s not a competition and really there’s little to be jealous of.

Have you read My Not So Perfect Life yet? Let me know!

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