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.
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!