>> Thursday, May 23, 2013
Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier: She is about to marry her ideal man. But in one afternoon, everything begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill, but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!Poppy Wyatt is engaged to be married, and she, nothing-special, not-particularly-bright Poppy has managed to get a man (that's how she sees it) who's completely out of her league. Magnus is gorgeous, rich and a brilliant university lecturer, and seems to be madly in love with her. His parents might be awful and the wedding planning is a bit of a nightmare, but Poppy is deliriously happy.
Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.As Poppy juggles wedding preparations and mysterious phone calls, she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.
And then, in the confusion of a hotel fire drill, she loses her engagement ring, her super-special, been-in-Magnus'-family-for-generations engagement ring. Her panic is not helped when her mobile is then promptly stolen. She needs to be contactable in case someone at the hotel finds the ring! And then fate intervenes, when she finds a perfectly good mobile abandoned in a rubbish bin. It belongs to the PA to a businessman called Sam Roxton, who's not amused at the idea that it's now in Poppy's hands.
I keep forgetting just how much I enjoy Sophie Kinsella's books. Her plots often sound completely mad, the sort that would require a heroine (usually it's the heroine) with a poor grasp on reality and appropriate behaviour. But Kinsella's brilliance is that she manages to pull them off without having that sort of heroine. Take this one, for instance. That silly "Finders keepers!" bit on the blurb made it sound as if Poppy was a complete idiot, somehow on the run with this phone she has absolutely no right to, when the situation Kinsella actually creates is a lot more understandable.
When Sam Roxton calls the phone for the first time, Poppy does him quite a big favour (in quite the hilarious scene), and as a thank you, Sam grudgingly agrees to let her keep the phone for a little while longer, until the ring has appeared. She agrees to just forward him any messages or emails that arrive there, and the interaction sparked by this necessary contact soon develops into something more. Sam and Poppy end up texting back and forth about all sorts of things, including (since she can't resist the temptation of reading the emails before forwarding them -and I don't think I'd be strong enough not to, either!), Poppy's opinion of Sam's business behaviour and Sam's opinion on Poppy's personal life.
Obviously, there are some believability issues here on the technical front (why Sam couldn't get his PA's email account installed on his computer, or at least access to it, I don't know), but in terms of character and how these two people would behave, I had no trouble buying it, even when Poppy does step over the line completely. She doesn't start out by blithely start telling Sam how to run his business. At first it's "hmm, have you considered that maybe this person is doing this because of Y? She's sent other emails before saying this and this", and emboldened by the success of her initial advice, she gets more and more involved. I saw how it could happen, even as I was going "No, Poppy, no!".
Poppy and Sam's relationship develops through this email and text interaction, and I thought it was beautifully done. It's completely innocent at first, and only very gradually develops into something else. And while this happens, there is much hilarity. This is one seriously funny book, properly laugh-out-loud funny, the sort where you get funny looks from people around you. I love Kinsella's humour. It's self-deprecating and witty, and though sometimes it relies on embarrassing situations, there's never a cruel feel to it.
I also especially liked what Kinsella did with Magnus' parents. Both are successful public intellectuals, and Poppy is completely intimidated by them. And with good reason: they constantly ask her opinion about all sorts of things she has never even considered and knows nothing about (clearly, trying to put her on the spot and humiliate her), and they obviously consider her inferior and not worthy of their son. All I'll say is that everything's not what it first seems, and the scene where Poppy finally stands up for herself and finds out is really, really satisfying.
If you're ever in the mood for something frothy and funny, but with a real heart to it, then this is a great one to pick up.
MY GRADE: An A-.
AUDIOBOOK NOTES: There seem to be two different unabridged audiobooks for this one. Unfortunately, the one my library had was the one narrated by Jayne Entwistle, this one. The narration was utterly terrible. I immediately felt this was definitely not Poppy, and to me, she sounded like a complete idiot. I stuck it out for a couple of chapters, and then I just went and bought the ebook (even though it was expensive), since I was caught up by the story.