Who doesn’t love a story set in modern-day, crazy London?
Kinsella starts us off basically on the tube with Katie Brenner, who’s recently rebranded herself “Cat” in an attempt to escape from her country roots. Because being rural is just not cool in London. She works for a marketing (branding?) agency as a very junior research assistant, but she has hopes of moving up. She has the skill, but maybe not the luck.
Anyway, back to the opening. We get a hilarious picture of the morning commute. You might not think that could be funny, but in Katie’s voice, it definitely is. “Commuting in London is basically warfare,” but she still manages to provide us with some laugh-out-loud moments and this just sets the tone for the whole book, which is full of these moments.
Katie’s boss is a frazzled woman named Demeter who has a mild case of face blindness and can’t keep her employees—or her calendar—straight. Despite this, she’s known to be a bit of a branding genius and Katie’s constantly trying to get noticed by her. So she’s not happy when Demeter calls her in for some special task, only to find out she is to touch up Demeter’s roots in the office. Soon after that, she meets Alex, another rock star branding guy, but he’s actually young and pretty cute and even seems interested in Katie. She soon makes what appears to be a little headway in the office, getting herself into an important meeting. Then one of the other women in the office invites her to hang out. Things start to look up. Friends. Career growth.
Then the bottom falls out when she gets fired (I guess technically, laid off) by Demeter. She ends up back at her dad’s farm in Somerset, helping him get a new glamping business started. (Glamping is “glamour camping” for those not in the know.) She throws herself into that while desperately searching for a new job. Imagine her surprise when Demeter shows up at the newly opened glamping site… At first Katie actually goes a little mental and exacts some pretty funny revenge on Demeter, who doesn’t recognize her. But then everything changes when she finds out more about Demeter. And the book goes off in a direction that genuinely surprised me. When Alex appears at the farm, Katie doesn’t know what to think. Things are definitely not as they seem. I enjoyed the mild intrigue that follow.
The book’s really about being true to yourself and doing the right thing, and Katie’s a great character to experience it with. As I mentioned, it’s very funny throughout, but I should also mention that the dialogue is wonderful (humorous of course, but real and clever, too) and the characters are relatable. Katie’s great, Demeter’s surprising, Alex is sufficiently enchanting, and Katie’s dad and stepmom are both funny and engaging.
If you’re in the mood to laugh while getting a story that will still move you, then pick this one up.