by Sophie Kinsella

July 2005
ISBN: 0-385-33868-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing

Samantha Sweeting is not your average workaholic. No, no, she’s above and beyond a workaholic. She lives and breathes for her job as an attorney at the very prestigious firm Carter Spink in London. Her dream is to make partner and she’ll do whatever it takes, put in whatever amount of hours needed, in order to achieve that goal. And it pays off… she’s about to become partner when she discovers a mistake. A blip. A huge financial loss (fifty million pounds huge!) that will ruin her standing in the law field and definitely obliterate any chance she has at making partner. And so… she freaks out.

Wandering aimlessly around town, and then further a field, she comes to Lower Ebury where she comes across a random house, hoping to get some aspirin and the information for a local hotel. Instead, she’s interviewed as a potential housekeep for Trish and Eddie Geiger. Samantha’s so out of it she doesn’t quite realize what’s going on, but when she realizes she’s being interviewed, her competitive streak comes out and she gives the best interview of her life…all of it lies. It wouldn’t be so bad if the Geiger’s hadn’t hired her on the spot, but oh no, now she’s their housekeeper and she knows zilch about domestic matters. Samantha can’t cook, she can’t clean and she certainly can’t iron, three chores the Geiger’s expect daily.

Though she wants to quit, knows she should quit, the fact of the matter is, Samantha needs a place to hide and the Geiger’s are providing the perfect place. Now if she could only figure out the pesky domestic issues of her job. For a woman with a genius I.Q., it shouldn’t be a problem, but Samantha quickly learns that spotting loopholes in contracts and making glazed apricots are two very different things. However, unexpected aid comes in the form of the Geiger’s gardener, handsome and brawny Nathaniel. Before Samantha quite knows what is happening, she’s become a housekeeper. A bad one, there’s no doubt about it, but she’s willing to learn and a part of her is relishing the break from being a busy and pressured London lawyer. But the real world isn’t going to stay away for long and Samantha is going to have to face reality, face her job, and face the truth about what she wants out of life.

The Undomestic Goddess is filled with the quick wit and charming characters that are typical of Sophie Kinsella’s previous novels. Ms. Kinsella has a knack for creating likable heroines, women who face the same problems and pressures that the ordinary woman faces, and Samantha Sweeting proves to be no different. She is the delightful combination of a big city lawyer and a woman who just wants to sit back and relax, a woman who isn’t the best cook and who detests laundry and ironing like everyone else. But Samantha rises to the challenge, and instead of lamenting her lost life, she embraces her new life, focusing on the good that has come out of her fifty million pound mistake.

This reviewer really enjoyed reading about Samantha’s domestic antics, the solutions she came up with for her lack of domestic skills, along with the compassion and creativity that was so much a part of her character. Though Samantha may remind readers of Becky Bloomwood, the heroine of Ms. Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, Samantha has charms, talents, and an attitude all her own. The Undomestic Goddess is as fun and frothy as the title suggests, but it also carries a serious message about the importance of dreams, goals, and an ability to adapt to life’s curveballs.

Reviewed in July 2005 by Sarah.

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