Book: A Desirable Residence
Author: Sophie Kinsella writing as Madeleine Wickham
Synopsis: Liz and Jonathan Chambers are in trouble. They can’t sell their old house. They are now stuck with two mortgages, mountain debts and a miserable adolescent daughter who hadn’t wanted to move anyway. Then it seems Marcus Witherstone will solve all of their problems. He knows the perfect tenants from London who will rent their old house – glamorous PR girl Ginny and almost-famous Peirs. Everything should be okay right? Wrong. Marcus and Liz find themselves involved in a way no one intended, Jonathan is running a failing business alone and their neglected daughter, Alice, is developing a desperate passion for the tenants, Pieces and Ginny. How does everyone go on with life then?
While I love Sophie Kinsella’s books, I must admit it has been a bit difficult for me to fall in love with her books as Madeleine Wickham. This is her second book writing as Madeleine that I have read. The first one was Swimming Pool Sunday which also left me a bit on the fence when I was done. In A Desirable Residence, Wickham brings forth an unfolding drama consisting of three families that are intertwined and brought together by fate. Unfortunately, this story is one that we’ve heard several times before. A few pages in, I could already guess how this book would end.
My major qualm with this book is that I felt like the story was cut short too soon. Maybe it was designed to leave the reader in suspense. For me, towards the end is where the story actually began to pick it momentum. As mentioned, I felt that it was a bit easy to see where the story was going and once we got to the pinnacle point of the story, where the juicy action is expected to begin, it was suddenly concluded. I wish it could have been given at least some additional two hundred pages. Fortunately, there are a number of redeeming qualities to the book that make it worth reading. I’ve listed them below:
🍂 Use of dry humor: For me, any author who can properly bring in humor in their work gets a big yes from me. The story narrates the different characters’ thoughts using lovely humor that left me laughing out loud at several points.
🍂 Build of suspense: Despite the fact that you may already know what’s coming, I loved how the suspense was developed throughout the story. It was not easy to know when something would happen, when a character would turn against the other and so on.
🍂 Relevance of the book title: I genuinely love books that have a story that have relevance in regard to the book title. Several times, you read a book and later wonder to yourself, why the hell was this book called ‘X’. The plot of this story does revolve around a house and as you read it the more you understand why the book got named A Desirable Residence.
🍂 Unfolding drama: I loved that there was an interesting build of all the characters and their developing stories and how it would later be clear the different ways in which each character’s story was intertwined with the main story being told.
If someone made a movie of this book, I would gladly watch it as I’m sure it will be the sort of suspense-filled and steamy dramas that I love watching. While it only got three stars from me, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for some drama fiction to spice up their reading. Enjoy!
(Cover image courtesy of Fran Hogan).