The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Normally, Sophie Kinsella’s books are a mix of cringe comedy, dumb antics (that lead to easily avoidable problems), and a healthy dose of uber-cute romance. It’s the third part of this recipe that keeps me coming back and reading more of her books. This one, however, lacked the spark between the romantic leads and veered much further into the territory of unbelievable than any of her other books.

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

The plot of this book was boring – there’s no other way to put it. There were only a handful of important plot points and the vast majority of the book was filler so dull that you could skip whole chapters and not miss a thing. Sure, the book had Kinsella’s signature colorful antics and predictable ‘character is in a tough spot they created for themselves’ scenes, but it was far more bland than her other books. Also, the plot really lost me when a high power lawyer stuck around in a housekeeping job instead of just finding a lower stress job in her own field. The fact that finding a different law-related job wasn’t ever brought up as an option really speaks to how forced the plot was. It was hard to buy into the idea that someone would choose to work for a family who treats you like dirt instead of working in your own field.

Samantha was a nonsensical character at best. Her decisions were impossible to justify and were even harder to believe. It’s impossible to root for a character who is so unrealistic that you can’t believe she would make the decisions she’s making. Nathaniel was very two dimensional – he hardly had any characteristics and seemed to only exist to end up with Samantha. The rest of the characters, from the lawyer’s at Samantha’s firm to her new employers as a maid were more or less just props to move the plot along. There was a stark lack of side-character driven subplots that really took away any depth from the book.

As I said before, one of the main appeals of Kinsella’s books is the romance. One thing she usually nails is the spark and romantic chemistry between characters. However, in this book, the main romance was a total flop. Samantha and Nathaniel had a total lack of chemistry and them ending up as a couple seemed very forced. It felt like Samantha was just desperate to get into a relationship and Nathaniel was the closest breathing male. I would have found it much more satisfactory if this book ended with Samantha not being in a couple and just working to find what makes her happy in life.

Unless you’re the kind of person who enjoys cringe comedy, I would give this book a pass. Sophie Kinsella has written better (though not much) romances that are much more worth your time (Can You Keep A Secret? and I’ve Got Your Number are better). If you’re looking for a great romance read, I’d recommend you take a look at Jasmine Guillory’s books or Helen Hoang’s books1/5

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  1. Gosh it’s been years since I read this book. I used to love Sophie’s books but I can honestly say I haven’t read any of her work in years. Blogging doesn’t leave me a lot of time for my own books. Great review. Pity it didn’t work for you.

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