A sinking real estate market can quickly turn into a rough patch for any family and that’s exactly what happens to the Chambers’ when they find themselves in arrears in Madeline Wickham’s A Desirable Residence. Though a too-good-to-be-true realtor comes to the rescue, Liz and Jonathan Chambers realize that, with two loans and a business to run, digging themselves out might not be as easy as they thought. Narrator Katherine Kellgren, best known for her work on the Bloody Jack series, perfects a lineup of suburban-London accents to give each of the Chambers’, the real estate agent and his family, a pair of tenants, and a parade of other characters their own unique emphasis, pacing, and tone. From Liz’s streak of entitlement to her daughter’s perpetual “My parents are so embarrassing” attitude, and from the smooth-talking real estate agent to the overwhelmed Jonathan, she keeps the characters interesting and engaging.
Liz and Jonathan think they’re seeing their dreams come true when they’re finally able to buy a tutorial college, but the mortgage on the building along with the mortgage they’re still paying on their former home is more than they can afford. On the advice of their real estate agent, Marcus, they move into a tiny flat with their 14-year-old daughter, Alice, and rent out their house to an unemployed actor and his wife. But while Alice makes friends with the tenants (and then develops a raging, teenage crush on the actor), Liz and Marcus start an affair of their own and soon all three families are caught in an awkward jumble. Wickham is no stranger to writing about the perils of stretching your budget too thin she also wrote the Shopaholic series as Sophie Kinsella and she brings the same wit and likeability to these characters; even though they aren’t always nice to each other, you still want them to work it out in the end. Blythe Copeland
From the author of the sensational best-selling Sophie Kinsella novels and the New York Times best sellers The Wedding Girl and Sleeping Arrangements, comes a wicked comedy of adultery, angst, and modern marriage.
The asking price for this house includes a stunning renovation of hearts and dreams....Liz and Jonathan Chambers were stuck with two mortgages, mounting debts, and a miserable adolescent daughter. Then realtor Marcus Witherstone came into their lives—and it seemed he would solve all their problems. He knew the perfect tenants from London who would rent their old house: a glamorous PR girl, Ginny, and her almost-famous husband, Piers. But soon Liz is lost in blissful dreams of Marcus, Jonathan is left to run their business, and neither of them has time to notice that their teenage daughter is developing an unhealthy passion for the tenants, Piers and Ginny. Everyone is tangled up with everyone else, and in the most awkward possible way. As events close in, they all begin to realize that some deceptions are just a bit too close to home.
A Desirable Residence is sure to continue the phenomenal success of the Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickham franchise.
©1996 Madeleine Wickham (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
"Chick lit superstar Wickham is in stellar form in her latest, a story of intersecting fates set in suburban London....A well-executed and unexpected ending caps the dizzying action and demonstrates why Wickham is so deservedly on her genre's A-list." (Publishers Weekly)
I have read all of Madeleine Wickham's other books (including those authored as Sophie Kinsella) and enjoyed them greatly. This book was disappointing because I found I could not sympathize in any way with the main character, Liz. Other lead characters in Wickham's books are quirky and unorthodox, yet you find a way to like them. That was not the case for me with this book. I have devoured other Wickham/Kinsella books, but this one kept getting put aside as it never hooked me.
I had great hopes for this book because of how much I have enjoyed Madeleine Wickham's books under the pen name of Sophie Kinsella, but I was sadly disappointed. The characters in the book were neither likable nor memorable, and the ending was highly anti-climactic. At the end of the book, nothing much had happened which made the reading of it seem like a waste of time.
I really loved the "Shopaholic" series as the light-hearted fluff they are meant to be so expected "A Desirable Residence" to be more of the escapist genre I have come to expect from this author. Instead I was treated to a rather pointless story of a woman's rather sordid, very tasteless affair. Although the story ended on 1 upbeat note, most of it was dull and uninteresting. I listened to the end because I kept expecting SOMETHING to happen, but nothing ever did. I am sure I will read more of this author's work, but I will not buy it in audiobook form.
As for the reader, she did an excellent job of defining the various characters, I am sorry to say that she was wasted on this book.
It took me a while to grasp all the characters and how they are intertwined. Not much happening in the storyline. Did not like how it ended as well...
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