Author: Sophie Kinsella, 2009
Genre: Chick Lit. Contemporary romance with supernatural twist.
Other Details: Paperback. 480 pages
Lara Lington is a 27-year old Londoner whose business partner has unexpectedly gone to Goa leaving Lara to cope with their floundering company. She's also has been dumped by her boyfriend though is frantically hoping that he'll realise she is the love of his life and they'll get back together. When her 105 year old Great-Aunt Sadie dies after residing for many years in a nursing home, Lara really isn't keen to attend the funeral. However, her parents insist. There are only a few people in attendance including her Uncle Bill, an arrogant self-made millionaire, and his spoilt daughter, Diamanté, who at 17 has her own trendy fashion label, Tutus and Pearls, that caters to young celebrities and those who wish to emulate them.
Lara suddenly hears a voice asking 'where is my necklace?'. No one else seems to have heard the voice and when it happens again Lara becomes quite concerned. Then she sees a girl about her own age with dark, bobbed hair wearing a slinky dress, who repeats the question. Lara soon realises that she is the only one who can see the girl, who introduces herself as Sadie Lancaster. Sadie demands that Lara stop the funeral until the necklace is found and returned to her. Lara manages this in a very funny scene and subsequently undertakes to help Sadie find her dragonfly necklace. This treasure hunt soon takes an unexpected turn and begins to uncover long buried secrets. As Lara spends time with Sadie, she also learns more about her early life and in turn Sadie helps Lara sort out her life.
Kinsella writes about the book: I've always loved the glamour and spirit of the 1920s, and the idea came to me of a flapper ghost. A feisty, fun, glamorous girl who adored to dance and drinks cocktails and get her own way. I wanted her to be a determined character who would blast into the life of someone with no warning and cause havoc. I then decided she should haunt a thoroughly modern girl, with all the culture clashes and comedy that would bring.
As with other Kinsella books, this was a delightful read, full of charm, quirky characters and laugh out loud moments. Yet I found it much more than a fluffy romp; there was an intriguing mystery at its heart and a coming of age story . It also offered some heart-warming and poignant reflections on life, love and growing older. As much as I enjoy her Shopaholic books, I really appreciated the greater depth of this one and consider it her best novel to date.