The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

February 20, 2013

The Undomestic Goddess Plot summary (from the publisher): 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?

Warning: Spoilers below!

Liked:

  • Lawyer Samantha was a far more interesting character than Housemaid Samantha. She was smart, decisive, and competent. I actually enjoyed reading about her Carter Spink existence more than the domestic stuff.
  • The token crazy best friend was fun, too. Unfortunately, she was in so few scenes that I’ve forgotten her name already. However, I did like how she told Trish and Eddie that it was Samantha’s birthday (even though it wasn’t), which led to an embarrassing situation for Samantha.

Disliked:

  • The plot was highly unbelievable. I mean, completely and totally implausible. Even making for the usual allowances required of fiction readers, there was very, very little in this book that made sense.
  • I couldn’t stand how Samantha was portrayed as a total nitwit when it came to domestic duties. She was supposed to have an IQ of 158, right? So even if she’d never ironed a shirt, done a load of laundry, or purchased archipelago candles before in her life, she could certainly have checked out Google or YouTube for some advice. Good grief.
  • How convenience that Nathaniel’s mother was an expert cook (who could make menu items from one of the swankiest restaurants in London, no less) and had loads of spare time to teach Samantha everything she needed to know in one week.
  • Did I miss something or did Kinsella fail to resolve the bit about Eddie being poised to sign a terrible real estate contract? I remember Samantha spilling coffee to have the signing delayed and then convincing Eddie to get a second opinion from another lawyer, but that’s about it. Was that all there was to that particular subplot?
  • I thought it was utterly ridiculous that Samantha entertained notions of staying on as housekeeper even after her cover was blown and everyone knew she was a lawyer. I get that she preferred a quieter, more leisurely existence, but there are a hundred other jobs that could give her the same freedoms while utilizing her intelligence and skills.
  • Nathaniel was too good to be true as well. Obviously, that’s to be expected (to a certain extent) for the male lead in a chick lit book, but still. And he wasn’t even interesting at all. It seems that the sole reason Samantha fell for him was that he had a nice body and was the only single male for miles around.
  • It took far too long for Samantha to be revealed as a lawyer. There just wasn’t enough action or suspense leading up to the reveal to keep the secret hidden that long.

Rating:

I read this book on the strength of Sophie Kinsella’s Twenties Girl, but found The Undomestic Goddess to be a huge disappointment. This novel suffers from lack of believability at nearly every turn and a severely dumbed-down protagonist who irritated more often than not. I give it 2 stars out of 5.

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