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This book is written by the more well known chick lit author Sophie Kinsella but she wrote some books many years ago through the name Madeleine Wickham. She says on the inside cover of this book that the style of the book is written in a different way to the style she writes in as Sophie Kinsella.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I do prefer the books by Sophie Kinsella writing as Sophie Kinsella but the Madeleine Wickham ones are good as well. The plot of this book is based around a holiday home in Spain, whereby a man who doesn't feature much in the book called Gerard lets his holiday home out to 2 different families at the same time. The mother/wife in one of the families had an intense fling 15 years prior to the holiday with the father/husband of the other family. As you can imagine, there are many uncomfortable situations that the families find themselves in and soon enough the inevitable happens! I won't go into too much detail as I don't want to give the storyline away completely but there are many threads to the story. A teenage romance blossoms, a father is reconnected with his daughters and there are many tears and laughs along the way.
Although I enjoyed the plot of the book I sometimes found that I got confused with remembering which woman was married to which man. I'm not sure if the way that it was written led the reader to not be able to distinguish between characters enough but I did sometimes get confused. The author was able to capture the thoughts and actions of the teenagers very realistically as well as the adults. I was slightly disappointed with the ending as I expected there to be more of a conclusion to the story but it was still a good book to read. As always I did get hooked on the book and found it hard to put down. They are quite easy reading and ideal for reading on a beach or by the pool.
This can be purchased for £3.43 on Amazon, although I have seen them for sale in Asda at a similar price.
I ended up having 2 copies of this book. I had bought it a while back as I am a fan of this author - Madeline Wickham is the real name of the author Sophie Kinsella, so after reading all Sophie's books then I started to search for the ones under Madeline which there are a few. I don't find them as enjoyable as the Shopaholic books as they are a little different in reading style, but I still like them nonetheless. Anyway how did I end up with 2 of the same book? Well as I stated I bought 1 of them, but I got the other one free when I bought Mini Shopaholic when it came out on Paperback. So 2 books for under £4 was good for me.
The book is about 2 seperate families who don't know about each other. There is Chloe, Phillip, Nat and Sam who are 1 family, and Hugh, Amanda, Beatrice and Octavia who are the other family. Chloe and Phillip have been together for 15 years. They aren't married but are happy how they are. Sam is Chloe's son from a previous relationship and Nat is their son together. Chloe and Phillip both work hard. Chloe works in her own dress fitting shop and we don't hear much about Phillip's work as they are going on holiday and Chloe has banned Phillip from talking about his work as things aren't going too well in his job (we find out a bit about it later in the book). Hugh and Amanda are married but you get the impression that it isn't the happiest of marriages. Amanda seems to be a bit demanding, and you get the feeling that Hugh just goes along with thing just so he can get a bit peace and quiet. Their 2 children are well behaved but are more around their mother than their father as he is always working late and never around so much.
Both families are preparing to go on holiday, but they aren't aware that the Villa that they are staying is double booked and both families are due to stay at the same time. They have booked it from a friend, so surely the friend knew about the double booking? Is their any reason that he has allowed the Villa to be booked at the same time? You will have to read the book and find out. I don't want to give any of the book away but it seems that perhaps the families do know each other, well 1 person from each familiy seems to know 1 person from the other family, so is this why this person allowed the double booking? Does the person who rented his Villa out know that the 2 people know each other? You will have to read and find out.
I found this to be an alright book. It's not the longest book that I have read, but everything fitted in fine and I found that the book didn't waffle on as it wasn't padded out and make storylines go on too long. I would recommend this to read, but it isn't my favourite book by this author under this name.
Sleeping Arrangements is written by Madeline Wickham, who you may know as Sophie Kinsella. She writes this book (and many others) under her real name (Wickham) to differentiate between her "Shopaholic" novels and her other fiction. This is explained in the foreword.
I bought this book along with a Shopaholic book in a 2-pack from Asda for £2. I believe the normal retail price is around £4.99 but obviously this varies from shop to shop and when on offer. I am a big Shopaholic fan and love Kinsella's other books, so thought I'd give this a go along with the Shopaholic book.
So what is the book about? Well we meet 2 families. One family is Chloe, who is the partner of Phillip. They aren't married but they do have a 16 year old son called Sam (adopted by Phillip) and a younger son called Nat. The other family features a married couple Hugh and Amanda, who have two young girls called Beatrice and Octavia.
Chloe and Phillip have been together 15 years, both work hard and seem happy although Phillip has work troubles (redundancy). Amanda and Hugh seem to be quite distant, he is a workaholic who barely knows his children, and she is obsessed with running the home etc.
We see both families prepare to go on holiday to Spain, where it transpires that the friend who lent them the villa has double booked them. We later discover there is history between Hugh and Chloe, and work links between Phillip and Hugh. The story focusses on 3 days of the holiday where the couples learn about each other and realise they are there together deliberately. The cracks in their relationships are discovered and we get in-depth knowledge of their pasts and relationship. We see how they became how they are, and how they actually are with each other.
The childrens characters are not as focussed on, although they do feature throughout the book obviously.
There isn't much to be said about this book without divulging the plot too much, but suffice to say it is a good, light refreshing read. It isn't full of suspense but it does intrigue the reader as we want to know how their relationships got to where they are, and whether or not their futures will work out as we think they will.
All in all, a good book, well worth a quick read.
This is a review of the 2010 book 'Sleeping Arrangements' by Madeleine Wickham, who is also well known as the Shopaholic series author Sophie Kinsella. In her foreword, she explains that Madeleine Wickham is her real name. I guess her other series is so well known she has a good reason to maintain two identities!
Bit about the story
In Sleeping Arrangements, two families are double booked into a mutual friend's villa, and they grudgingly agree to share the fabulous holiday home for a week. The reader is party to a number of dubious undertone relationships between the families for past, present and future and it looks like they are heading for one big argument.
Good if you just want a light read
Without wanting to give away further information on the plot, I'd say this is an ideal light hearted holiday read but I also have to say it took me only just over an hour to read this book, and I didn't get that into the storyline, it just wasn't that deep a read for me.
A few interesting characters form part of the storyline with four kids, a nanny, and two sets of parents. I found the budding relationship between the young-ish nanny and the 16 year old son a bit disconcerting and wrong, but the other children were not really developed much as characters.
Couples... well matched or not?
Well-to-do couple Amanda and Hugh come across as fairly shallow, and I didn't take to them very much. The other couple Chloe and Philip are a bit bored of each other and seem to have lost their spark. Whilst it's not exactly a 'wife swap' situation, you half expect it to happen!
Both couples seem to seek solace in the bottom of a wine bottle, and if I drank that much on holiday I'd spend the entire week in a gruesome hangover.
All in all, the book only covers three days and I felt it was just lacking some content really. I enjoyed the Kinsella novels in the past but perhaps this one just wasn't for me.