I first discovered Sophie Kinsella’s books when I read Confessions of a Shopaholic. I found her writing style and characterization adorable and charming. So, I decided to see what else she had written.
Can You Keep a Secret? is similar to Confessions of a Shopaholic in that it features adorable female characters with a passion for fashion and who were working for companies that didn’t fully appreciate their efforts. But, the similarities in plot end there.
The delightful Emma Corrigan is doing her best to make it as a marketing assistant. However, when she takes a turbulent flight to a business meeting, she confesses all of her secrets to the man sitting next to her on the plane. Of course, this could have been any stranger at all, but it wouldn’t have a Kinsella book without him being the potential love interest. Jack Harper, as it turns out, is CEO of Emma’s company, and things then take a hilarious twist.
The Book Was a Roller Coaster
The rest of the book was filled with fun mistakes and humorous misunderstandings. Unlike Confessions of a Shopaholic, the book doesn’t have the straight-line feel of a fairy tale. Instead, it bounces around with the characters falling in love, and fighting, and falling in love again, and being confused, and all sorts of crazy emotional ups and downs.
Multiple times in the book I thought it would end with a happy ending or with a satisfying but sad one, only to have the next chapter bring a whole new turn of events.
I have to admit, by the time Emma and Jack finally end up together, I practically wanted to shout “just kiss her already!”
A Closer Look at the Characters
Sophie Kinsella does an excellent job of making her characters feel human. Emma Corrigan and her roommates portray a wide variety of women – each concerned with physical appearance, romance, and keeping her own secrets to herself. Though they are a little stereotyped (Jemima as the selfish one, Lissy the sweet yet smart one, and Emma the “normal” one who falls somewhere in the middle), they each have their faults and their accomplishments that set them apart as real people.
Additionally, the book is filled with human mistakes: botched dates, uncomfortable family get-togethers, spilled soda, and forgotten addresses. While the characters feel like real people by themselves, how they interact with each other during these events is what makes them stand out as well-written individuals. I didn’t feel like I was reading a book so much as eavesdropping on someone else’s life or hearing about them through office gossip.
Because of the great characterization and fun-filled story, I enjoyed the book.
I’d recommend it to a few of my friends.
You Should Know . . .
However, Can You Keep a Secret? is not as user-friendly as Confessions of a Shopaholic. It does have a great deal of swearing (which made me giggle since it was read in a British accent – I don’t know why this made me laugh, but there’s something about British swearing I find ridiculously funny. Perhaps that’s why I found the The King’s Speech enjoyable rather than offensive). I know to other cultures, the cursing used isn’t meant to be as offensive as it is here, but I feel you should have the heads up that the F-bomb is used fairly regularly.
Additionally, there is some sex in the book – not a lot and it’s not explicit. But, it is hinted at in some scenes and talked about briefly between characters as they gossip about their romantic relationships. This is the norm for many people outside of my belief, but I think books should be reader friendly for all ages, and this one might not be appropriate for young adults.
Overall, I found the book was fun to listen to, especially when read by Emily Gray. Her British accent and voice acting for all the characters (including the male ones) added a fun flair to the story. I didn’t think it as amazing as Confessions of a Shopaholic, but it did keep me entertained while I was at work.
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