SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS THE FOURTH BOOK IN THE SHOPAHOLIC SERIES AND THEREFORE THERE ARE DETAILS THAT MAY BE REVEALED ABOUT THE EARLIER BOOKS IN THE SERIES
“Shopaholic & Sister” by Sophie Kinsella is the fourth book in the Shopaholic series. This book once again follows Becky Brandon (neé Bloomwood) on her many adventures. The book picks up with Luke and Becky on the tenth month of their yearlong honeymoon. After ten months they are starting to feel a bit homesick and so they change their plans and come home earlier than planned. They make one more stop before returning home – Milan.
Once in the fashion capital of the world, Becky gets a little irritated at Luke for his comment to control herself while they are in Milan. In an effort to show her dedication to soak up the culture rather than go shopping, Becky tells Luke to take her purse to prove that she doesn’t need to go shopping. He actually takes it and leaves her in a rather challenging situation. “As the door closes I feel a tad disgruntled. Little does Luke know. Little does Luke know I was actually planning to buy him a present today. Years ago, when I first met him, Luke had this belt which he really loved, made of gorgeous Italian leather. But he left it in the bathroom one day and it got hot leg-wax on it.
Which was not entirely my fault. Like I told him, when you’re in total agony, you don’t think “What would be the most suitable implement to scrape burning wax off my shins?” You just grab the nearest thing.” (Shopaholic & Sister, pg 29). I thought this was pretty funny. Having dealt with hot wax before, I can completely understand her reaction. After Luke left, Becky decides to venture out with the small amount of cash she had on her. Of course she also had her emergency credit card glued to the inside of a compact mirror. She stops at a leather goods store to find the belt for Luke and meets a man that helps her out: Nathan Temple. He helps Becky acquire an angel bag – the must-have item that is impossible to get. Elated at her new bag, she doesn’t even consider the ramifications of owing a debt to someone she had never met before.
Luke and Becky head back to London after she gets her fabulous bag completely unaware that her exchange in Milan was the beginning of a bigger issue. Once they get back they happily head over to her parents’ house with big plans of a tearful reunion. Instead, Becky finds that her world has changed quite a bit. In her absence, a woman has surfaced and made contact with her parents – a sister. Becky also finds that things have changed with her best friend, Suze. Everything seems to have turned upside down in her world. Becky tries to cope with all of this and at the same time survive on a budget enforced by Luke and deal with the many, many purchases made during their honeymoon.
I really enjoyed reading about all these extra challenges that Becky has thrown at her. It’s interesting how much has changed in her life. She doesn’t have a full time job at this point, so Becky has to amuse herself (on a budget) while Luke is at work all the time. Then there is the issue of her family and friends becoming alienated from her when she was gone for such a long time. Becky is also coping with having a long-lost sister and is pretty ridiculous about the whole situation. Jess is the complete opposite of Becky. This becomes perfectly clear when she spells out that she hates shopping. Part of what I really enjoyed about the addition of Jess’s character in the Shopaholic series is that Becky is thrust into a situation that she cannot exactly talk herself out of. She has to work through her own selfish ways in order to make room for a relationship with a sister that she never knew she had. It’s nothing short of entertaining. Throughout all this mess, Becky also has the interaction in Milan come back and bite her in the ass. You can certainly count on Becky to bury her head in the sand and hide from all her problems.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I think it was yet another fun read in the Shopaholic series. It brings a lot of interesting issues to light, the challenges that you would face coming back from almost a year long hiatus: trying to find where you fit in other people’s lives now, how you would react and deal with a newly discovered family member, and also the additional challenges of meeting a new relative and having nothing in common with them. Not to mention coming back to reality after being on honeymoon for so long. It was really fun reading about Becky and how she dealt with these new challenges. As hilarious as ever, the fourth book in the Shopaholic series is well worth reading. Look below for a funny excerpt.
“But that’s so…narrow-minded! Most people have probably got a criminal record these days!” I gesture widely with my arms. “I mean, who sitting round this table does not have some kind of criminal record?”
There’s a short silence.
“Well,” says Luke. “I don’t. Gary doesn’t. You don’t.”
I look at him, taken aback. I suppose he’s right. I don’t.
That’s quite a surprise, actually. I’d always thought of myself as living on the edge.” (Shopaholic & Sister, pg 166)