Friday, May 30, 2008

Cocktails for Three

Cocktails for Three by Madeleine Wickham, who also writes under Sophie Kinsella, is a fun chick lit novel, light and breezy as I like to say.

The novel centers around three friends who all work together at The Londoner (a magazine). Maggie is the career driven editor who is about to have her first baby and is nervous as hell about it. Roxanne is the freelancer who has been having a secret affair with the big boss man for the last six years. And Candice is a writer who has a heart of gold and feels guilty for her conman father who has screwed many people over the years.

The girls meet up once a month to gossip and catch up over cocktails. And that’s where Heather infiltrates their lives. Candice immediately recognizes her as a childhood friend whose family lost everything because of her father. Candice feels immense guilt over her father’s misdeeds and decides to make it up to Heather by getting her an interview at the magazine. Maggie and Roxanne are skeptical of Heather and warn Candice to be cautious.

Candice of course does not listen to the friendly advice and also invites Heather to move in with her (who does that by the way?). Little does she know that Heather is scheming to ruin her life. Maggie has her own problems. After the birth of her daughter, she cannot cope with motherhood and feels inadequate caring for her child (postpartum depression anyone). Roxanne is offered a great job opportunity in Cyprus and is deeply upset when her lover tells her to take it not. She does not know that he is dying from cancer.

They meet up for their monthly cocktail night when Candice drags along Heather. Maggie and Roxanne are not happy and this causes a rift between the three friends. The night ends badly with all three ladies upset at one another.

Eventually Heather’s shows her true colors and Candice is suspended from work for expense fraud. Candice has no one to turn to since her big fight with the other girls and must figure out how to clear her name. Will her friends come back to her in time?

I only picked up this book because I saw that Madeleine Wickham also writes as Sophie Kinsella, and I love Kinsella’s work. While I enjoyed Cocktails for Three, I think I prefer the writing style of Kinsella better. I always find it interesting when authors have multiple pen names. I know that some do it so that they can branch out of their typical genre and want to explore a different writing format or express themselves in another manner that may not be suitable to their typical reader. But in this instance it just seems weird that Kinsella would have another pen name in the same genre. The only real difference that I pick up on is that Wickham seems to be more mature chick lit, while Kinsella seems more whimsy hipper chick lit.

I may have to read them back to back to see if I can pick up any more differences between the two. I’m sure there has to be since she uses a pen name. I wonder which one is really her; maybe neither is her real name. Kinsella is definitely more successful and well known and has written more books.

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