Dial Press Trade: New York, 2010
Twenty-something Lara's life is not going so well these days. Her boyfriend has dumped her, and to add insult to injury, her new business partner has run away to follow a man to Bali, with no plans to return, leaving Lara to keep things running on her own. When Emma attends her great-aunt Sadie's funeral, things reach a head: the ghost of Sadie as she was in her twenties (in the 1920s) begins to haunt her. Sadie appears only Lara, proclaiming that she won't be able to rest in peace until she is reunited with her favorite necklace. Lara, and the ghost of Sadie, are launched on a mad quest through London to fulfill Sadie's last wishes, and get to know each other better as they discover secrets hidden with the missing necklace. Though there are romantic elements typical of Kinsella's other works, this book is a departure in that the relationship of most central importance is firmly platonic. It is a fun, light, occasionally romantic read with lots of 1920s fashion and culture nods, and an undercurrent of mystery. I'd recommend it to female readers 15 and up.
I really enjoyed reading this one. As I mentioned, the focus is not on finding a man and thus fulfilling all your needs, but rather more holistic. Kinsella usually has plucky, if slightly lacking in confidence/brains protagonists, but I think the reason I liked this much more is because the romance with a dude is just kind of background, a device which actually tries and strengthens the development of the protagonist and her growing friendship with Sadie, which is truly the relationship at the heart of this book. Sure it is a silly premise, but it is a rare Chick Lit find in that it is smart enough to realize that romance doesn't solve everything; people need personal growth and development in addition to their white knight (or lady equivalent). Most important: it is a really fun read. Older teens and ladies* who don't get carded anymore, make sure to throw this in your beach bag this summer (along with a bottle of water and sunblock - don' be a dummy!).
*Especially read this if you're digging what appears to be a revival of 1920s culture - I'm looking at you, all you recently opened speakeasies! But honestly, if anyone wants to don a flapper dress, drink some giggle water, and learn the Charleston with me, I'm available.