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In THE GATECRASHER, professional gold-digger Fleur Daxeny picks up desperate billionaire widowers at their wives' funerals and tries to get as much money out of them as she can before dumping them. When she meets recently widowed Richard Favour and plans on taking all of his money, she didn't expect to grow this fond of his family.
Multiple POVs done well!?
Not many authors can successfully pull off having multiple protagonists and point-of-views in a novel without utterly confusing and annoying the reader. THE GATECRASHER alternates between Fleur, Richard, and different family members.
Surprisingly, every single protagonist interested me. Sometimes, with different main characters I tend to get bored and pick a favorite, longing for their chapter to begin. But not this time. Wickham is excellent at creating characters and you can clearly tell that a lot of work went into building them. Everyone has their secrets, unique thoughts and desires. She adds bits of past events so skillfully into the storyline that you don't even notice that you're being fed information.
I expected Fleur to be the main character, but turns out she isn't really. The novel is more about Richard Favour and his family and what they're all hiding (or not).
More a character study than fun chick-lit
Aside from the main six, Wickham introduces a bunch of old golfer buddies of Emily that I was hardly able to keep up with. She throws around character relations and past events so quickly that I didn't even get who's related to whom. The whole community of Richard and Emily's golf club friends are just portrayed as a bunch of gossiping old couples that are absolutely not essential to the story. Still, it would have been nice if Wickham had bothered to make them a bit more prominent or at least give us an insight in the minds of the few that were actually close with the Favours.
In the second half of the novel this doesn't get very important anymore, because the novel becomes an in-depth character study of the Favours and Daxenys. There's not really much to say about the plot, it completely centers around "The Maples", the Favour's family estate. Wickham doesn't need anything but the characters' backstories to fuel her story, but at times I wished for a more defined plot. I felt like the novel was going nowhere and essentially, I could have stopped at any time and picked up 50 pages later without really missing anything.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
THE GATECRASHER has a gossip-girl feel to it. It's all about intrigues, about lying and about trying to deal with consequences. It's not as upbeat as you'd expect a chick-lit book to be and definitely unlike the Sophie Kinsella novels.
Still, her excellent character development -and building makes you want to continue and find out everyone's secrets. Not as good as Kinsella- but still an average, quick read.
"Everything's coming up roses for Fleur Daxeny, as she goes through more rich men than she does designer hats....if that's humanly possible. Beautiful, charming, and utterly irresistible, her success at crashing funerals to find wealthy men is remarkable. But behind Fleur's Harvey Nichols wardrobe, is a woman with a mysterious past.
Fleur wastes no time in seducing her latest conquest, the handsome and rich widower Richard Favour, and she swoops into his life like a designer-clad tornado. His children are caught up in a whirlwind as their father's new girlfriend descends on the family estate leaving chaos and excitement in her perfume-scented wake. Soon, more than one family member is suspicious of Fleur's true intentions.
Fleur is not one to wear her heart on her Chanel sleeves, but she soon finds herself embracing Richard and his lovable family. But just as Fleur contemplates jumping off the gold-digger train for good and enjoying the ride of true love, a long-buried secret from her past threatens to destroy her new family. Fleur is thrown into a race against time to prove herself to Richard before it's too late. Can she trust her heart or will she cut ties and run away as fast as her Prada pumps can take her?"