The Gatecrasher

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Fleur Daxeny is beautiful, unscrupulous, and has a large wardrobe of black designer suits. With the help of the obituaries, she gate-crashes the funerals and memorial services of the wealthy, preying on rich and newly vulnerable men. Charming her way into their lives, their beds, and their bank accounts, she takes what she can and moves swiftly on." "This is her modus operandi when she waltzes into the memorial service for multimillionaire Richard Favour's wife. Mingling with the guests and sharing made-up ...
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Fleur Daxeny is beautiful, unscrupulous, and has a large wardrobe of black designer suits. With the help of the obituaries, she gate-crashes the funerals and memorial services of the wealthy, preying on rich and newly vulnerable men. Charming her way into their lives, their beds, and their bank accounts, she takes what she can and moves swiftly on." "This is her modus operandi when she waltzes into the memorial service for multimillionaire Richard Favour's wife. Mingling with the guests and sharing made-up recollections of the dearly departed, she dazzles Richard with her beauty and charm. Before the afternoon is over, she is gazing into Richard's eyes over a drink and offering her sincerest condolences. She soon moves into his posh mansion, shocking his relatives and scandalizing his golf club." "But then Fleur's scheme begins to fall apart. Lingering longer than she had planned, she becomes entangled in his family and their problems. As taboos are broken and long-held secrets emerge, Fleur discovers that she is not the only one after Richard's money.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Money is safety, darling," the delightfully wicked funeral crasher Fleur Daxeny advises her 13-year-old daughter after an almost perfect execution of her best skill: swindling wealthy widowers. In this modern-day novel of manners, Wickham's lively prose needles the British upper class with a mixture of suspense and wit. Armed with a closet full of designer black suits, the daily obituaries and a face that never betrays her 40 years, Fleur invades the funerals of the wealthy, enchantingly rich, grieving new widowers in need of a shoulder to cry on. She attends the memorial service of Emily Favour, whom she pretends was a long-lost acquaintance, and promptly lures the good-hearted Richard Favour into her web. Although his troubled daughter, Phillipa, and her crafty husband, Lambert, suspect serious gold digging, Fleur's beauty and charm dazzle them, and soon she's invited to live at the family estate in Surrey. What Fleur finds there is a gate-crasher's dream--a welcoming family, an accessible Gold Card and, after some snooping, a bank account worth millions. Even when Fleur's daughter, Zara, whom Fleur has neglected to mention, arrives unexpectedly from boarding school, the Favours make no fuss, welcoming the teen into the fold. As Fleur and Zara become comfortable with country club life, Fleur learns that she's not the only one scheming for Richard's money, and that Richard might not be as gullible as she thinks. But with Zara finally enjoying the stability of a real home, can Fleur leave so easily this time? Wickham (Swimming Pool Sunday) creates memorable characters who are as unpredictable and multifaceted as they are stylish. While the quick wrapup misses a cue, this novel is still jolly fun. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Fleur Daxeny is beautiful and sophisticated, with an appetite for comfort beyond her means. She also has a fine wardrobe of black designer dresses that she wears to the funerals of wealthy London women in hope of snaring their grieving husbands. Once captivated by her good looks and charm, these men provide her with money, a home, and an extravagant lifestyle for however long it takes her to stash a bit of cash and move on to the next. Such is the fate of Richard Favour. The ease with which Fleur moves into his life dazzles him. His late wife had been really rather dull, and everyone in his family seems to find Fleur most refreshing. But just as Richard proposes marriage, the unscrupulous Fleur gets bored and begins reading obituaries again. This is an often witty and deeply biting novel of modern manners and morals. Wickham's (Tennis Party) characters move with the studied grace of Jane Austen's upper class, and her plot is perfect for a made-for-TV movie. Readers will be both touched and entertained. Recommended for all public libraries.--Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
Fleur Daxeny has an ingratiating manner, a madonna's face, and a closet full of black designer suits—all of them weapons in her ceaseless effort to keep the wolf, and honest labor, from the door. Checking the newspapers for the obits of wealthy women, she purrs attendance on their dazed widowers, making herself indispensable until she's ready to leave with whatever portable property she can tote off. When she sees the funeral notice for Emily Favour, she tricks herself out as usual and, armed with bogus memories of the deceased and a determination to lodge herself as deeply in Richard Favour's bosom as possible, sets out to charm the bereaved husband. But Richard isn't Fleur's usual victim; her unexpected feelings for him keep her at his estate much longer than she's accustomed to standing by her men; and his grasping family offers her practiced wiles lively competition—all complications Wickham (Swimming Pool Sunday, 1998, etc.) unfolds in her most decorously naughty fashion.
From the Publisher
"Wickham creates memorable characters who are as unpredictable and multifaceted as they are stylish. Jolly fun."

Publishers Weekly

"[A] witty and deeply biting novel of modern manners and morals."

—Library Journal

"[Wickham is] an observant and engaging storyteller."-

-Kirkus Reviews

"Wickham knows her characters well and the story never drags... an enjoyable read."


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312978648
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2001
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 4.26 (w) x 6.82 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Sophie Kinsella

Madeleine Wickham is the author of several acclaimed novels, including A Desirable Residence, Cocktails for Three, Sleeping Arrangements and The Wedding Girl. As Sophie Kinsella, she has written a number of bestsellers including the Shopaholic series, Twenties Girl, Remember Me?, The Undomestic Goddess, and Can You Keep a Secret? Confessions of a Shopaholic was made into a major motion picture starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy. Born in London, Wickham studied at New College, Oxford. She lives in London with her husband and family.


When we first meet Becky Bloomwood in Sophie Kinsella's Confessions of a Shopaholic, she's a financial journalist in London who's quickly realizing that though she may be a writer for Successful Saving magazine, she could use help practicing what she preaches. She's helplessly driving herself into debt buying things she can't afford, at one point rationalizing that buying something 30 percent off is actually saving money. Becky was a hit with readers and spawned a franchise for Kinsella. In subsequent books, readers have followed her through a temptingly whirlwind series of adventures, with her best friend, Suze, and Luke, the love of her life, often along for the ride.

The Shopaholic books are little tours of fabulousness, where objects are introduced not as incidental to the story but as key players. Becky may not attend to certain life details such as bills or space to store all of her purchases, but she knows how to pay proper homage to the details in a dress or a vintage cocktail table. When she packs for a trip, we get the list of what she's bringing. What's more, she rationalizes and justifies purchases before you can say, "Credit or cash?" (The answer for Becky, by the way, is usually credit.)

Those who value integrity or depth in their fictional characters would be well advised to steer clear of Becky; but Shopaholic fans identify with her weaknesses, finding her more sympathetic than sinister. She can be maddening in her lack of discipline or self-reflectiveness, but Kinsella has taken a cue from Jane Austen's Emma by infusing her character with enough optimism, heart, and generous spirit to overcome her faults. Becky always reassuringly lands right-side-up, making these books a fun flight of fancy.

The author has interspersed her popular series with a handful of stand-alone confections featuring protagonists as charming and deliciously funny as the Shopaholic. Fortunately for her many fans, Sophie Kinsella has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of affection for her characters. May it fuel many books to come!

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Kinsella:

"I am a serial house mover: I have moved house five times in the last eight years! But I'm hoping I might stay put in this latest one for a while."

"I've never written a children's book, but when people meet me for the first time and I say I write books, they invariably reply, 'Children's books?' Maybe it's something about my face. Or maybe they think I'm J. K. Rowling!"

"If my writing comes to a halt, I head to the shops: I find them very inspirational. And if I get into real trouble with my plot, I go out for a pizza with my husband. We order a pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea and start talking -- and basically keep drinking and talking till we've figured the glitch out. Never fails!"

"Favorite leisure pursuits: a nice hot bath, watching The Simpsons, playing table tennis after dinner, shopping, playing the piano, sitting on the floor with my two small boys, and playing building blocks and Legos."

"Least favorite leisure pursuit: tidying away the building blocks and Legos."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Madeleine Wickham (real name)
    2. Hometown:
      London, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 12, 1969
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Oxford University, 1990; M.Mus., King's College, London, 1992
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


Fleur Daxeny wrinkled her nose. She bit her lip, and put her head on one side, and gazed at her reflection silently for a few seconds. Then she gave a gurgle of laughter.

"I still can't decide," she exclaimed. "They're all fabulous."

The saleswoman from Take Hat! exchanged weary glances with the nervous young hairdresser sitting on a gilt stool in the corner. The hairdresser had arrived at Fleur's hotel suite half an hour ago and had been waiting to start ever since. The saleswoman was meanwhile beginning to wonder whether she was wasting her time completely.

"I love this one with the veil," said Fleur suddenly, reaching for a tiny creation of black satin and wispy netting. "Isn't it elegant?"

"Very elegant," said the saleswoman. She hurried forward just in time to catch a black silk topper which Fleur was discarding onto the floor.

"Very," echoed the hairdresser in the corner. Surreptitiously he glanced at his watch. He was supposed to be back down in the salon in forty minutes. Trevor wouldn't be pleased. Perhaps he should phone down to explain the situation. Perhaps . . .

"All right!" said Fleur. "I've decided." She pushed up the veil and beamed around the room. "I'm going to wear this one today."

"A very wise choice, madam," said the saleswoman in relieved tones. "It's a lovely hat."

"Lovely," whispered the hairdresser.

"So if you could just pack the other five into boxes for me . . ." Fleur smiled mysteriously at her reflection and pulled the dark silk gauze down over her face again. The woman from Take Hat! gaped at her.

"You're going to buy them all?"

"Of course I am. I simply can't choose between them. They're all too perfect." Fleur turned to the hairdresser. "Now, my sweet. Can you come up with something special for my hair which will go under this hat?" The young man stared back at her and felt a dark pink colour begin to rise up his neck.

"Oh. Yes. I should think so. I mean . . ." But Fleur had already turned away.

"If you could just put it all onto my hotel bill," she was saying to the saleswoman. "That's all right, isn't it?"

"Perfectly all right, madam," said the saleswoman eagerly. "As a guest of the hotel, you're entitled to a fifteen per cent concession on all our prices."

"Whatever," said Fleur. She gave a little yawn. "As long as it can all go on the bill."

"I'll go and sort it out for you straight away."

"Good," said Fleur. As the saleswoman hurried out of the room, she turned and gave the young hairdresser a ravishing smile. "I'm all yours."

Her voice was low and melodious and curiously accentless. To the hairdresser's ears it was now also faintly mocking, and he flushed slightly as he came over to where Fleur was sitting. He stood behind her, gathered together the ends of her hair in one hand and let them fall down in a heavy, red-gold movement.

"Your hair's in very good condition," he said awkwardly.

"Isn't it lovely?" said Fleur complacently. "I've always had good hair. And good skin, of course." She tilted her head, pushed her hotel robe aside slightly, and rubbed her cheek tenderly against the pale, creamy skin of her shoulder. "How old would you say I was?" she added abruptly.

"I don't . . . I wouldn't . . ." the young man began to flounder.

"I'm forty," she said lazily. She closed her eyes. "Forty," she repeated, as though meditating. "It makes you think, doesn't it?"

"You don't look . . ." began the hairdresser in awkward politeness. Fleur opened one glinting, pussycat-green eye.

"I don't look forty? How old do I look, then?"

The hairdresser stared back at her uncomfortably. He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again. The truth was, he thought suddenly, that this incredible woman didn't look any age. She seemed ageless, classless, indefinable. As he met her eyes he felt a thrill run through him; a dart-like conviction that this moment was somehow significant. His hands trembling slightly, he reached for her hair and let it run like slippery flames through his fingers.

"You look as old as you look," he whispered huskily. "Numbers don't come into it."

"Sweet," said Fleur dismissively. "Now, my pet, before you start on my hair, how about ordering me a nice glass of champagne?"

The hairdresser's fingers drooped in slight disappointment, and he went obediently over to the telephone. As he dialled, the door opened and the woman from Take Hat! came back in, carrying a pile of hat boxes. "Here we are," she exclaimed breathlessly. "If you could just sign here . . ."

"A glass of champagne, please," the hairdresser was saying. "Room 301."

"I was wondering," began the saleswoman cautiously to Fleur. "You're quite sure that you want all six hats in black? We do have some other super colours this season." She tapped her teeth thoughtfully. "There's a lovely emerald green which would look stunning with your hair . . ."

"Black," said Fleur decisively. "I'm only interested in black."

An hour later, Fleur looked at herself in the mirror, smiled and nodded. She was dressed in a simple black suit which had been cut to fit her figure precisely. Her legs shimmered in sheer black stockings; her feet were unobtrusive in discreet black shoes. Her hair had been smoothed into an exemplary chignon, on which the little black hat sat to perfection.

The only hint of brightness about her figure was a glimpse of salmon-pink silk underneath her jacket. It was Fleur's rule always to wear some colour no matter how sombre the outfit or the occasion. In a crowd of dispirited black suits, a tiny splash of salmon-pink would draw the eye unconsciously towards her. People would notice her but wouldn't be quite sure why. Which was just as she liked it.

Still watching her reflection, Fleur pulled the gauzy veil down over her face. The smug expression disappeared from her face, to be replaced by one of grave, inscrutable sadness. For a few moments she stared silently at herself. She picked up her black leather Osprey bag and held it soberly by her side. She nodded slowly a few times, noticing how the veil cast hazy mysterious shadows over her pale face.

Then, suddenly, the telephone rang, and she sprang back into life.


"Fleur, where have you been? I have tried to call you." The heavy Greek voice was unmistakable. A frown of irritation creased Fleur's face.

"Sakis! Sweetheart, I'm in a bit of a hurry . . ."

"Where are you going?"

"Nowhere. Just shopping."

"Why do you need to shop? I bought you clothes in Paris."

"I know you did, darling. But I wanted to surprise you with something new for this evening." Her voice rippled with convincing affection down the phone. "Something elegant, sexy . . ." As she spoke, she had a sudden inspiration. "And you know, Sakis," she added carefully, "I was wondering whether it wouldn't be a good idea to pay in cash, so that I get a good price. I can draw money out from the hotel, can't I? On your account?"

"A certain amount. Up to ten thousand pounds, I think."

"I won't need nearly that much!" Her voice bubbled over with amusement. "I only want one outfit! Five hundred maximum."

"And when you have bought it you will return straight to the hotel."

"Of course, sweetheart."

"There is no of course. This time, Fleur, you must not be late. Do you understand? You-must-not-be-late." The words were barked out like a military order and Fleur flinched silently in annoyance. "It is quite clear. Leonidas will pick you up at three o'clock. The helicopter will leave at four o'clock. Our guests will arrive at seven o'clock. You must be ready to greet them. I do not want you to be late like last time. It was . . . it was unseemly. Are you listening? Fleur?"

"Of course I'm listening!" said Fleur. "But there's someone knocking at the door. I'll just go and see who it is . . ." She waited a couple of seconds, then firmly replaced the receiver. A moment later, she picked it up again.

"Hello? Could you send someone up for my luggage, please?"

Downstairs, the hotel lobby was calm and tranquil. The woman from Take Hat! saw Fleur walking past the boutique, and gave a little wave, but Fleur ignored her.

"I'd like to check out," she said, as soon as she got to the reception desk. "And to make a withdrawal of money. The account is in the name of Sakis Papandreous."

"Ah, yes." The smooth, blond-haired receptionist tapped briefly at her computer, then looked up and smiled at her. "How much money would you like?" Fleur beamed back at her.

"Ten thousand pounds. And could you order me two taxis?" The woman looked up in surprise.


"One for me, one for my luggage. My luggage is going to Chelsea." Fleur lowered her eyes beneath her gauzy veil. "I'm going to a memorial service."

"Oh dear, I am sorry," said the woman, handing Fleur several pages of hotel bill. "Someone close to you?"

"Not yet," said Fleur, signing the bill without bothering to check it. She watched as the cashier counted thick wads of money into two crested envelopes, then tenderly took them both, placed them in her Osprey bag and snapped it shut. "But you never know."

Richard Favour sat in the front pew of St. Anselm's Church with his eyes closed, listening to the sounds of people filling the church—muted whisperings and shufflings, the tapping of heels on the tiled floor, and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" being played softly on the organ.

He had always hated "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"; it had been the suggestion of the organist at their meeting three weeks previously, after it had become apparent that Richard could not name a single piece of organ music of which Emily had been particularly fond. There had been a slightly embarrassed silence as Richard vainly racked his brains, then the organist had tactfully murmured, 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' is always very popular . . ." and Richard had agreed in hasty relief.

Now he gave a dissatisfied frown. Surely he could have thought of something more personal than this turgid, over-popular tune? Emily had certainly been a music-lover, always going to concerts and recitals when her health allowed it. Had she never once turned to him, eyes alight, saying, "I love this piece, don't you?" He screwed up his eyes and tried to remember. But the only vision that came to him was of Emily lying in bed, eyes dulled, wan and frail and uncomplaining. A spasm of guilty regret went through him. Why had he never asked his wife what her favourite piece of music was? In thirty-three years of marriage, he had never asked her. And now it was too late. Now he would never know.

He rubbed his forehead wearily, and looked down at the engraved order of service on his lap. The words stared back up at him. Service of Memorial and Thanksgiving for the life of Emily Millicent Favour. Simple black lettering, plain white card. He had resisted all attempts by the printers to introduce such prized features as silver borders or embossed angels. Of that, he thought, Emily would have approved. At least . . . he hoped she would.

It had taken Richard several years of marriage to Emily to realize that he didn't know her very well, and several more for him to realize that he never would. At the beginning, her serene remoteness had been part of her appeal, along with her pale, pretty face and the neat, boyish figure which she kept as resolutely hidden as she did her innermost thoughts. The more she had kept herself hidden, the more tantalized Richard had become; he had approached their wedding day with a longing bordering on desperation. At last, he had thought, he and Emily would be able to reveal their secret selves to each other. He had yearned to explore not only her body but her mind, her person; to discover her most intimate fears and dreams; to become her lifelong soulmate.

They'd been married on a bright, blustery day, in a little village in Kent. Emily had looked composed and serene throughout; Richard had supposed she was simply better than him at concealing the nervous anticipation that surely burned as intensely within her as it did in him—an anticipation which had become stronger as the day was swallowed up and the beginning of their life together drew near.

Now he closed his eyes, and remembered those first, tingling seconds, as the door had shut behind the porter and he was alone with his wife for the first time in their Eastbourne hotel suite. He'd gazed at her as she took off her hat with the smooth, precise movements she always made, half-longing for her to throw the silly thing down and rush into his arms, and half-longing for this delicious, uncertain waiting to last for ever. It had seemed that Emily was deliberately delaying the moment of their coming together; teasing him with her cool, oblivious manner, as though she knew exactly what was going through his mind.

And then, finally, she'd turned, and met his eye. And he'd taken a breath, not knowing quite where to start; which of his pent-up thoughts to release first. And she'd looked straight at him with remote blue eyes and said, "What time is dinner?"

Even then, he'd thought she was still teasing. He'd thought she was purposely prolonging the sense of anticipation, that she was deliberately stoppering up her emotions until they became too overwhelming to control, when they would flood out in a huge gush to meet and mix with his. And so, patiently, awed by her apparent self-control, he'd waited. Waited for the gush; the breaking of the waters; the tears and the surrender.

But it had never happened. Emily's love for him had never manifested itself in anything more than a slow drip-drip of fond affection; she'd responded to his every caress, his every confidence, with the same degree of lukewarm interest. When he tried to spark a more powerful reaction in her, he'd been met first by incomprehension, then, as he grew more strident, by an almost frightened resistance.

Eventually he'd given up trying. And gradually, almost without his realizing, his own love for her had begun to change in character. Over the years, his emotions had stopped pounding at the surface of his soul like a hot, wet tidal wave and had receded and solidified into something firm and dry and sensible. And Richard, too, had become firm and dry and sensible. He'd learned to keep his own counsel, to gather his thoughts dispassionately and say only half of what he was really thinking. He'd learned to smile when he wanted to beam, to click his tongue when he wanted to scream in frustration; to restrain himself and his foolish thoughts as much as possible.

Now, waiting for her memorial service to begin, he blessed Emily for those lessons in self-restraint. Because if it hadn't been for his ability to keep himself in check, the hot, sentimental tears which bubbled at the back of his eyes would now have been coursing uncontrollably down his cheeks, and the hands which calmly held his order of service would have been clasped over his contorted face, and he would have been swept away by a desperate, immoderate grief.

The church was almost full when Fleur arrived. She stood at the back for a few moments, surveying the faces and clothes and voices in front of her; assessing the quality of the flower arrangements; checking the pews for anyone who might look up and recognize her.

But the people in front of her were an anonymous bunch. Men in dull suits; ladies in uninspired hats. A flicker of doubt crossed Fleur's mind. Could Johnny have got this one wrong? Was there really any money lurking in this colourless crowd?

"Would you like an order of service?" She looked up to see a long-legged man striding across the marble floor towards her. "It's about to start," he added with a frown.

"Of course," murmured Fleur. She held out her pale, scented hand. "Fleur Daxeny. I'm so glad to meet you . . . Sorry, I've forgotten your name . . ."


"Lambert. Of course. I remember now." She paused, and glanced up at his face, still wearing an arrogant frown. "You're the clever one."

"I suppose you could say that," said Lambert, shrugging.

Clever or sexy, thought Fleur. All men want to be one or the other—or both. She looked at Lambert again. His features looked overblown and rubbery, so that even in repose he seemed to be pulling a face. Better just leave it at clever, she thought.

"Well, I'd better sit down," she said. "I expect I'll see you later."

"There's plenty of room at the back," Lambert called after her. But Fleur appeared not to hear him. Studying her order of service with an absorbed, solemn expression, she made her way quickly to the front of the church.

"I'm sorry," she said, pausing by the third row from the front. "Is there any room? It's a bit crowded at the back."

She stood impassively while the ten people filling the row huffed and shuffled themselves along; then, with one elegant movement, took her place. She bowed her head for a moment, then looked up with a stern, brave expression.

"Poor Emily," she said. "Poor sweet Emily."

"Who was that?" whispered Philippa Chester as her husband returned to his seat beside her.

"I don't know," said Lambert. "One of your mother's friends, I suppose. She seemed to know all about me."

"I don't think I remember her," said Philippa. "What's her name?"

"Fleur. Fleur something."

"Fleur. I've never heard of her."

"Maybe they were at school together or something."

"Oh yes," said Philippa. "That could be it. Like that other one. Joan. Do you remember? The one who came to visit out of the blue?"

"No," said Lambert.

"Yes you do. Joan. She gave Mummy that hideous glass bowl." Philippa squinted at Fleur again. "Except this one looks too young. I like her hat. I wish I could wear little hats like that. But my head's too big. Or my hair isn't right. Or something."

She tailed off. Lambert was staring down at a piece of paper and muttering. Philippa looked around the church again. So many people. All here for Mummy. It almost made her want to cry.

"Does my hat look all right?" she said suddenly.

"It looks great," said Lambert without looking up.

"It cost a bomb. I couldn't believe how much it cost. But then, when I put it on this morning, I thought . . ."

"Philippa!" hissed Lambert. "Can you shut up? I've got my reading to think about!"

"Oh yes. Yes, of course you have."

Philippa looked down, chastened. And once again she felt a little pinprick of hurt. No-one had asked her to do a reading. Lambert was doing one, and so was her little brother Antony, but all she had to do was sit still in her hat. And she couldn't even do that very well.

"When I die," she said suddenly, "I want everyone to do a reading at my memorial service. You, and Antony, and Gillian, and all our children . . ."

"If we have any," said Lambert, not looking up.

"If we have any," echoed Philippa morosely. She looked around at the sea of black hats. "I might die before we have any children, mightn't I? I mean, we don't know when we're going to die, do we? I could die tomorrow." She broke off, overcome by the thought of herself in a coffin, looking pale and waxy and romantic, surrounded by weeping mourners. Her eyes began to prickle. "I could die tomorrow. And then it would be . . ."

"Shut up," said Lambert, putting away his piece of paper. He stretched his hand down out of sight and casually pinched Philippa's fleshy calf. "You're talking rubbish," he murmured. "What are you talking?"

Philippa was silent. Lambert's fingers gradually tightened on her skin, until suddenly they nipped so viciously that she gave a sharp intake of breath.

"I'm talking rubbish," she said, in a quick, low voice.

"Good girl," said Lambert. He released his fingers. "Now, sit up straight and get a grip."

"I'm sorry," said Philippa breathlessly. "It's just a bit . . . overwhelming. There are so many people here. I didn't know Mummy had all these friends."

"Your mother was a very popular lady," said Lambert. "Everyone loved her."

And no-one loves me, Philippa felt like saying. But instead, she prodded helplessly at her hat and tugged a few locks of wispy hair out from under the severe black brim, so that by the time she stood up for the first hymn, she looked even worse than before.

THE GATECRASHER. Copyright © 2009 by Madeleine Wickham.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 106 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 106 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Great Chck Lit!

    If you love the Shopaholic series, you will love this book. "The Gatecrasher" keeps the reader hooked. It is a quick and easy read. I am a big fan of chick lit books. I often pick my books based on the cover art and this was a great pick. The author does a fabulous job in moving the story along.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Gatecrasher Leaves you Wanting to know More

    So I have read mostly all of Wickham/Kinsella's novels, and I thoroughly enjoy them. 'Gatecrasher' is a good novel, but unfortunately leaves you wanting to know more about the characters. What happened with Philipa's divorce? How was Zara's first meeting with her father she never knew? Did Fleur ever end up committing? Too much was left unsaid and I believe it would be wise for Wickham to tie up all the loose ends. Other then that, the characters were fun, and the plot was great. If your a fan of the author pick up this novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    This book was fairly entertaining but was not my favorite work b

    This book was fairly entertaining but was not my favorite work by Wickham/Kinsella. I found the main character to be a bit thin and her motivations honestly annoyed me by the time I reached the end of the book. Also, the ending was not as satisfying as I had hoped, especially since I was looking for a lighter read. All in all, I wouldn't recommend not reading it, as I found it entertaining but reader beware that this is not the author's best effort.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Good read

    I would have preferred a different ending but it was a good book and I enjoyed it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011


    Good for losing yourself in the characters problems

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    Fun "beach read" type book

    I loved the characters in this novel! They were interesting and complex and Wickham keeps the plot moving along nicely. I couldn't put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2011


    I felt that it was unfinished. The main character was never confronted!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2010


    IT WAS OKAY... glad it was only 5 bucks

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2009

    Loved It

    I could not wait to pick it up and read it. I then couldn't put it down. The main characters were great and very vibrant. I would recommend it to everyone

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2009


    I liked the book, but like many others, felt too much information was left out to develope the characters well. If you don't want a heavy read, I would recommend it. Great for on the beach or when your not worried about interruptions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

    Good but not great

    Just not one of those books that you have trouble putting down. It was good enough that I did at least finish it, but this one didn't leave me with the feeling that I needed to buy another one of Madeline's novels.

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  • Posted April 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing read

    Not at all like her others. Have devoured numerous books by Madeleine & Sophie, but had to stop 1/2 way through with this one. Not recommended. Read her other books instead.

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  • Posted March 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:


    Although Sophie Kinsella a.k.a.Madeleine Wickham is my favorite author, this was not her best book. It was good but not great like her Shopaholic books and Remember Me?.

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  • Posted February 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    easy reading but disappointing

    This book had an interesting and somewhat intriguing start in the first few pages which made me to borrow from my mom's bookshelf. However, the more I read, the more disappointed I was and at the end, I found myself reading it just to finish the book, hoping it'd get better. It did have all the elements to make the story interesting but I feel that the write did a poor job of developing the characters (by not developing it at all) and there was no progress in the story line either. Everything was all laid out for you in the beginning and there was no new information or development of characters as pages turn. You don't have to use your brain too much which I guess sometimes is a good thing....

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  • Posted January 2, 2009

    Another great book by this author

    I have never had anything bad to say about this authors work. Her books are always fun, funny, and get you caught up in them. I will say that the end of the book is sort of abrupt, I was expecting more I guess. While the plot and characters are great I sort of felt that this book ended too soon, with hardly any explanation. <BR/><BR/>I still enjoyed reading it and would still highly recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2008

    great read!

    while not as funny and witty as the shopoholic series, Wickham offers up a new take on the 21st century gold digger. the characters were great to connect with and the storyline (while at times a little predictable) was enthralling and kept me interested.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2008

    not so entertaining!!

    I would not recommend this book or any book from Madeleine Wickham....i love Sophie Kinsella...and even though it's supposed to be the same person, i don't see the likeness in the writing styles. Sophie is very funny and her book is very easy to read as well as entertaining. While Madeleine's book is very dull and boring. I gave Madeleine a try and I absolutely regretted it. I read both of her books 'Sleeping arrangement and gatecrasher'..not recommended!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    Unlikeable characters and predictability

    I am a great fan of Sophie Kinsella. However, I am so disappointed in this book. The main character is very difficult to like, and the other characters are dull. The story is cliche, and very predictable. A total disappointment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2008

    definitely not what was expected

    I picked this up when I discovered that the author writes as Sophie Kinsella. The Shopaholic series' humor will make you laugh out loud. I was disappointed with this book. Reviews I read mention how funny and cute this book was. I say it is nothing of the sort. While the story is mildly enjoyable, I doubt that I will read any of her other titles unless written under the name Kinsella.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2008

    Doesn't hold a candle to the Shopaholic!

    I read this book and it was a cute story but it lacked the humor that this author is definately capable of! This writer always comes up with the cutest ideas for a story! This story, however, was a little flat and very predictable by about halfway through the book. I did read it though, and I enjoy this author very much overall. This isn't her best work though. If you are a shopper read the Shopaholic Series Becky Bloomwood will have you rolling.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 106 Customer Reviews

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