Shopaholic and Sister (Shopaholic Series #4)

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What’s a round-the-world honeymoon if you can’t buy the odd souvenir to ship back home? Like the twenty silk dressing gowns Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) finds in Hong Kong, or the hand-carved dining table from Sri Lanka, or the, um, huge wooden giraffes from Malawi (that her husband expressly forbade her to buy).
Only now Becky and Luke have returned home to London, where two truckloads of those souvenirs have cluttered up their loft. ...
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Shopaholic and Sister (Shopaholic Series #4)

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What’s a round-the-world honeymoon if you can’t buy the odd souvenir to ship back home? Like the twenty silk dressing gowns Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) finds in Hong Kong, or the hand-carved dining table from Sri Lanka, or the, um, huge wooden giraffes from Malawi (that her husband expressly forbade her to buy).
Only now Becky and Luke have returned home to London, where two truckloads of those souvenirs have cluttered up their loft. The bills are outrageous, Luke is furious, and Becky’s feeling rather blue—until her parents deliver some incredible news. She has a long-lost sister! Becky is convinced her sister will be a true soulmate. They’ll go shopping together, drink cappuccinos together, get manicures together. Then Becky meets Jessica and receives the shock of her life. Surely the shopaholic’s own sister can’t hate shopping?
Praise for Sophie Kinsella
“Kinsella’s heroine is blessed with the resilience of ten women, and her damage-limitation brain waves are always good for a giggle.”Glamour (U.K.)
“Kinsella has a genuine gift for comic writing.”The Boston Globe
“Kinsella’s Bloomwood is plucky and funny. . . . You won’t have to shop around to find a more winning protagonist.”People
“Faster than a swiping Visa, more powerful than a two-for-one coupon, able to buy complete wardrobes in a single sprint through the mall—it’s Shopaholic!”—The Washington Post
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Becky Bloomwood has returned from her globe-trotting honeymoon laden down with silk dressing gowns, silvery trinkets and debt. Appalled by his new wife's extravagance, Luke puts his foot down. But Becky isn't deterred. Her big worry is Much More Major: Who will replace her former best friend Suze as a shopping partner? When a long-lost sister appears on the scene, Becky has high hopes. But apparently there was a mix-up at birth or a genetic inversion: Becky's newfound sibling hasn't yet discovered the joy of perpetual shopping!
Publishers Weekly
England is a land of plentiful shopping opportunities and colorful regional accents, and actress Kellgren nails the latter in her charming rendition of Kinsella's newest Shopaholic novel. Just home from her honeymoon, Becky Bloomwood, now the wealthy wife of Luke Brandon, learns she has a long-lost half-sister. The news delights Becky, who fantasizes about late-night sisterly chats and shared cappuccinos. But Jess turns out to be not at all what Becky expected. In a dour Cumbrian accent that contrasts deliciously with Becky's posh inflections, Jess berates Becky for her irresponsibility and belittles her addiction to shopping. Their verbal battles leave little hope for reconciliation, until serious marital troubles brought on by Becky's shopping habit find her turning to Jess for guidance. Things get worse before they get better, and Kellgren's vivacious reading never fails to plumb the depths of Becky's despair. How will Luke forgive her for setting him up with a criminal client all in the name of a coveted Angel bag? Will Jess ever speak to Becky again after she expounds on her sister's faults in front of Jess's entire small village? Ultimately, the hilarious mayhem winds down to an inevitable happy ending, avoiding deep thought in favor of pure fun. Simultaneous release with the Dial hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 30). (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Becky Brandon, ne Bloomwood (Confessions of a Shopaholic), is at it again. When we meet her and Luke this time, they are just returning from a whirlwind, round-the-world honeymoon. Becky is dismayed to find that her best friend, Suze, is now close to Lulu, the posh domestic goddess; but to her delight, she discovers that she has a long-lost sister named Jessica. Could these two really be related? Becky wants to paint nails and shop, while Jess wants to do her accounts and collect rocks. There are some bumps on the road to togetherness and funny subplots mainly involving a well-meaning Becky trying to do what she thinks is best for everyone. Newcomers and fans alike will enjoy the fourth entry in Kinsella's popular series. For popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/04.] Anastasia Diamond, Cleveland P.L. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
News flash: the Shopaholic's sister hates shopping!Back from an around-the-world honeymoon with perfect husband Luke, Rebecca Bloomwood Brandon (Bex to her friends but not to her creditors) suddenly finds she has a half-sister named Jessica-and she never even knew! Neither did Dad nor Mum! Apparently, it happened simply eons ago in the past, when there were no credit cards or DNA-whatever that is-and when banks didn't charge interest for overdrafts and dinosaurs ruled the earth. Gosh! Rebecca can't imagine her dull dad in an ugly, 1970s-style suit actually trying to flirt, let alone conceiving a child, with a British railway stewardess, but evidently he did. Fiercely intelligent, self-sufficient Jessica doesn't care about important things like designer brands, just activist politics. Can they really be sisters? For some trivial reason, Luke gets mad at Bex and stomps out of the plot long enough for the sisters to figure out what they don't like about each other. Fearing abandonment, Bex tries to make peace with Jessica and volunteers for a protest against a big-meanie corporation that has been terribly naughty about the environment and things. Oh, no! The big-meanie corporation has something to do with Luke's business, whatever that is. What will happen next? Caught in a raging storm out in the environment they're trying to save, the sisters paint each other's toenails with pink sparkly polish to keep their spirits up. Will the scary thunder and lightning ever stop? Will Luke forgive Bex? Meanwhile, conspicuously lacking here are the wit and intelligence of the first titles in the Shopaholic series, with an increasingly infantile heroine, cutesy prose, heaps of exclamation points, and acontrived plot. Such is the power of a brand name: bestselling Kinsella dumbs down to moron level and still gets to laugh all the way to the bank.
From the Publisher
Praise for Sophie Kinsella
“Kinsella’s heroine is blessed with the resilience of ten women, and her damage-limitation brain waves are always good for a giggle.”Glamour (U.K.)
“Kinsella has a genuine gift for comic writing.”The Boston Globe
“Kinsella’s Bloomwood is plucky and funny. . . . You won’t have to shop around to find a more winning protagonist.”People
“Faster than a swiping Visa, more powerful than a two-for-one coupon, able to buy complete wardrobes in a single sprint through the mall—it’s Shopaholic!”—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440241911
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Series: Shopaholic Series, #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprinted Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Sophie Kinsella
Sophie Kinsella is a former financial journalist and the author of the bestselling novels Confessions of a Shopaholic, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Shopaholic Ties the Knot, and Can You Keep a Secret? She lives in England, where she is at work on her next book.


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

Chapter One

OK. I CAN do this. No problem.

It’s simply a matter of letting my higher self take over, achieving enlightenment, and becoming a radiant being of white light.


Surreptitiously I adjust myself on my yoga mat so I’m facing the sun directly, and push down the spaghetti straps of my top. I don’t see why you can’t reach ultimate-bliss consciousness and get an even tan at the same time.

I’m sitting on a hillside in the middle of Sri Lanka at the Blue Hills Resort and Spiritual Retreat, and the view is spectacular. Hills and tea plantations stretch ahead, then merge into a deep blue sky. I can see the bright colors of tea pickers in the fields, and if I swivel my head a little, I can glimpse a distant elephant padding slowly along between the bushes.

And when I turn my head still further, I can see Luke. My husband. He’s the one on the blue yoga mat, in the cutoff linen trousers and tatty old top, sitting cross-legged with his eyes closed.

I know. It’s just unbelievable. After ten months of honeymoon, Luke has turned into a totally different person from the man I married. The old corporate Luke has vanished. The suits have disappeared. He’s tanned and lean, his hair is long and sun-bleached, and he’s still got a few of the little plaits he had put in on Bondi Beach. Round his wrist is a beaded bracelet he got in Tanzania, and in his ear is a tiny silver hoop.

Luke Brandon with an earring! Luke Brandon sitting cross-legged!

As though he can feel my gaze, he opens his eyes and smiles, and I beam back happily. Ten months married. And not a single row.

Well. You know. Only the odd little one.

“Siddhasana,” says our yoga teacher, Chandra. He’s a tall, thin man in baggy white yoga trousers, and he always speaks in a soft, patient voice. “Clear your minds of all extraneous thought.”

Around me I’m aware of the eight or nine others in the group moving into position on their mats. Obediently I place my right foot on my left thigh.

OK. Clear my mind. Concentrate.

I don’t want to boast, but I find clearing my mind pretty easy. I don’t quite get why anyone would find it difficult! I mean, not thinking has to be a lot easier than thinking, doesn’t it?

In fact, the truth is, I’m a bit of a natural at yoga. We’ve only been on this retreat for five days but already I can do the Lotus and everything! I was even thinking I might set up as a yoga teacher when we go back home.

Maybe I could set up a partnership with Trudie Styler, I think in sudden excitement. God, yes! And we could launch a range of yoga wear, too, all soft grays and whites, with a little logo—

“Focus on your breathing,” Chandra is saying.

Oh, right. Yes. Breathing.

Breathe in . . . breathe out. Breathe in . . . breathe out. Breathe—

God, my nails look fab. I had them done at the spa—little pink butterflies on a white background. And the antennae are little diamonds. They are so sweet. Except one seems to have fallen off. I must get that fixed—

“Becky.” Chandra’s voice makes me jump. He’s standing right there, gazing at me with this look he has. Kind of gentle and all-knowing, like he can see right inside your mind.

“You do very well, Becky,” he says. “You have a beautiful spirit.”

I feel a sparkle of delight all over. I, Rebecca Brandon, née Bloomwood, have a beautiful spirit! I knew it!

“You have an unworldly soul,” he adds in his soft voice, and I stare back, totally mesmerized.

“Material possessions aren’t important to me,” I say breathlessly. “All that matters to me is yoga.”

“You have found your path.” Chandra smiles.

There’s an odd kind of snorting sound coming from Luke’s direction, and I look round to see him looking over at us in amusement.

I knew Luke wasn’t taking this seriously.

“This is a private conversation between me and my guru, thank you very much,” I say crossly.

Although, actually, I shouldn’t be surprised. We were warned about this on the first day of the yoga course. Apparently, when one partner finds higher spiritual enlightenment, the other partner can react with skepticism and even jealousy.

“Soon you will be walking on the hot coals.” Chandra gestures with a smile to the nearby pit of smoldering ashy coals, and a nervous laugh goes round the group. This evening Chandra and some of his top yoga students are going to demonstrate walking on the coals for the rest of us. This is what we’re all supposed to be aiming for. Apparently, you attain a state of bliss so great, you can’t actually feel the coals burning your feet. You’re totally pain free!

What I’m secretly hoping is that it’ll work when I wear six-inch stilettos, too.

Chandra adjusts my arms and moves on, and I close my eyes, letting the sun warm my face. Sitting here on this hillside in the middle of nowhere, I feel so pure and calm. It’s not just Luke who’s changed over the last ten months. I have too. I’ve grown up. My priorities have altered. In fact, I’m a different person. I mean, look at me now, doing yoga at a spiritual retreat. My old friends probably wouldn’t even recognize me!

At Chandra’s instruction, we all move into the Vajrasana pose. From where I am, I can just see an elderly Sri Lankan man carrying two old carpet bags, approaching Chandra. They have a brief conversation, during which Chandra keeps shaking his head, then the old man trudges away over the scrubby hillside. When he’s out of earshot, Chandra turns to face the group, rolling his eyes.

“This man is a merchant. He asks if any of you are interested in gems. Necklaces, cheap bracelets. I tell him your minds are on higher things.”

A few people near me shake their heads as though in disbelief. One woman, with long red hair, looks affronted.

“Couldn’t he see we were in the middle of meditation?” she says.

“He has no understanding of your spiritual devotion.” Chandra looks around the group seriously. “It will be the same with many others in the world. They will not understand that meditation is food for your soul. You have no need for . . . sapphire bracelet!”

A few people nod in appreciation.

“Aquamarine pendant with platinum chain,” Chandra continues dismissively. “How does this compare to the radiance of inner enlightenment?”


Wow. I wonder how much—

I mean, not that I’m interested. Obviously not. It’s just that I happened to be looking at aquamarines in a shop window the other day. Just out of an academic interest.

My eye drifts toward the retreating figure of the old man.

“Three-carat setting, five-carat setting, he keeps saying. All half price.” Chandra shakes his head. “I tell him, these people are not interested.”

Half price? Five-carat aquamarines at half price?

Stop it. Stop it. Chandra’s right. Of course I’m not interested in stupid aquamarines. I’m absorbed in spiritual enlightenment.

Anyway, the old man’s nearly gone now. He’s just a tiny figure on top of the hill. In a minute he’ll have disappeared.

“And now.” Chandra smiles. “The Halasana pose. Becky, will you demonstrate?”

“Absolutely.” I smile at Chandra and prepare to get into position on my mat.

But something’s wrong. I don’t feel contentment. I don’t feel tranquillity. The oddest feeling is welling up inside me, driving everything else out. It’s getting stronger and stronger . . .

And suddenly I can’t contain it anymore. Before I know what’s happening, I’m running in my bare feet as fast as I can up the hill toward the tiny figure. My lungs are burning, my feet are smarting, and the sun’s beating down on my bare head, but I don’t stop until I’ve reached the crest of the hill. I come to a halt and look around, panting.

I don’t believe it. He’s gone. Where did he vanish to?

I stand for a few moments, regaining my breath, peering in all directions. But I can’t see him anywhere.

At last, feeling a little dejected, I turn and make my way back down the hillside to the group. As I get near I realize they’re all shouting and waving at me. Oh God. Am I in trouble?

“You did it!” the red-haired woman’s yelling. “You did it!”

“Did what?”

“You ran over the hot coals! You did it, Becky!”


I look down at my feet . . . and I don’t believe it. They’re covered in gray ash! In a daze, I look at the pit of coals—and there’s a set of clear footprints running through it.

Oh my God. Oh my God! I ran over the coals! I ran over the burning hot smoldering coals! I did it!

“But . . . but I didn’t even notice!” I say, bewildered. “My feet aren’t even burned!”

“How did you do it?” demands the red-haired woman. “What was in your mind?”

“I can answer.” Chandra comes forward, smiling. “Becky has achieved the highest form of karmic bliss. She was concentrating on one goal, one pure image, and this has driven her body to achieve a supernatural state.”

Everyone is goggling at me like I’m suddenly the Dalai Lama.

“It was nothing, really,” I say, with a modest smile. “Just . . . you know. Spiritual enlightenment.”

“Can you describe the image?” asks the red-haired woman in excitement.

“Was it white?” someone else chimes in.

“Not really white . . .” I say.

“Was it a kind of shiny blue green?” comes Luke’s voice from the back. I look up sharply. He’s gazing at me, totally straight-faced.

“I don’t remember,” I say with dignity. “The color wasn’t important.”

“Did it feel like . . .” Luke appears to think hard. “Like the links of a chain were pulling you along?”

“That’s a very good image, Luke,” chimes in Chandra, pleased.

“No,” I say shortly. “It didn’t. Actually, I think you probably have to have a higher appreciation of spiritual matters to understand.”

“I see.” Luke nods gravely.

“Luke, you must be very proud.” Chandra beams at Luke. “Is this not the most extraordinary thing you have ever seen your wife do?”

There’s a beat of silence. Luke looks from me to the smoldering coals to the silent group and back to Chandra’s beaming face.

“Chandra,” he says. “Take it from me. This is nothing.”

After the class is finished everyone heads to the terrace, where cool drinks are waiting on a tray. But I stay on my mat, meditating, to show how dedicated I am to higher things. I’m half concentrating on the white light of my being and half imagining running over hot coals in front of Trudie and Sting while they applaud admiringly, when a shadow falls across my face.

“Greetings, O Spiritual One,” says Luke, and I open my eyes to see him standing in front of me, holding out a glass of juice.

“You’re just jealous because you don’t have a beautiful inner being,” I retort, and casually smooth back my hair so the red dot painted on my forehead shows.

“Insanely,” agrees Luke. “Have a drink.”

He sits down beside me on the ground and hands me the glass. I take a sip of delicious, ice-cold passion-fruit juice and we both look out over the hills toward the distant horizon.

“You know, I could really live in Sri Lanka,” I say with a sigh. “It’s perfect. The weather . . . the scenery . . . all the people are so friendly . . .”

“You said the same in India,” Luke points out. “And Australia,” he adds as I open my mouth. “And Amsterdam.”


God, Amsterdam. I’d completely forgotten we went there. That was after Paris. Or was it before?

Oh, yes. It was where I ate all those weird cakes and nearly fell in the canal.

I take another sip of juice and let my mind range back over the last ten months. We’ve visited so many countries, it’s kind of difficult to remember everything at once. It’s almost like a blur of film, with sharp, bright images here and there. Snorkeling with all those blue fish in the Great Barrier Reef . . . the pyramids in Egypt . . . the elephant safari in Tanzania . . . buying all that silk in Hong Kong . . . the gold souk in Morocco . . . finding that amazing Ralph Lauren outlet in Utah . . .

God, we’ve had some experiences. I sigh happily and take another sip of juice.

“I forgot to tell you.” Luke produces a pile of envelopes. “Some post came from England.”

I sit up in excitement and start leafing through the envelopes.

“Vogue!” I exclaim as I get to my special subscriber edition in its shiny plastic cover. “Ooh, look! They’ve got an Angel bag on the front cover!”

I wait for a reaction—but Luke looks blank. I feel a tiny flicker of frustration. How can he look blank? I read him out that whole piece about Angel bags last month, and showed him the pictures and everything.

I know this is our honeymoon. But just sometimes, I wish Luke was a girl.

“You know!” I say. “Angel bags! The most amazing, hip bags since . . . since . . .”

Oh, I’m not even going to bother explaining. Instead I gaze lustfully at the photograph of the bag. It’s made of soft, creamy tan calfskin, with a transparent resin handle and discreet zipper. But what makes it unique is the beautiful winged angel hand-painted on the front, with the name Gabriel underneath in diamanté. There are six different angels: Gabriel, Michael, Dante, Raphael, Uriel, and Ariel. All the celebrities have been fighting over them, and Harrods is permanently sold out. holy phenomenon says the headline beside the picture.

I’m so engrossed, I barely hear Luke’s voice as he holds out another envelope.

“Ooze,” he seems to be saying.

“Sorry?” I look up in a daze.

“Here’s another letter,” he says patiently. “From Suze.”

“Suze?” I drop Vogue and grab it out of his hand. Suze is my best friend in the world. I have so missed her.

The envelope is all thick and creamy white and has a crest on the back with a Latin motto. I always forget how totally grand Suze is. When she sent us a Christmas card it was a picture of her husband Tarquin’s castle in Scotland with from the cleath-stuart estate printed inside. (Except you could hardly read it because her one-year-old, Ernie, had covered it with red and blue fingerpaints.)

I tear it open and a stiff card falls out.

“It’s an invitation!” I exclaim. “To the christening of the twins.”

I gaze at the formal, swirly engraving, feeling a slight pang. Wilfrid and Clementine Cleath-Stuart. Suze has had two more babies and I haven’t even seen them. They must be about two months old by now. I wonder what they look like. I wonder how Suze is doing. So much has been going on without us.

I turn the card over and see that Suze has scrawled a message.

I know you won’t be able to come, but thought you’d like it anyway. . . . Hope you’re still having a wonderful time!

All our love, Suzexxx

PS Ernie loves his Chinese outfit, thank you so much!

“It’s in two weeks,” I say, showing Luke the card. “Shame, really. We won’t be able to go.”

“No,” agrees Luke. “We won’t.”

There’s a short silence. Then Luke meets my eye. “I mean . . . you’re not ready to go back yet, are you?” he says casually.

“No!” I say at once. “Of course not!”

We’ve been traveling for only ten months, and we planned to be away for at least a year. Plus, we’ve got the spirit of the road in our feet now. Maybe we’ll never be able to go back to normal life, like sailors who can’t go back and live on the land.

I put the invitation back in its envelope and take a sip of my drink. I wonder how Mum and Dad are. I haven’t heard much from them recently. In fact, the last time I called home, they both seemed a bit distracted. Mum hardly listened to my story about the elephant orphanage, and before I could ask Dad how he did in the golf tournament, he said he had to go.

And little Ernie will be walking by now. I’m his godmother and I’ve never even seen him walk.

Anyway. Never mind. I’m having amazing world experiences instead.

“We need to decide where to go next,” says Luke, leaning back on his elbows. “After we finish the yoga course. We were talking about Malaysia.”

“Yes,” I say, after a pause. It must be the heat or something, but I can’t actually get up much enthusiasm for Malaysia.

“Or back to Indonesia? Up to the northern bits?”

“Mmm,” I say noncommittally. “Oh look, a monkey.”

I cannot believe I’ve gotten so blasé about the sight of monkeys. The first time I saw those baboons in Kenya I was so excited I took about six rolls of film. Now it’s just, “Oh look, a monkey.”

“Or Nepal . . . or back to Thailand . . .”

“Or we could go back,” I hear myself saying out of nowhere.

How weird. I didn’t intend to say that. I mean, obviously we’re not going to go back yet. It hasn’t even been a year!

Luke sits up straight and looks at me.

“Back back?”

“No!” I say with a little laugh. “I’m just joking!” I hesitate. “Although . . .” There’s a still silence between us.

“Maybe . . . we don’t have to travel for a year,” I say tentatively. “If we don’t want to.”

Luke passes a hand through his hair, and the little beads on his plaits all click together.

“Are we ready to go back?” he says.

“I don’t know.” I feel a little thrill of trepidation. “Are we?”

I can hardly believe we’re even talking about going home. I mean, look at us! My hair’s all dry and sun-bleached, I’ve got henna on my feet, and I haven’t worn a proper pair of shoes for months.

An image comes to my mind of me walking down a London street in a coat and boots. Shiny high-heeled boots by L.K. Bennett. And a matching handbag.

Suddenly I feel a wave of longing so strong I almost want to cry.

“I think I’ve had enough of the world.” I look at Luke. “I’m ready for real life.”

“Me too.” Luke takes my hand and weaves his fingers between mine. “I’ve been ready for a while, actually.”

“You never said!” He seemed so into it! I’ve never had an inkling he’s been bored.

“I didn’t want to break up the party. But I’m certainly ready.”

“You would have kept traveling . . . just for me?” I say, touched.

“Well, it’s not exactly hardship.” Luke looks at me wryly. “We’re hardly roughing it, are we?”

I feel a slight flush come to my cheeks. When we set off on this trip, I told Luke I was determined we were going to be real travelers, like in The Beach, and sleep only in little huts.

That was before I’d spent a night in a little hut.

“So when we say ‘back’ ”—Luke pauses—“we are talking London?”

He looks at me questioningly.

Oh God. Finally, it’s decision time.

We’ve been talking for ten months about where we should live after the honeymoon. Before we got married, Luke and I were living in New York. And I loved it. But I kind of missed home, too. And now Luke’s U.K. business is expanding into more of Europe, and that’s where all the excitement is. So he’d like to go back to London, at least for a while.

Which is fine . . . except I won’t have a job. My old job was as a personal shopper at Barneys New York. And I adored it.

But never mind. I’m bound to find a new job. An even better one!

“London,” I say decisively, and look up. “So . . . can we be back in time for the christening?”

“If you like.” Luke smiles, and I feel a sudden leap of exhilaration. We’re going to the christening! I’m going to see Suze again! And my mum and dad! After nearly a year! They’ll all be so excited to see us. We’ll have so many stories to tell them!

I have a sudden vision of myself presiding over candlelit supper parties with all my friends gathered round, listening avidly to tales of faraway lands and exotic adventures. I’ll be just like Marco Polo or someone! Then I’ll open my trunk to reveal rare and precious treasures . . . everyone will gasp in admiration—

“We’d better let them know,” says Luke, getting up.

“No, wait,” I say, grabbing his trousers. “I’ve had an idea. Let’s surprise them! Let’s surprise everybody!”

“Surprise everybody?” Luke looks doubtful. “Becky, are you sure that’s a good idea?”

“It’s a brilliant idea! Everyone loves a surprise!”

“But . . .”

“Everyone loves a surprise,” I repeat confidently. “Trust me.”

We walk back through the gardens to the main hotel—and I do feel a slight twinge at the thought of leaving. It’s so beautiful here. All teak bungalows and amazing birds everywhere, and if you follow the stream through the grounds, there’s a real waterfall! We pass the wood-carving center, where you can watch craftsmen at work, and I pause for a moment, inhaling the delicious scent of wood.

“Mrs. Brandon!” The head craftsman, Vijay, has appeared at the entrance.

Damn. I didn’t know he’d be around.

“Sorry, Vijay!” I say quickly. “I’m in a bit of a hurry. I’ll see you later. . . . Come on, Luke!”

“No problem!” Vijay beams and wipes his hands on his apron. “I just wanted to tell you that your table is ready.”


Slowly Luke turns to look at me.

“Table?” he says.

“Your dining table,” says Vijay in happy tones. “And ten chairs. I show you! We display the work!” He snaps his fingers and barks some orders and suddenly, to my dismay, about eight men troop out, carrying a huge carved teak table on their shoulders.

Wow. It’s a tad bigger than I remembered.

Luke looks absolutely stunned.

“Bring the chairs!” Vijay is bossing the men. “Set it up properly!”

“Isn’t it lovely?” I say in superbright tones.

“You ordered a dining table and ten chairs . . . without telling me?” says Luke, goggling as the chairs arrive.

OK. I don’t have many options here.

“It’s . . . my wedding present to you!” I say with sudden inspiration. “It’s a surprise! Happy wedding, darling!” I plant a kiss on his cheek and smile hopefully up at him.

“Becky, you already gave me a wedding present,” says Luke, folding his arms. “And our wedding was a fairly long time ago now.”

“I’ve been . . . saving it up!” I lower my voice so Vijay can’t hear. “And honestly, it isn’t that expensive . . .”

“Becky, it’s not the money. It’s the space! This thing’s a monstrosity!”

“It’s not that big. And anyway,” I quickly add before he can reply, “we need a good table! Every marriage needs a good table.” I spread my arms widely. “After all, what is marriage about if not sitting down at the table at the end of the day and sharing all our problems? What is marriage, if not sitting together at a solid wooden table and . . . and eating a bowl of hearty stew?”

“Hearty stew?” echoes Luke. “Who’s going to make hearty stew?”

“We can buy it at Waitrose,” I explain.

I come round the table and look up at him earnestly. “Luke, think about it. We’ll never again be in Sri Lanka with authentic wood-carvers right in front of us. This is a unique opportunity. And I’ve had it personalized!”

I point to the panel of wood running down the side of the table. There, beautifully carved in among the flowers, are the words Luke and Rebecca, Sri Lanka, 2003.

Luke runs a hand over the table. He feels the weight of one of the chairs. I can see him relenting. Then suddenly he looks up with a slight frown.

“Becky, is there anything else you’ve bought that you haven’t told me about?”

I feel a nervous flip inside, which I disguise by pretending to examine one of the carved flowers.

“Of course not!” I say at last. “Or . . . you know. Maybe just the odd little souvenir along the way. Just here and there.”

“Like what?”

“I can’t remember!” I exclaim. “It’s been ten months, for goodness’ sake!” I look at the table again. “Come on, Luke, you must love it. We can have fantastic dinner parties . . . and it’ll be an heirloom! We can hand it down to our children—”

I break off a bit awkwardly. For a moment I can’t quite look at Luke.

A few months ago we had this huge big discussion and decided that we’d like to try for a baby. But so far nothing’s happened.

I mean, not that it’s a big deal or anything. It will happen. Of course it will.

“All right,” says Luke, his voice a little gentler. “You’ve won me over.” He gives the table a pat, then looks at his watch. “I’m going to e-mail the office, tell them about our change of plans.” He gives me a wry look. “Presumably you weren’t expecting me to burst open the door of the boardroom and yell ‘Surprise, I’m back!’?”

“Of course not!” I retort, barely missing a beat.

That is, actually, kind of what I’d pictured. Except I’d be there too, with a bottle of champagne and maybe some party poppers.

“I’m not quite that stupid,” I add witheringly.

“Good.” Luke grins at me. “Why don’t you order us some drinks and I’ll be out in a moment.”

As I sit down at a table on the shady terrace, I’m just a tad preoccupied. I’m trying to remember all the things I’ve bought and had shipped home without telling Luke.

I mean, I’m not worried or anything. It can’t be that much stuff. Can it?

Oh God. I close my eyes, trying to remember.

There were the wooden giraffes in Malawi. The ones Luke said were too big. Which is just ridiculous. They’ll look amazing! Everyone will admire them!

And there was all that gorgeous batik art in Bali. Which I did intend to tell him about . . . but then kind of never got round to it.

And there were the twenty Chinese silk dressing gowns.

Which . . . OK, I know twenty sounds like quite a lot. But they were such a bargain! Luke just didn’t seem to understand my point that if we bought twenty now, they would last us a lifetime and be a real investment. For someone who works in financial PR, he can be a bit slow off the mark sometimes.

So I snuck back to the shop and bought them anyway, and had them shipped home.

The thing is, shipping just makes everything so easy. You don’t have to lug anything about—you just point and ship: “I’d like that shipped, please. And that. And that.” And you give them your card and off it goes, and Luke never even sees it. . . .

Maybe I should have kept a list.

Anyway, it’s fine. I’m sure it’s fine.

And, I mean, we want a few souvenirs, don’t we? What’s the point of going round the world and coming back empty-handed? Exactly.

I see Chandra walking past the terrace and give him a friendly wave.

“You did very well in class today, Becky!” he says, and comes over to the table. “And now I would like to ask you something. In two weeks’ time I am leading an advanced meditation retreat. The others are mainly monks and long-term yoga practitioners, but I feel you have the commitment to join us. Would you be interested?”

“I’d love to!” Then I pull a regretful face. “But I can’t. Luke and I are going home!”

“Home?” Chandra looks shocked. “But . . . you are doing so well. You are not going to abandon the path of yoga?”

“Oh no,” I say reassuringly. “Don’t worry. I’ll buy a video.”

As Chandra walks off, he looks a little shell-shocked. Which actually, isn’t surprising. He probably didn’t even realize you could get yoga videos. He certainly didn’t seem to have heard of Geri Halliwell.

A waiter appears and I order a beer for Luke, plus a mango and papaya cocktail, which in the menu is called Happy Juice. Well, that just about suits me. Here I am in the sunshine, on my honeymoon, about to have a surprise reunion with all the people I love. Everything’s perfect!

I look up to see Luke approaching the table, holding his handheld computer. Is it my imagination, or is he walking faster and looking more animated than he has for months?

“OK,” he says. “I’ve spoken to the office.”

“Is everything all right?”

“It certainly is.” He seems full of a suppressed energy. “It’s going very well. In fact, I want to set up a couple of meetings for the end of this week.”

“That was quick!” I say in astonishment.

Blimey. I’d thought it would take about a week just to get ourselves organized.

“But I know how much you’re getting out of this yoga retreat,” he adds. “So what I propose is that I go on ahead, and you join me later . . . and then we return to Britain together.”

“So, where are your meetings?” I say, confused.


The waiter appears with my Happy Juice and Luke’s beer.

“But I don’t want to be separated from you!” I say as the waiter retreats. “This is our honeymoon!”

“We have had ten solid months together . . .” Luke gently points out.

“I know. But still . . .” I take a disconsolate sip of Happy Juice. “Where are you going in Italy?”

“Nowhere exciting,” Luke says after a pause. “Just a . . . northern Italian city. Very dull. I recommend you stay here. Enjoy the sunshine.”

“Well . . .” I look around, feeling torn. It is pretty nice here. “Which city?”

There’s silence.

“Milan,” Luke says reluctantly.

“Milan?” I nearly fall off my chair with excitement. “You’re going to Milan? I’ve never been to Milan! I’d love to go to Milan!”

“No,” says Luke. “Really?”

“Yes! Definitely! It’s the fashion capital of the world! I mean, it’s got Prada . . . and Dolce—” I break off as I catch his expression. “And . . . er . . . it’s a place of great cultural interest which no modern traveler should miss. Luke, I have to come.”

“OK.” Luke shakes his head ruefully. “I must be mad, but OK.”

Elated, I lean back in my chair and take a big slurp of Happy Juice. This honeymoon just gets better and better!

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 357 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 357 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

    Shopaholic and Sister

    This book series never disappoints. I love reading through Becky's adventures knowing that it will all pan out in the end is a mystery. Becky gets herself into major jams this time involving Luke's reputation this time. Plus a long lost sister that is completely different in the mix spells for an interesting story long.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 28, 2008


    My friend gave me this book and told me it was funny. I LOVED it, it was hilarious. As if the writer is talking to you. It really cracked me up. Every day, when I come from work so stressed out and pissed off from my boss or stupid co-workers, I cuddle up to this book and just forget all about the sad things in my day.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 6, 2014


    This book is what I call a mindless read. There is no emotional ties in this book. It is just a light read. It is something to pass the time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Shopaholic is back and I enjoyed the continuing story. Okay, may

    Shopaholic is back and I enjoyed the continuing story. Okay, maybe a bit recycled and maybe Becky should really get a reality check and curb the lying -- but, this is a character and a series that you will either enjoy or not. I enjoy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2014



    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 8, 2014

    Not recommended

    The main character a spoiled rotten person. I couldn't believe how she bought anything and everything in sight. In the end she changes but it was unrealistic.

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

    Posted May 13, 2013


    Great book and series

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    Love it

    Love it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Good continuation

    Delightful if you like the series

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012


    Great book! Must read!

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

    Posted January 7, 2012


    Becky is starting to grow up!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2012

    Another great one in this series!

    Very enjoyable read!

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

    Posted November 30, 2011

    Fun, easy read

    I enjoyed this book although I have to say it is a little too predictable at times. It is fun, classic Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 11, 2011

    R Entertaining

    Loved it. Even if you know the story its still intregu

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Lots of fun!

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2011


    Funniest one in the series thus far!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 29, 2010

    Good story-

    This is the sequel to the "Shopaholic ties the Knot". These are cute stories that are fun and easy to read. They do not require any brain power which can be nice sometimes. This is the story about Luke and Becky's honeymoon. She gets to meet a half sister that she never new she had. This sister is very different from her, she hates to shop, is frugal and into computers very much unlike Becky. It is funny and just a fun, entertaining story that will be quick to read.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Shopaholic and Sister

    A totally hilarious and true blue chick lit novel,this novel was entertaining and i think is a great summer read or just to snuggle up with.It has humor,romance and friendship,I feel Becky has grown up a little by the end of the book.

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  • Posted September 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Becky BBy:)

    KK:)I can say alot about this book it's funny and crazy in the same time a shopaholic and her sister its like me and my sister because my name well my nickname is Becky foo-Shoo hahahahah lol kk so if you don't like this book than you dnt got a ife and if you like this book that your a cool Kat cant wait 4 thaa 2nd book eventhough i dnt ik reading but i like reading Sophie Kinsella's Book's:)kk:) bye
    Becky BBy!!!!

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  • Posted September 10, 2009

    sophie kinsella is great

    the book was hilarous..another great read from the shopaholic series..cant wait for another!!!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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