In this delightful, clever spin on Cinderella, Charlie Glass—a heroine as loveable as Cannie Shapiro and Bridget Jones—inherits her father’s shoe empire and snatches up a drop-dead-gorgeous, multi-millionaire Prince Charming. But is he truly the key to her happily ever after?
When Charlie’s beloved father, iconic shoe designer Elroy Glass, dies after a long illness, everyone expects that he’ll leave his business to his glamorous wife and eldest daughters. After all, they’ve been running the company for years. But Elroy surprises everyone from beyond the grave: at the will reading, it’s announced that his fashion empire has been left to Charlie, his youngest—and plumpest—daughter.
Before she can run the company, Charlie decides she needs to make a few changes in her life. After several weeks at a California boot camp, she returns to London a new woman: thinner, blonder, and ready to revitalize the Elroy Glass brand. But as she’ll soon discover, a good esthetician and a killer pair of stilettos can only go so far, and there’s more to reinvention—and running a fashion empire—than meets the eye.
Endlessly entertaining, surprising, and ultimately inspiring, Charlie Glass’s Slippers is a modern-day fairytale about finding your own magic and transforming yourself from within.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Holly McQueen is the author of four novels—The Glamorous (Double) Life of Isabel Bookbinder, Fabulously Fashionable, Confetti Confidential, and There Goes the Bride. She lives in London with her husband.
Read an Excerpt
Charlie Glass's Slippers
I suppose I should be more upset by Eloise-from-Grazia forgetting my name and then swanning off to talk to someone more interesting. But it’s hardly worth getting offended. I mean, fashion people aren’t going to waste their time chewing the fat with someone who’s so obviously not one of them.
I’m not one of them, in fact, in more ways than you’d think. Mostly because I’m the combined size of at least three of them. And I’m not Putting Myself Down when I say that, by the way (Putting Myself Down being another one of Lucy’s pet peeves). I’m just stating an out-and-out fact. The average size of the women in this room has to be . . . a four. Well, if it’s a four, then my ratio is accurate. At least in the bum department, seeing as my (roughly) planet-sized rear end is the reason I had to buy my new dress in a size sixteen rather than the fourteen, which fitted okay everywhere else. It’s a wrap dress, specially ordered from the euphemistically titled “plus” section of H&M online, so at least I’ve managed to fasten the tie-belt a bit tighter around my waist, and hopefully not look as though I’m (partially, at least) a size sixteen. I felt pretty good in it, especially teaming it with these shoes. They’re peep-toed four-inch heels, and they’re made from soft, silver leather that’s covered with tiny, glittering crystals—impossible to walk in but magical to look at. Anyway, what with the new dress, the vintage shoes, and careful makeup to emphasize my eyes and bring out my cheekbones (which I’m still determined to believe are lurking there somewhere), I was congratulating myself on scrubbing up well, until I got to the church earlier and realized that everyone else was kitted out in Armani Privé and new-season Stella McCartney.
Talking of Armani, Privé or otherwise, Gaby has caught my eye from across the room. She’s mouthing Sacher torte!!! at me as if she’s a drowning woman and the only thing that will save her is a life raft made from traditional Viennese chocolate cake.
Fine—Sacher torte it is. I stop faffing with teacups and set off for the staircase at the back of the store to go up to the first-floor storeroom, where I’ve stashed the rest of my baked delights.
It’s yet more tortuous progress, because the stairs are shallow and uneven. This isn’t exactly news to me, but navigating these stairs in spindly heels is an entirely different ball game from running up and down them in sensible buckled Mary Janes, the way I used to when I was a child. This, Dad’s original flagship shoe store, was my and Lucy’s favorite Saturday-morning hangout when we were six and seven. Down on the shop floor, where the scary-eyebrowed fashionistas are now fiendishly networking, there was a thrilling air of decadence, with loud music, popping champagne corks, and a revolving door of perfumed and glamorous customers, who all seemed to be half in love with Dad. But up in the stockrooms above, things were even more thrilling, at least for a couple of six-year-olds. In the first-floor stockrooms, you could play endless hours of “shoe shop” with the pairs of shoes you secretly took down from the shelves; or, up in Dad’s airy, light-filled studio on the second floor, you could pull a couple of chairs up to one of the many windows and spend whole afternoons “spying” over the backyards of the neighboring stores, which would occasionally—grippingly—feature the canoodling couple from behind the counter at the café next door, or some of the staff from the nearby health food shop gathering to smoke weird-smelling homemade cigarettes out in the back.
There was even one—only one—glorious Saturday morning here with Gaby and Robyn. I barely ever got to see my half sisters until I went to live with them when I was eight, so an unexpected opportunity to hang out with them would have been exciting enough even if it hadn’t been here at the store. Admittedly, things weren’t absolutely perfect—Dad let each of us pick out a pair of shoes to play dress-up with, and we all inadvertently picked red pairs, which made Gaby go into a mood because she thought we’d copied her, and made Robyn cry because she wanted both of us to wear boring black ones—but it’s a happy memory for me nonetheless. Though when I tried to mention it to Gaby earlier today, in an attempt to create a glow of rosy nostalgia for the old place, she simply stared blankly at me and claimed it had never happened.
Of course, this place hasn’t housed an Elroy Glass store, much less a flagship one, ever since my stepmother, Diana, finally got her way four or five years ago and moved operations to a swanky new site on Bond Street instead. She is the CEO, after all—a position she’s occupied ever since she married Dad thirty-five years ago—and Dad had been so ill that he’d stopped even the pretense that he was still designing many months previously, so I suppose it was her prerogative. The old store has been let out to a succession of businesses ever since—most recently an antiquarian book dealership—but seeing as it’s not really at the plum end of King’s Road anymore (really, it’s more like the prune end of King’s Road), it’s never exactly regained its old atmosphere. In fact, after Gaby’s swift and merciless makeover downstairs, to get the place suitable for today’s party, it’s more lacking in atmosphere than ever before. Which makes the quiet, almost padded calm of the unchanged upper floors feel melancholy in comparison.
Dad’s old studio has been taken over by these big crates, filled with old pairs of his shoes, that at some point have been moved up here from the more convenient first-floor stockroom by one of the intrepid but unsuccessful shopkeepers who have leased the place over the last few years. I’ve used one of the crates to conveniently store my cakes on—the two remaining lemon drizzle cakes and the rich, glossy Sacher torte that Gaby has sent me to fetch—but there’s another crate free, luckily, for me to perch on and rest my protesting feet.
The voice takes me by surprise. Though the windows up here are grubbier than they used to be in Dad’s day, there are still enough of them that I can easily look out over the back of the store. Two buildings along, and almost at a right angle to the back of this building—the site of the old health food store, actually, where the dodgy cigarettes were smoked—a man is waving at me from out of an open second-floor sash window.
It’s Ferdy Wright, the love of my life.
Well, okay: secret crush is probably a more accurate description. You can’t call someone the love of your life unless that person is actually in love with you, too—can you? And Ferdy Wright isn’t in love with me. We’re just friends—and fairly new friends, at that. His dad, Martin, has been a kind of friend of the family for the best part of two decades, but I’d never met his son until Martin broke his ankle skiing two winters ago and I bumped into Ferdy during hospital visiting hours when I was dropping by with an Ian Rankin novel and a box of praline seashells for his dad. We got to chatting by the coffee vending machine and our friendship just kind of blossomed out of that.
I get up from my crate, manhandle one of my own sash windows open, and lean out to greet him.
“Ferdy! What are you doing there?”
“Plumbing in the staff toilet!” he calls back. “But don’t get me wrong, Charlie. My life’s not all glitz and glamour. The rest of my day has been spent with the health and safety people from the council, discussing how to block off access points for a variety of delightful rodents!”
I should explain: the reason Ferdy is two buildings along at all is because that’s where he’s setting up a new branch of his ice-cream parlor business. It’s called Chill, and he already has two branches—one in Soho and one just off Marylebone High Street. They’re really gorgeous: proper old-fashioned Italian ice-cream parlors with retro fifties décor in appropriately ice-creamy shades of strawberry and pistachio, but with modern touches like slouchy leather sofas and free Wi-Fi. And more gorgeous still are the ice creams themselves, all homemade and delicious, from traditional Italian flavors like dark chocolate tartufo and zabaglione to Ferdy’s trad-with-a-twist confections like blackberry ripple and lemon-meringue crunch.
And more gorgeous still, of course, is the owner himself. Even at this distance, today, I can make out his wide, open grin and the cheery gleam in his pebble-colored eyes. His hair is messy and tufty and a kind of dusty brown (dusty because that’s its natural shade, I mean, not dusty because he doesn’t bother to wash it; in fact, I’ve surreptitiously inhaled his hair on several occasions, and I’m thrilled to report that it smells very freshly washed indeed, with sparkling notes of citrus and peppermint). As for his build, he’s not what you’d call perfectly in shape (actually, he has a distinct hint of ice-cream-induced tummy), but he’s tall and broad and strong-looking, which is incredibly handy for this silly fantasy I sometimes have. I won’t give you all the embarrassing details, but there’s this part where Fantasy Ferdy sweeps Fantasy Me into his arms and lifts me up onto his Fantasy Horse. And there’s a rain-lashed moor in there, too, the bleak landscape of which Fantasy Me has been wandering for some unspecified reason, looking artfully disheveled in a ragged bodice and a threadbare cloak, until Fantasy Ferdy rides out of the mist and does his whole lifting-me-onto-his-horse thing.
“I was thinking about you this morning, actually,” Real-life Ferdy calls out now, from his window.
“Yes. I’m trying out a new mint stracciatella ice-cream recipe and I really need to get your opinion on it. There’s an issue with the amount of chocolate chips. Honey—she’s the interior designer for the new store—tasted it yesterday and she thinks there are too many chocolate chips. And I think there are too few. So I thought to myself, who else is there who can give me proper advice about all-important chocolate quantities but my head of R and D? That’s you, by the way, Charlie. It’s an unpaid position, I should warn you, but one of great influence and honor. I expect,” he adds, pushing up his sash window so that he can position himself more comfortably, sitting on the inside ledge rather than leaning out of it, “you’ll be getting calls from top headhunters quite soon, trying to poach you to go and work for rival ice-cream makers, people who promise six-figure salaries and exciting foreign travel. But don’t forget that I was the one who discovered you, Charlie Glass. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you unlimited ice cream, that’s all I’ll say.”
He’s joking. Well, he’s joking about the rival ice-cream companies. And it’s an exaggeration that he’s calling me his head of research and development, because obviously I’m nothing of the sort. But then, this is kind of the basis on which our friendship has blossomed since we first met. I think he was only being kind at first, because we’d discussed my dream of working with food one day, but he started bringing around samples of his ice cream for me to taste and comment on. The first few times we tried them together, but after that he really seemed to start taking me seriously. He started bringing around so many that we couldn’t taste them all at once, so I became more methodical about it, blind-tasting the different varieties after he’d left and writing up proper tasting notes to email him. I can’t help feeling that he was a bit taken aback the first time I emailed an entire page of (single-spaced) notes on his bitter-chocolate sorbet, but honestly, ever since, he seems to really value my opinion. For example, when I emailed to let him know that his blackberry ripple was good and sharp, but might benefit from some crunch, he wrote back within five minutes to ask do you mean biscuity kind of crunch or honeycomb-y kind of crunch? And should I try similar ripple thing with rhubarb?
“I’d love to try your . . .” I won’t attempt to say the word; I’ve never been able to properly pronounce what I call scratchy umbrella ice cream. “. . . new mint ice cream, Ferdy. Whenever you want.”
“There’s no rush. You’re busy. Anyway, what are you doing there?” he carries on, gesturing at my window. “I thought you said you never went to your dad’s old store.”
“I don’t. Not usually. It was Dad’s memorial service this afternoon.”
“Oh, Charlie.” The limitations of holding a conversation across fifty feet of space are becoming clear. Ferdy looks stricken, but he’s still having to shout. “Oh, God, I’m so sorry. You should have said! You know I’d have come, if you’d mentioned it.”
“Don’t worry, you weren’t invited! I mean,” I add, hastily, when I see him look a bit put out, “nobody was invited. Nobody normal, that is.” I’m just going to have to hope that none of Gaby’s illustrious guests have stuck their heads out the back window downstairs for a smoke. “It’s fashion people,” I clarify, “and really, it’s more of a business thing than a . . . Dad thing. My sister’s the one in charge.”
“The bossy sister, or the loopy one?”
Now I really hope nobody’s stuck her head out of the back window for a smoke.
“Gaby,” I say, wishing I hadn’t told Ferdy quite so much about my family. “But I guess she does need to do the client-schmoozing stuff. She is the head of PR, after all.”
“Oh, right. Still, I wish you’d told me about today, Charlie. I’d have come and taken you for lunch.”
Like, as in lunch . . . out?
I know this sounds weird, given that we’re friends and everything, but Ferdy and I have never been out, together, anywhere at all. Partly, that’s because until around three months ago, Ferdy had a very pretty girlfriend called Davina, but also with Dad so ill these past few months, I couldn’t even go down the road to Tesco without getting Lucy to come in and sit with him for twenty minutes. This, though, was the thing that transformed me and Ferdy from friend-ly to proper friends, because when he found out that I was so housebound he immediately volunteered, without taking no for an answer, to come and sit with Dad whenever Lucy wasn’t available and I needed to get something important done out of the house. Thanks to Ferdy, these past months, I’ve been able to get the shopping done, go to urgent dentist’s appointments, and—once or twice—just have an hour or so walking by the river to clear my head.
It was also the thing, I have to admit, that turned Ferdy from a guy-I-had-a-bit-of-a-crush-on into the unrequited love of my life.
As for his own motivation . . . well, I don’t know. Lucy (of course) is convinced that these are the sorts of kindnesses you’d show someone only if you were wildly in love with her. But I think these are the sorts of kindnesses you show someone if you just happen to be a seriously good guy. Not to mention the fact that, thanks to his dad, Martin, Ferdy knows I’ve not always had the easiest time of it, even before Dad got ill. I’m pretty sure that his generosity has been nothing more than the result of an exceptionally sweet and gentle nature. After all, if he were (ha!) wildly in love with me, there are all kinds of other ways he could show it.
Like . . . like asking me out for lunch, for example?
The mere thought that this might—just might—be an entry into a new phase in our relationship is enough to make me wobble off my shoes slightly. I have to grab on to the windowsill for safety.
“Charlie? Christ—are you okay?”
“I’m fine—it’s just these silly heels I’m wearing!”
“Good. Because I’d really rather you didn’t plummet to your certain death from an open window today, if it’s all the same to you.”
“Oh, I don’t think it’d be certain death. I’d break an ankle, probably, or maybe a thigh bone . . .”
“Either way,” Ferdy interrupts me, thankfully, before I can get started on fractured hips or shattered pelvises, “I’d prefer it if there wasn’t any plummeting at all. I mean, I’d be prepared to come and eat sandwiches by your hospital bed, but if we’re going to do this lunch at any point, I’d rather do it properly.”
This lunch? Now he’s so determined to do it that he’s calling it this lunch?
I ought to be able to handle a situation like this one. I mean, Ferdy is only suggesting a bloody lunch, not a torrid all-night sexathon in a five-star hotel. I should be able to string the words lovely, would, yes, lunch, and be into a coherent sentence, then move on to the easy, practical matter of coordinating a suitable day, time, and place. But I’m speechless. So I decide to muster up one of those flirty, swooshy hair moves I’m always seeing Robyn do when men are around in the hope that Ferdy will take this as encouragement. And if it all goes wrong, I’m so far away from him that it will probably just look like I’m avoiding a fly or something.
So I risk it. I go for the hair swoosh.
I shouldn’t have. I’ve forgotten that my center of gravity is already thrown off by the spindly four-inch heels.
I wobble for the second time in as many minutes, but this time, it’s a really serious wobble. As my head comes back to its usual, non-swooshy position, I try to grab the windowsill for support. But I misjudge the height of the windowsill. I try to grab something else for support. But there is only air. My only option is to flail wildly backwards until I come to a halt, in a sitting position and with a real thud, on top of the crate behind me.
No. It’s not a thud, sorry. It’s more of a . . . squelch. Because I’ve come to a halt on top of the Sacher torte that was on top of the crate behind me.
Ferdy may be fifty feet away, but I’m pretty sure he can still see my face above the windowsill, so it’s imperative that my face does not give him any indication that I’ve just sat down on a chocolate cake.
“Charlie?” Ferdy is looking a bit uncertain. “Was that just you falling off your shoes again? Or is the idea of us having lunch that appalling to you?”
“No! It is the shoes, I mean. Lunch would be . . . brilliant.” I’m desperate to make him realize that I am, actually, keen, which is probably why the next thing I hear myself say is, “Or dinner, even!”
“Dinner?” He looks startled. “Just . . . you and me?”
Shit. I’ve pushed things too far.
“I didn’t mean . . . I’m having friends over tomorrow night, in fact!” It’s a lie, but it’s a get-out-of-jail card. After all, a preplanned dinner with friends, to which I’m casually inviting him at the very last minute, couldn’t be any farther away from the date that’s so obviously spooking him right now, could it? “So why not swing by?”
“I could . . . swing by.”
“Brilliant! Well, I’d better let you get back to your toilet.”
“Your plumbing, I mean . . .” It’s not ideal that, right at this moment, beneath my left buttock, the Sacher torte gives a squelch so loud I’m almost certain he can hear it fifty feet away. “And I’d better get back to my memorial.”
“God, yes—look, I really hope it all goes okay, Charlie . . .”
“It’s all fine! It’s great, in fact. I’ll see you tomorrow, Ferdy! Eight o’clock all right?”
“Yes, eight is all right.”
I get up, give him a wave, and close the window. I make very sure not to turn my back to him until he’s given me a little wave of his own and disappeared back through his own window. Then, and only then, do I start trying to inspect the worst of the damage.
It’s a toss-up between which is more destroyed: the chocolate cake or my new H&M “plus-sized” dress.
Nope—it’s definitely the chocolate cake.
On the bright side: at least the sponge must have been lovely and light, because if it had been chewy and tough, it might have done a better job of withstanding the backside blitzkrieg.
On the less bright side: I can hear sharp footsteps, and—barely a moment later—Gaby appears in the stockroom doorway.
“Oh, for Christ’s sake, Charlie,” she says—astonishingly for her, more in weariness than in anger. “You’ve sat on the Sacher torte.”
There’s really no point in trying to deny this. “Yes.”
“Well, it was the shoes. I wobbled . . .”
“For Christ’s sake.”
“But, you know, Dad loved lemon drizzle cake, too! I don’t think it’ll ruin your little speech, if you still want to make it . . .”
“It doesn’t even matter what cake,” she says. “I just wanted something ceremonial to cut after my speech, that’s all. More to the point, you can’t possibly wander around the party with what looks like . . . well, never mind what it looks like. And Becca can’t manage all by herself, and Robyn is still acting like a liability every time she opens her silly great mouth . . . But I’m on my own. As usual.”
She sounds tired, rather than irritated, which makes me feel even worse.
“Look, Gab, I’m really sorry. Give me five minutes and I’ll probably be able to scrape the worst of it off.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. It looks awful.” She sighs. “Honestly, Charlie. You are hopeless. And I could really have done without this today, you know.”
Which is unfair, because it’s not as if I regularly go around sitting on cakes. But Gaby has just said this as if sitting on cakes is my life’s work. Whereas, to the very best of my recollection, I’ve never sat on a cake before. Though I do admit that today probably wasn’t the best of times to start.
“You shouldn’t have worn the shoes, Charlie, if you were going to be a liability in them. Still, I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies. At least you didn’t fling a boiling-hot teapot over Keira Knightley or anything!”
Which is even more unfair, because I never came close to flinging a teapot over anyone. And anyway, Keira Knightley isn’t here. I know, because Gaby was moaning, all morning, about Keira Knightley turning down the invitation.
“Look, I think it’d be better if you just headed home, Charlie, okay? You’re no use to me here, now, all covered in chocolate cake.”
It’s not that I want to stay—in fact, it’s not as if I really wanted to be here in the first place—but I don’t particularly want to be unceremoniously ejected from my own father’s memorial, either.
Mind you, as a not terribly grief-stricken shriek of fashionista laughter floats up to the second floor, I’m reminded that it isn’t really Dad’s memorial at all. It’s a networking event. For people who, for the past few years, wouldn’t have known Dad from a hole in the ground. And he would have felt just as out of place here as I have.
“Sure. I’ll go home.”
“I mean, it’s not exactly your kind of crowd, is it?” Gaby is obviously feeling a bit guilty, not quite looking me in the eye as she comes to pick up the tray holding the two remaining lemon drizzle cakes. “But, you know, thanks for the cooking and everything.”
“I . . . well, I appreciate it, Charlie.”
I follow her out of the stockroom and down the rickety staircase. Halfway down, I hear a sudden clatter of heels, and Robyn appears at the bottom of the staircase below us.
“There you are,” she tells Gaby. “I’ve been looking for you for ages. Tatler wants a photograph of the two of us together . . . isn’t that right?” she asks the Tatler photographer, who’s lurking behind her, pretending that he isn’t eyeing up her tiny, peachy little bottom.
“Yeah,” he says, “I’ve been told we need a pic of the Glass sisters . . .”
“Then we have to have Charlie in the picture, too!” Robyn declares, reaching around Gaby to practically pull me down the last few stairs. “You can stand in between us, Charlie, and stop Gaby from digging her nails into my arm or stamping her heel into my foot.”
“One time I did that,” Gaby spits at her. “And it was only because you kept trying to get in front of me in all my wedding photos.”
“Oh, I don’t think I should be in the photo, really,” I say. I’m all too conscious of the fact that I was hardly the photographer’s pick for Look of the Year before I got Sacher torte all over myself. “Besides, I was just leaving . . .”
“Bollocks to that,” says Robyn, looping an arm through mine to prevent any attempt at escape. “You’re a Glass sister, aren’t you?”
“Is she?” the photographer mutters, not-that-inaudibly.
“Anyway,” Robyn adds, as Gaby places herself on my other side and we all wait for the photographer to get his shot right, “I’m looking really podge in loads of my photos at the moment. If I stand next to you, Cha-Cha, I look teeny-tiny!”
Just as the camera flash goes off, Gaby obviously remembers that she’s still holding the tray of lemon drizzle cakes. Quick-thinking, she shoves the tray sideways into one of my hands, so that nobody could mistake her for the waitress amongst the three of us.
Then, as soon as this Kodak moment is over, Gaby grabs the tray from me again, and Robyn sees someone she simply has to talk to, and they both stalk back into the hub of the party, leaving me with the Tatler photographer.
“Would you mind,” I ask him, “if I had a look at the picture?”
“Knock yourself out,” he says, handing me the camera so I can peer at the display window on the back.
It’s not a great photo. It’s not even a good photo. Gaby is looking slightly startled, so determined is she to divest herself of the domestic-looking tray before a solitary Tatler reader might spot her with it. Robyn looks her usual photogenic self—at first glance—but on a closer inspection is rather wild of eye, presumably thanks to whatever narcotic she recently inhaled. And I . . . well, the less said about my (shiny, frizzy, overweight) appearance the better. The only positive function I’m fulfilling in this picture is that I do, indeed, make Robyn look teeny-tiny. And, I guess that—if printed in the Tatler—I might make most of the readers feel better about themselves, too.
Nevertheless, it’s the three of us. It’s the Glass sisters. Not united in a single picture since the time, more than twenty years ago, when—on another of those exceptionally rare occasions when I got to hang out with Gaby and Robyn—Dad took us all to Bethnal Green for the day, to visit his uncle Mort. Dad kept that picture on his bedside table right up until the day he died: a seven-year-old me, standing in between a nine-year-old Robyn and a twelve-year-old Gaby. Gaby is frowning at the camera with the disapproving expression she wore throughout that entire day at Uncle Mort’s, where she found the cousins too loud and the house too small and the food too Jewish. Robyn is pouting, as she did that entire day, because Dad had refused to drive via Knightsbridge, where she wanted to try on a new party dress they were keeping aside for her at Harrods. And I—thrilled by the exotic food, enjoying the noisy cousins, but most of all, loving every rare minute I got to spend with my sisters—am beaming wide enough to pull a muscle, and trying to put an arm around Gaby and Robyn to draw them both closer.
“Could I get a copy of this?” I ask the photographer now, thinking that—unflattering a shot though it is—it might be nice to prop it up beside the old photo on Dad’s bedside table for a while, until I’ve psyched myself up to clear his room out. I feel that Dad would like this, somehow. I feel that, amongst the ghastliness and fakeness of this memorial, the photo might stand in true memorial to Dad: that he may be gone, but that he still has three daughters who—in their own ways—loved him.
“Sorry. Making copies is a load of hassle. Look in the magazine for the next couple of months, though. You never know—you might see it on the party pages.”
But I can tell from his tone of voice that the photo won’t be on the party pages. That coverage of Dad’s memorial will be limited to his pictures of the very thin, very groomed, very surprised-looking guests instead.
The photographer takes back his camera, and I slip out of the door onto King’s Road, making sure I don’t transfer a smear of chocolate icing from my dress onto Gaby’s pristine white walls as I go.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Really enjoyed this book
Holly McQueen has taken one of my favorite fairy tales and created a wonderful modern day story. Let me tell you some of the things that made this really stand out in my mind. First we have Charlie which is short for Charlotte. She is the plump member of the family. She gets walked on by her sisters. She is a peacemaker. She is not exactly a fashionista. Her sister Gaby is all show and about as snooty and uppity as they come. Robyn tries to put on airs. She definitely has some problems. She’s just come back from getting help from having a break down. Charlie has a small dinner and ends up trying to keep peace the entire time. When two of the guests, one of whom was not originally invited complain they can’t eat the food and order food in, she takes it in stride. She is definitely someone who needs to stand up to others. I love that she considers her step-mother the “Ice Queen”, “High Priestess of Mordor”, She Who Must Not Be Named.” It gives us an idea of what she thinks of the woman. Something else unique about this story is the way she became Charlie’s step-mother. Charlie’s father was married to Gabby and Robyn’s mother. They got a divorce and later he married Charlie’s mom and they had her. Charlie’s mom died when she was run over and Charlie went to live with her Step-family. She was always considered lowly because her mother was a domestic and not high society like her step-mother. Charlie’s step mom is so verbally abusive to her. In front of other people she tries to put on a good act. I believe that is one reason I really could not stand her. I took great pleasure in learning Charlie’s dad had left 51% of the shares to her because she had given up her own life to take care of him, while the other members of his family only took from him. Revenge might not be what Charlie set out to get when she takes a leave and comes back with a new look and a new idea for moving the business forward. That is exactly what she gets. I loved the book. The characters were so well developed that you could not help loving some and really despising others. I really look forward to reading anything else this author puts out. I would highly recommend this book with a lot of quirky twists. It is one you have to sit and read cover to cover. I received a copy to help facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.