Twenties Girl

Twenties Girl

by Sophie Kinsella

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Overview

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they?

When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie—a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance—mysteriously appears, she has one request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, because Sadie cannot rest without it.

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from and about each other. Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella’s books beloved by millions, Twenties Girl is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385342032
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/09/2010
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 370,427
Product dimensions: 8.08(w) x 5.22(h) x 0.95(d)

About the Author

Sophie Kinsella is the author of the bestselling Shopaholic series, as well as the novels Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, and Wedding Night. She lives in England.

Hometown:

London, England

Date of Birth:

December 12, 1969

Place of Birth:

London, England

Education:

B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Oxford University, 1990; M.Mus., King's College, London, 1992

Read an Excerpt

ONE

The thing about lying to your parents is, you have to do it to protect them. It's for their own good. I mean, take my own parents. If they knew the unvarnished truth about my finances/love life/ plumbing/council tax, they'd have instant heart attacks and the doctor would say, "Did anyone give them a terrible shock?" and it would all be my fault. Therefore, they have been in my flat for approximately ten minutes and already I have told them the following lies:

1. L&N Executive Recruitment will start making profits soon, I'm sure of it.

2. Natalie is a fantastic business partner, and it was a really brilliant idea to chuck in my job to become a headhunter with her.

3. Of course I don't just exist on pizza, black cherry yogurts, and vodka.

4. Yes, I did know about interest on parking tickets.

5. Yes, I did watch that Charles Dickens DVD they gave me for Christmas; it was great, especially that lady in the bonnet. Yes, Peggotty. That's who I meant.

6. I was actually intending to buy a smoke alarm at the weekend, what a coincidence they should mention it.

7. Yes, it'll be nice to see all the family again.

Seven lies. Not including all the ones about Mum's outfit. And we haven't even mentioned The Subject.

As I come out of my bedroom in a black dress and hastily applied mascara, I see Mum looking at my overdue phone bill on the mantelpiece.

"Don't worry," I say quickly. "I'm going to sort that out."

"Only, if you don't," says Mum, "they'll cut off your line, and it'll take ages for you to get it installed again, and the mobile signal is so patchy here. What if there was an emergency? What would you do?" Her brow is creased with anxiety. She looks as though this is all totally imminent, as though there's a woman screaming in labor in the bedroom and floods are rising outside the window and how will we contact the helicopter? How?

"Er . . . I hadn't thought about it. Mum, I'll pay the bill. Honest."

Mum's always been a worrier. She gets this tense smile with distant, frightened eyes, and you just know she's playing out some apocalyptic scenario in her head. She looked like that throughout my last speech day at school; afterward she confessed she'd suddenly noticed a chandelier hanging above on a rickety chain and became obsessed by what would happen if it fell down on the girls' heads and splintered into smithereens?

Now she tugs at her black suit, which has shoulder pads and weird metal buttons and is swamping her. I vaguely remember it from about ten years ago, when she had a phase of going on job interviews and I had to teach her all the really basic computer stuff like how to use a mouse. She ended up working for a children's charity, which doesn't have a formal dress code, thank goodness.

No one in my family looks good in black. Dad's wearing a suit made out of a dull black fabric which flattens all his features. He's actually quite handsome, my dad, in a kind of fine-boned, understated way. His hair is brown and wispy, whereas Mum's is fair and wispy like mine. They both look really great when they're relaxed and on their own territory-like, say, when we're all in Cornwall on Dad's rickety old boat, wearing fleeces and eating pasties. Or when Mum and Dad are playing in their local amateur orchestra, which is where they first met. But today, nobody's relaxed.

"So are you ready?" Mum glances at my stockinged feet. "Where are your shoes, darling?"

I slump down on the sofa. "Do I have to go?"

"Lara!" says Mum chidingly. "She was your great-aunt. She was one hundred and five, you know."

Mum has told me my great-aunt was 105 approximately 105 times. I'm pretty sure it's because that's the only fact she knows about her.

"So what? I didn't know her. None of us knew her. This is so stupid. Why are we schlepping to Potters Bar for some crumbly old woman we didn't even ever meet?" I hunch my shoulders up, feeling more like a sulky three-year-old than a mature twenty-seven-year-old with her own business.

"Uncle Bill and the others are going," says Dad. "And if they can make the effort . . ."

"It's a family occasion!" puts in Mum brightly.

My shoulders hunch even harder. I'm allergic to family occasions. Sometimes I think we'd do better as dandelion seeds-no family, no history, just floating off into the world, each on our own piece of fluff.

"It won't take long," Mum says coaxingly.

"It will." I stare at the carpet. "And everyone will ask me about . . . things."

"No, they won't!" says Mum at once, glancing at Dad for backup. "No one will even mention . . . things."

There's silence. The Subject is hovering in the air. It's as though we're all avoiding looking at it. At last Dad plunges in.

"So! Speaking of . . . things." He hesitates. "Are you generally . . . OK?"

I can see Mum listening on super-high-alert, even though she's pretending to be concentrating on combing her hair.

"Oh, you know," I say after a pause. "I'm fine. I mean, you can't expect me just to snap back into-"

"No, of course not!" Dad immediately backs off. Then he tries again. "But you're . . . in good spirits?"

I nod assent.

"Good!" says Mum, looking relieved. "I knew you'd get over . . . things."

My parents don't say "Josh" out loud anymore, because of the way I used to dissolve into heaving sobs whenever I heard his name. For a while, Mum referred to him as "He Who Must Not Be Named." Now he's just "Things."

"And you haven't . . . been in touch with him?" Dad is looking anywhere but at me, and Mum appears engrossed in her handbag.

That's another euphemism. What he means is, "Have you sent him any more obsessive texts?"

"No," I say, flushing. "I haven't, OK?"

It's so unfair of him to bring that up. In fact, the whole thing was totally blown out of proportion. I only sent Josh a few texts. Three a day, if that. Hardly any. And they weren't obsessive. They were just me being honest and open, which, by the way, you're supposed to be in a relationship.

I mean, you can't just switch off your feelings because the other person did, can you? You can't just say, "Oh right! So your plan is, we never see each other again, never make love again, never talk or communicate in any way. Fab idea, Josh, why didn't I think of that?"

So what happens is, you write your true feelings down in a text simply because you want to share them, and next minute your ex- boyfriend changes his phone number and tells your parents. He's such a sneak.

"Lara, I know you were very hurt, and this has been a painful time for you." Dad clears his throat. "But it's been nearly two months now. You've got to move on, darling. See other young men . . . go out and enjoy yourself . . ."

Oh God, I can't face another of Dad's lectures about how plenty of men are going to fall at the feet of a beauty like me. I mean, for a start, there aren't any men in the world, everyone knows that. And a five-foot-three girl with a snubby nose and no suntan isn't exactly a beauty.

OK. I know I look all right sometimes. I have a heart-shaped face, wide-set green eyes, and a few freckles over my nose. And to top it off, I have this little bee-stung mouth which no one else in my family has. But take it from me, I'm no supermodel.

"So, is that what you did when you and Mum broke up that time in Polzeath? Go out and see other people?" I can't help throwing it out, even though this is going over old ground. Dad sighs and exchanges glances with Mum.

"We should never have told her about that," she murmurs, rubbing her brow. "We should never have mentioned it-"

"'Because if you'd done that," I continue inexorably, "you would never have got back together again, would you? Dad would never have said that he was the bow to your violin and you would never have got married."

This line about the bow and the violin has made it into family lore. I've heard the story a zillion times. Dad arrived at Mum's house, all sweaty because he'd been riding on his bike, and she'd been crying but she pretended she had a cold, and they made up their fight and Granny gave them tea and shortbread. (I don't know why the shortbread is relevant, but it always gets mentioned.)

"Lara, darling." Mum sighs. "That was very different; we'd been together three years, we were engaged-"

"I know!" I say defensively. "I know it was different. I'm just saying, people do sometimes get back together. It does happen."

There's silence.

"Lara, you've always been a romantic soul-" begins Dad.

"I'm not romantic!" I exclaim, as though this is a deadly insult. I'm staring at the carpet, rubbing the pile with my toe, but in my peripheral vision I can see Mum and Dad, each mouthing vigorously at the other to speak next. Mum's shaking her head and pointing at Dad as though to say, "You go!"

"When you break up with someone," Dad starts again in an awkward rush, "it's easy to look backward and think life would be perfect if you got back together. But-"

He's going to tell me how life is an escalator. I have to head him off, quick.

"Dad. Listen. Please." Somehow I muster my calmest tones. "You've got it all wrong. I don't want to get back together with Josh." I try to sound as if this is a ridiculous idea. "That's not why I texted him. I just wanted closure. I mean, he broke things off with no warning, no talking, no discussion. I never got any answers. It's like . . . unfinished business. It's like reading an Agatha Christie and never knowing whodunnit!"

There. Now they'll understand.

"Well," says Dad at length, "I can understand your frustrations-"

"That's all I ever wanted," I say as convincingly as I can. "To understand what Josh was thinking. To talk things over. To communicate like two civilized human beings."

And to get back together with him, my mind adds, like a silent, truthful arrow. Because I know Josh still loves me, even if no one else thinks so.

But there's no point saying that to my parents. They'd never get it. How could they? They have no concept of how amazing Josh and I were as a couple, how we fit together perfectly. They don't understand how he obviously made a panicked, rushed, boy-type decision, based on some nonexistent reason probably, and how if I could just talk to him, I'm sure I could straighten everything out and we'd be together again.

Sometimes I feel streets ahead of my parents, just like Einstein must have done when his friends kept saying, "The universe is straight, Albert, take it from us," and inside he was secretly thinking, "I know it's curved. I'll show you one day."

Mum and Dad are surreptitiously mouthing at each other again. I should put them out of their misery.

"Anyway, you mustn't worry about me," I say hastily. "Because I have moved on. I mean, OK, maybe I haven't moved on totally," I amend as I see their dubious expressions, "but I've accepted that Josh doesn't want to talk. I've realized that it just wasn't meant to be. I've learned a lot about myself, and . . . I'm in a good place. Really."

My smile is pasted on my face. I feel like I'm chanting the mantra of some wacky cult. I should be wearing robes and banging a tambourine.

Hare hare . . . I've moved on . . . hare hare . . . I'm in a good place. . . .

Dad and Mum exchange looks. I have no idea whether they believe me, but at least I've given us all a way out of this sticky conversation.

"That's the spirit!" Dad says, looking relieved. "Well done, Lara, I knew you'd get there. And you've got the business with Natalie to focus on, which is obviously going tremendously well. . . ."

My smile becomes even more cultlike.

"Absolutely!"

Hare hare . . . my business is going well . . . hare hare . . . it's not a disaster at all. . . .

"I'm so glad you've come through this." Mum comes over and kisses the top of my head. "Now, we'd better get going. Find yourself some black shoes, chop chop!"

With a resentful sigh I get to my feet and drag myself into my bedroom. It's a beautiful sunshiny day. And I get to spend it at a hideous family occasion involving a dead 105-year-old person. Sometimes life really sucks.

As we pull up in the drab little car park of the Potters Bar Funeral Center, I notice a small crowd of people outside a side door. Then I see the glint of a TV camera and a fluffy microphone bobbing above people's heads.

"What's going on?" I peer out the car window. "Something to do with Uncle Bill?"

"Probably." Dad nods.

"I think someone's doing a documentary about him," Mum puts in. "Trudy mentioned it. For his book."

This is what happens when one of your relations is a celebrity. You get used to TV cameras being around. And people saying, when you introduce yourself, "Lington? Any relation to Lingtons Coffee, ha ha?" and them being gobsmacked when you say, "Yes."

My uncle Bill is the Bill Lington, who started Lingtons Coffee from nothing at the age of twenty-six and built it up into a worldwide empire of coffee shops. His face is printed on every single coffee cup, which makes him more famous than the Beatles or something. You'd recognize him if you saw him. And right now he's even more high profile than usual because his autobiography, Two Little Coins, came out last month and is a bestseller. Apparently Pierce Brosnan might play him in the movie.

Of course, I've read it from cover to cover. It's all about how he was down to his last twenty pence and bought a coffee and it tasted so terrible it gave him the idea to run coffee shops. So he opened one and started a chain, and now he pretty much owns the world. His nickname is "The Alchemist," and according to some article last year, the entire business world would like to know the secrets of his success.


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

 
“Laugh-out-loud.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“[Kinsella] continues to tickle funny bones and touch hearts.”—USA Today
 
“[A] most delicious and delightful romp.”—Publishers Weekly

“Like everything [Kinsella] writes, it’s warm and lively.”—Time
 

Interviews

JEWELRY PIECE - SOPHIE KINSELLA

When I was at college I had a bicycle which I rarely used and which sat, week after week, in the bike racks. One day I went to get it out-and found a diamante necklace twined round the spokes of the front wheel. It was an old, vintage-style necklace, one of the prettiest things I'd ever seen. On my bike! How had it got there? Had someone borrowed my bike and dropped it? Was it a romantic gift from a secret admirer? (OK, unlikely...)
I put up a notice in college - but got no claimers. It was mine! I wore that necklace over and over - and felt as though it had somehow magical qualities. Would it have felt so magical if it were a scarf or a hat or a purse? I don't think so.
Jewelry has a magic all its own. Precious stones have always attracted legends, myths, crimes, lust. Quite sane women will go to pieces at the sight of a big enough diamond. Even as a tiny child I was fascinated by beads, jewels, tiaras... anything that glittered. And, like books, I find it hard to give pieces of jewelry away, even after I've stopped wearing them.
The biggest symbol of jewelry is love. Whose heart doesn't stop on being presented with a little velvet box? Who secretly doesn't crave a diamond, however teeny? Of course true love is putting out the rubbish every night... but that won't make you gasp and tilt your hand to catch the facets of light.
When I was writing Twenties Girl I knew I needed to give Sadie, my ghost character, a mission. There was something in the world she still wanted-and it didn't take long to decide on jewelry. A ring seemed too obvious... bracelets too inconsequential... but a necklace was perfect. I wanted it to be tactile,romantic, and the kind of piece you could imagine wearing with anything. Guided by research into jewelry of the 1920s, I conjured up in my head a long necklace of glimmering yellow glass beads, with a dragonfly pendant set with rhinestones. Not priceless.... but special. I could imagine Sadie twirling the beads as she danced, I could imagine her gathering them and letting them drop. I could see it as an iconic, timeless piece.
A dragonfly seemed a perfect emblem for Sadie, too-beautiful, fragile, and darting around like quicksilver. The dragonfly symbol has different meanings for different cultures-for some it's a symbol of change, for others it represents the subconscious. In Japanese paintings, dragonflies can mean new light and joy. To some Native Americans they're the souls of the dead. All of these interpretations are perfect for the character of Sadie-a ghost who needs to "move on" and for whom the dragonfly necklace has a meaning all its own.
The more I wrote about Sadie's dragonfly necklace the more it came to mean to both her and me-and I hope it does to readers, too.

Customer Reviews

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Twenties Girl 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 564 reviews.
Jessi-21 More than 1 year ago
Twenties Girl: I love the Shopaholic series, and I've read all of her other novels. Twenties Girl is definitely right up there for me as far as Sohie Kinsella goes. It was fun, believable (if you believe :O)) and funny! I enjoyed Lara and Sadie both, and genuinely felt the connection between the two as friends. On a more serious note, I thought it was wonderful how Lara had never known this person, never bothered with her, then learned so much about her when she met her ghost. It's sad because the older generation is out there, and they hold so much history, and they are so often forgotten about. Searching for Sadie's necklace only brought her into Lara's life...everything else that came after is where the real story was. Sophie Kinsella has never disappointed me and she is one of the few authors I will go out and buy as soon as her books are in stock. I absolutely thought this was a fantastic story, and it very much had Sophie Kinsella's touch. I highly recommend it.
kuhlcat More than 1 year ago
Sophie Kinsella always entertains me with her novels. I walked with Becky Bloomwood to all the shops in the "Shopaholic" series, I went along on Lexi's adventures of amnesia in "Remember Me?", and I laughed as Samantha goes from being an office flunky to an amateur housekeeper in "The Undomestic Goddess". I was thrilled to see this book, "Twenties Girl", in the library as a quick read and snatched it right up. And there was no false advertising. This was a quick read. I was at the library on Thursday, and closed the book after the final chapter today, Tuesday, only 5 days later. I loved it. I devoured it. It was a great way to distract me from any stress or any other issues going on in my life. I needed a quick, light, entertaining read, and Sophie indulged me. Her characters are just so easy to relate to. I don't know what that says about my life, but it's true. And adding a ghost to the crazy mix was an adventure that I just couldn't pass up. Lara and Sadie make a great pair. Two completely different viewpoints and generations thrown together in one erratic enterprise. Something new happened with each page turn and I was so excited to find out what happened next throughout the whole novel. I love books like this. I admit it proudly: I love chick lit. Life can be so stressful and ridiculous that it's nice to sit and relax with an easy read and a cup of coffee (or tea, depending on your preference). And if Sophie Kinsella isn't the queen of chick lit, then she should be. All of her books are great, and I recommend any of them.
ckelly More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Sophie Kinsella's books and always look forward to her next. Her books are fun - great chick lit. This one was different though. Still fun, but the story was deeper. It was very original. The main characters Lara and Sadie were well developed and there was such an emotional connection between them. I laughed (out loud) and cried. I did not want this story to end!! Tally ho Sadie - I miss you already!
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Twenties Girl is the fourth stand-alone novel by British author, Sophie Kinsella. Life isn’t going terribly well for Lara Lington: without saying why, her boyfriend, Josh has broken up with her (but she’s sure he still loves her, he just needs to be reminded); her fledgling business is in trouble since Natalie (best friend, business partner and front of the whole enterprise) has followed some bloke to Goa; her parents are worrying about her financial security and her psychological welfare; her sister Tonya (married, kids, perfect life) is far too eager to discuss how well Lara is coping (or not) with her break-up; and her parents are insisting she attend her Great Aunt Sadie’s funeral. And now she’s being haunted? That’s all she needs to put her over the edge. A beautiful young woman in an (admittedly gorgeous) 1920’s dress is demanding her necklace. When the woman identifies herself as Sadie Lancaster, guilt about the neglect shown to her 105-year-old great aunt sees Lara stopping the funeral with a claim of murder. And from there, thing just get crazier. This is a madcap ghost story that’s got intrigue, romance, a good helping of humour and a heart-warming ending. A delightful read.
sensu28 More than 1 year ago
I do recommend this book. But hang in there, the first few chapters I found slow going. I did not like either of the two main female characters for several chapters. Although they were adults, their behavior was a bit "middle school" (think 11- 13 year old girls). I almost gave up on the book, but kept on reading. After 4 or so chapters, the story picked up steam, the characters become stronger emotionally and intellectually. The story became a entertaining mystery. This book is a fast read, I finished the book in approximately a day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
twenties girl is a funny, quick read. the story is touching and really interesting. i would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting a fun book to read.
inkprincess More than 1 year ago
Sophie Kinsella is an amazing writer. I could read this book over and over again. This book was funny and moving all at the same time. Didn't want it to end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this was a book that made me laugh out loud. The story was original and I couldnt put it down. Can't wait to read more of her books.
nyyinka More than 1 year ago
Sophie Kinsella books simply make me smile. This is a book that you will not want to put down until you are finished.
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Unpoquitodecuba More than 1 year ago
This was one of those books I just didn't want to end because I loved the characters too much to say goodbye. It made me laugh and it made me cry and by the end I knew I had found a new favorite! 
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Lindsie More than 1 year ago
I have always been a fan of Sophie Kinsella since reading the shopaholic series. Some of her other novels (like this one) have been sitting in my book shelf for a few years because I have many waiting to be read. Well, I have to say that I was generally surprised and happy about reading this one. It was not perfect (a bit long when it could have been summed up sooner) but it was unique, funny, and sweet. I found myself tearing up at the end. Highly recommended for fans of chick lit and Kinsella!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I keep laughing right out loud in bed reading this book! So much so that my husband might ban it so he can get some shut eye! Get it! 385 pages of fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book and an easy, fun read!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like and read her books I enjoy ,laugh and Forget what's going on in the world today.t People are always getting into some problem Or other ..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zingzang More than 1 year ago
Hilarious and perfect for fashionistas
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KatrinaO More than 1 year ago
Another Sophie Kinsella stand-alone novel that I pretty sure did enjoyed too just like the others but The Undomestic Goddess still tops among her works for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good book in some parts but Sadie is very irritating.