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Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic Ties the Knot

Shopaholic Ties the Knot

"The thing about Becky Bloomwood is, she just can’t decide. Orange shoes or purple shoes? Get them both. Black T shirt or white T shirt? Get them both. (After all, they’re ‘staple items’.)

When her boyfriend Luke proposes to her, she’s blown away with excitement. She’s going to have the best wedding ever! But that’s where the trouble starts. Her mum wants her to have a family wedding in the garden in Oxshott. Perfect. Lovely. Until mother-in-law Elinor offers her a blow-out, spectacular wedding at the Plaza hotel in New York.

How can she let Mum down? But how can she reject a zillion dollar Plaza wedding? What’s she going to do? Answer: go into total denial. As time ticks away, Becky tries on dresses, chooses wedding presents, and hopes that everything will just magically sort itself out. Which needless to say, does NOT happen, and soon she’s in trouble…

This was a hugely fun book to write, but also quite tense-making. Fun, because I got to research it by eating wedding cake and trying on Vera Wang dresses in New York… tense-making because it’s probably the worst dilemma she’s ever had, and it’s all of her own making, and I, as author, had to sort it all out!"

Rebecca Bloomwood has the dream job. She’s a personal shopper, so is able to spend other people’s money all day instead of her own. And she gets paid for doing it. The perfect job, the perfect man - gorgeous Luke Brandon – and now … the perfect wedding.

Yes, Luke has proposed and wedding bells are in sight. No excuses are needed to start the shopping trip of all time. And Becky’s parents are just assuming that the wedding will be at home – a marquee in the garden and Becky in her mum’s wedding dress, which she’s been saving specially for the occasion. But Luke’s mother has very different ideas – a huge affair in New York in a forest glade setting – or perhaps a Venetian Ball, or a fin de siecle extravagance?

Now Becky’s getting confused. She doesn’t want to say ‘no’ to anyone. The plans are going ahead, and soon it will be too late to turn back – from either wedding…

SECOND UNION BANK

300 WALL STREET

NEW YORK NY 10005

 

Miss Rebecca

Bloomwood

Apt B

251 W 11th Street

New York

NY 10014

 

7 November 2001

 

Dear Miss Bloomwood

New Joint Account No: 5039 2566 2319

We are pleased to confirm your new joint bank account with Mr Luke J Brandon, and enclose explanatory documentation. A debit card will be sent to you under separate cover. 

We at Second Union Bank continually pride ourselves on our highly individual approach to clients. Please contact me personally at any time if you have a query, and I will help in any way I can. No matter is too small for my attention.

 

With kind regards

 

Yours sincerely

 

Walt Pitman

Head of Customer Services

SECOND UNION BANK

300 WALL STREET

NEW YORK NY 10005

 

Miss Rebecca Bloomwood

Apt B

251 W 11th Street

New York

NY 10014

 

12 December 2001

 

Dear Miss Bloomwood

Thank you for your letter of 9 December regarding your joint account with Mr Luke J Brandon. I agree the relationship between bank and client should be one of friendship and co-operation, and in answer to your question, my favourite colour is red. 

I regret however, I am unable to reword entries on your forthcoming statement as you request. The particular debit item you refer to will appear on your next statement as 'Prada, New York'. It cannot be changed to 'Gas bill'.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Walt Pitman

Head of Customer Relations

SECOND UNION BANK

300 WALL STREET

NEW YORK NY 10005

 

Miss Rebecca

Bloomwood

Apt B

251 W 11th Street

New York

NY 10014

 

7 January 2002

 

Dear Miss Bloomwood

Thank you for your letter of 4 January regarding your joint account with Mr Luke J Brandon, and for the chocolates, which I must return. I agree it is difficult to keep tabs on every tiny purchase, and was sorry to hear that 'the odd little misunderstanding' had arisen between you.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to split the statement in half as you suggest, sending half to yourself and half to Mr Brandon and 'keeping it our little secret'. All income and outgoings are itemized jointly.

This is why it is called a joint account.

 

Yours sincerely,

Walt Pitman

Head of Customer Relations

One 

OK. Don't panic. I can do this. It is definitely possible. It's simply a question of manoeuvring a bit to the left, and hefting up a little, and pushing a bit more firmly . . . I mean, come on. Just how hard can it be to fit a cocktail cabinet into a New York taxicab? 

I grip the polished wood more resolutely, take a deep breath and give another fruitless shove. It's a blue-skied winter's day in Greenwich Village, the kind when the air feels like toothpaste and every breath makes you gasp, and people walk around muffled behind scarves. But I'm sweating. My face is scarlet and my hair has fallen out of my new Cossack hat in front of my eyes and I'm aware that on the other side of the road, all the people sitting on the window seats of Jo-Jo's cafe are watching me with amusement.

But I'm not going to give up. I just know this will work.

It has to, because no way am I paying some huge delivery charge when I only live round the corner. 

'It's not gonna fit.' The taxi driver pokes his head out of the window and gives me a matter-of-fact look.

'It will! I've got the first two legs in . . .' I give a desperate push. If I could just force the other two legs in somehow. This is like taking a dog to the vet.

'Plus I'm not insured,' he adds.

'That doesn't matter! It's only a couple of streets away. I'll hold it all the way. It'll be fine.' The taxi driver raises his eyebrows and picks at his teeth with a grimy toothpick.

'You think you're going to fit in as well as that thing?'

 'I'll squash up! I'll do it somehow!' In frustration I give the cocktail cabinet another push, and it jams against the front seat.

'Hey! You damage my cab, you pay for it.'

'I'm sorry,' I say breathlessly. 'OK, look, I'll start again. I think I just came at it from the wrong angle -’

As carefully as I can, I lift the front end of the cocktail cabinet out of the taxi and back onto the pavement.

'What the hell is that, anyway?' 

'It's a 1930s cocktail cabinet! Look, the top comes down . . .' I unhook the front flap and with a twinge of pride, display the mirrored art deco fittings inside. 'This is where you put your glasses . . . and there are two fitted cocktail shakers . . .'

I run an admiring hand over it again. The minute I spotted it in the window of Arthur's Antiques, I just knew I had to have it. I mean, I know Luke and I had a little agreement about not buying any more furniture for the apartment - but this is different, surely. A real cocktail cabinet, just like in Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films! It's going to completely transform our evenings. Every night, Luke and I will mix martinis, and dance to old-fashioned songs, and watch the sun go down. It'll be so atmospheric! We'll have to buy one of those old-fashioned record players with the big horns, and start collecting 78s, and I'll start wearing gorgeous vintage tea dresses. 

And maybe people will start dropping by for cocktails every night. We'll become known for our witty soirées. The New York Times will run a piece on us! Yes! The cocktail hour has been reinvented with an elegant twist in the West Village. Stylish expat British couple Rebecca

Bloomwood and Luke Brandon . . .

There's a clunking sound as the taxi door opens and I look up in a slight daze to see the driver getting out.

'Oh, thanks,' I say gratefully. 'I could do with some help. Maybe if you've got some rope we could tie it onto the roof . . .' 

'No roof. No ride.' He slams the passenger door and I stare in horror as he gets back into the driver's seat.

'You can't just drive away! It's the law! You have to take me. The Mayor says so!'

'The Mayor don't say nothing about cocktail cabinets.' He rolls his eyes and starts the engine.

'But how am I going to get it home?' I cry indignantly. 'Wait! Come back!' But the taxi's already zooming off down the street, and I'm left on the pavement, clutching the cabinet, wondering what to do next.

Right. Think laterally. Maybe I could carry it home. It's not so far.

I extend my arms as far as I can, and manage to get my hands round both ends of the cabinet. Slowly I raise it off the ground, take a step forward - and immediately drop it again. God, that's heavy. I think I've pulled a muscle.

OK, so maybe I won't carry it. But I can still easily get it home. If I just move one set of legs forward a couple of inches . . . then the other . . .

Yes. This will definitely work. It's a tad slow, but if I just keep going . . . if I get into a rhythm . . .

Left side forward . . . right side forward . . .

The trick is not to worry about how much ground I'm covering but just to keep making steady progress. I'll probably be home in no time.

A pair of teenage girls in padded coats walk past me and giggle, but I'm too intent to react.

Left side forward . . . right side forward . . .

'Excuse me,' comes a sharp, harassed voice. 'Could you please stop blocking the sidewalk?' I turn round - and, to my horror, see a woman in a baseball cap and sneakers approaching with about ten dogs on leads, all different shapes and sizes.

Oh God. What I don't understand is, why can people not walk their own dogs? I mean, if you don't like walking, why not get a cat? Or a tank of tropical fish?

And now they're upon me. All yapping and barking and twisting their leads . . . and I don't believe it! A poodle's lifting its leg against my beautiful cocktail cabinet!

 

Press reviews

Witty and hilarious

Cosmopolitan

The diva of consumerism is back

Glamour Magazine

Another spirited and funny comedy that sees Becky finally happy. But hopefully not retired

Sunday Mirror

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