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The Gatecrasher [Paperback]

Madeleine Wickham
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 27 2008

The Secret Is Out!
Madeleine Wickham is Sophie Kinsella, and The Gatecrasher is just as delicious as her internationally bestselling Shopaholic series.  

Everything’s coming up roses for Fleur Daxeny, as she goes through more rich men than she does designer hats.  Beautiful and utterly irresistible, her success at crashing funerals to find wealthy men is remarkable. Fleur wastes no time in seducing her latest conquest, the handsome and rich widower Richard Favour. His children are caught up in a whirlwind as their father’s new girlfriend descends on the family estate. Fleur is not one to wear her heart on her Chanel sleeves, but she soon finds herself embracing Richard and his family. But just as Fleur contemplates jumping off the gold-digger train for good, a long-buried secret from her past threatens to destroy her new family.

Take a wild and marvelous ride with The Gatecrasher, whose clever, chic, and sassy style will leave you desperately wanting more wonderful Wickham!

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

"Money is safety, darling," the delightfully wicked funeral crasher Fleur Daxeny advises her 13-year-old daughter after an almost perfect execution of her best skill: swindling wealthy widowers. In this modern-day novel of manners, Wickham's lively prose needles the British upper class with a mixture of suspense and wit. Armed with a closet full of designer black suits, the daily obituaries and a face that never betrays her 40 years, Fleur invades the funerals of the wealthy, enchantingly rich, grieving new widowers in need of a shoulder to cry on. She attends the memorial service of Emily Favour, whom she pretends was a long-lost acquaintance, and promptly lures the good-hearted Richard Favour into her web. Although his troubled daughter, Phillipa, and her crafty husband, Lambert, suspect serious gold digging, Fleur's beauty and charm dazzle them, and soon she's invited to live at the family estate in Surrey. What Fleur finds there is a gate-crasher's dream--a welcoming family, an accessible Gold Card and, after some snooping, a bank account worth millions. Even when Fleur's daughter, Zara, whom Fleur has neglected to mention, arrives unexpectedly from boarding school, the Favours make no fuss, welcoming the teen into the fold. As Fleur and Zara become comfortable with country club life, Fleur learns that she's not the only one scheming for Richard's money, and that Richard might not be as gullible as she thinks. But with Zara finally enjoying the stability of a real home, can Fleur leave so easily this time? Wickham (Swimming Pool Sunday) creates memorable characters who are as unpredictable and multifaceted as they are stylish. While the quick wrapup misses a cue, this novel is still jolly fun. (May)

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Fleur Daxeny is beautiful and sophisticated, with an appetite for comfort beyond her means. She also has a fine wardrobe of black designer dresses that she wears to the funerals of wealthy London women in hope of snaring their grieving husbands. Once captivated by her good looks and charm, these men provide her with money, a home, and an extravagant lifestyle for however long it takes her to stash a bit of cash and move on to the next. Such is the fate of Richard Favour. The ease with which Fleur moves into his life dazzles him. His late wife had been really rather dull, and everyone in his family seems to find Fleur most refreshing. But just as Richard proposes marriage, the unscrupulous Fleur gets bored and begins reading obituaries again. This is an often witty and deeply biting novel of modern manners and morals. Wickham's (Tennis Party) characters move with the studied grace of Jane Austen's upper class, and her plot is perfect for a made-for-TV movie. Readers will be both touched and entertained. Recommended for all public libraries.DSusan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Fleur Daxeny wrinkled her nose. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars complex, no clear-cut villain or good-guys Feb. 24 2003
By momazon
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A glamorous fortysomething woman with the improbable name of Fleur Daxeny is a gatecrasher -- she attends the funerals and memorial services in search of potentially wealthy widowers, claiming to be a friend of the late wife. She then makes the man fall in love with her and takes just enough money so he is humiliated but can recoup his loss without charging her as a criminal. By that time, she's long gone.
Fleur meets Richard Favour this way, but she actually starts to fall in love. Richard, in turn, starts to love Fleur as does his entire extended family. In light of Fleur and her teenaged daughter Zara (who is upset with her mother's con-artist ways), the family starts to let Richard know that Emily, his late wife, was never really all that perfect.
The storyline I liked most was that of Philippa, Richard's adult daughter, and her mercenary nasty husband, Lambert. It turns out Emily had a hand in her daughter's low self-esteem and subsequent acceptance of Lambert's proposal years ago.
There are no real good guys or villains in this, and you are left a bit dissatisfied at all the loose ends, but it is still a compelling tale.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Wickham Read Jan. 31 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Fleur Daxeny is a funeral crasher - she's a con artist who preys on recent wealthy widowers and makes off with some of their money. Her most recent victim is Richard Favour whose wife Emily has just died. However, what she doesn't count on is that Richard and his family may change her just as much as she changes them.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the just over 300 pages seemed to turn themselves. While I felt that Fleur's past was perhaps a little glossed over and could have been brought out more and that there was some foreshadowing that's denouement fell a bit flat, I felt that overall this was a great read. I will definitely be reading more of Ms. Wickham's work!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining With Impressionable Characters March 16 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have just finished reading THE GATECRASHER at three o'clock this morning and I found it to be ever so entertaining with characters that made the book appealing for me.
Fleur Daxeny is a forty something year old sophisticated gatecrasher, who habitually attends funerals and memorial services of widows from very elite and wealthy backgrounds. Assisted by a male friend Johnny, they comb the obituaries with a fine tooth comb every day weeding out the millionaires from the rest of us. Then decked out in her wonderful black hats and fashionable outfits she puts herself in a position to meet the millionaire at the service of his dead wife, where she lances her charm on the poor unsuspecting vulnerable man, until she finally makes it to his wallet, into bank account......and enjoy all the niceties of a cushiony lifestyle.
But in THE GATECRASHER on this particular occasion, she will meet Richard Favour a, man with a family and who is different to those she has trodden on before. You'll meet Richard's son Antony, his daughter Philippa and her husband Lambert as well as Zara; Fleur's daughter who comes into the picture mid-way and causes a certain change in the tide. The characters are great and have made this book what it entertaining.
March 16th, 2002
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish and smart, if a wee bit predictable July 30 2000
"The Gatecrasher" is an upper-class, refined, oh-so-British version of the con artist who falls in love with her prey. Fleur Daxeny (you have to love that name) attends the memorial services of wealthy wives so she can insinuate her way into the affections of their vulnerable widowers; as soon as she has a Gold Card in hand - conveniently billed to the widower, of course - she is outta there. But her latest target, Richard Favour, gives Fleur something of a crisis of confidence: he's so darn nice, and thoughtful, and sweet, and genuine, that she isn't sure she'll be able to go through with the scam after all. This isn't a new plot device (and so, to some extent, the story feels like it's been done before), but Madeleine Wickham works it with all she's got. It's great fun to peer into the lives of the wealthy, especially when they live in mansions in the English countryside and drink beverages like "buck's fizz" and wear couture hats. Fleur manages to be charming and likeable despite her ulterior motives. And because Wickham does a good job with characterization and plot, one can easily overlook the more predictable elements of the book. The result is a stylish and well-written story reminiscent of Brit writers like Joanna Trollope.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sort of like AbFab but with less comedy April 27 2000
Social climbing and the lengths people will go to in order to make a better life for themselves can be fascinating. In The Gatecrasher we have one such anti-heroine, but thankfully, she is surrounded by some of the most interesting and likable characters I have met as of late.
Fleur Daxeny crashes funerals in order to meet rich, vulnerable men, and take as much as she can get from them before moving on. She's been doing this successfully for a while and has her routine down pat. When we meet her, she is in the process of getting ready for the new batch of funerals coming her way, charging her stylish new black outfits to her unsuspecting, soon-to-be-deserted, Greek lover.
Her target at Emily Valour's memorial service is, of course, Emily's bereaved husband Richard, a rich man who mourns the wife he's lost but at the same time realizes the he's never really known her. What Richard has never had is a passionate soul mate, a woman who can make each day come alive and instill in him the desire to truly live. Fleur is determined to be all that and more.
Little by little we see Fleur stealthily become an integral part of Richard's life. Damn his club and his gossipy acquaintances, Richard thinks. For the first time in his life he desires and is desired, although guilty thoughts of Emily do pop up whenever he's tempted to make love to Fleur, who knows that Richard must succumb physically in order to be completely hers.
Richard's children are, of course, dysfunctional. Young Antony lives in shame of the birthmark that made him imperfect to his mother and his social life is painfully awkward and nonexistent. Daughter Philippa is married to the odious and greedy Lambert, the man Emily said would be the only one to marry an such an undesirable package as she.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Sophie Kinsella/Madeline Wickham
I love this author - no matter what name she goes by (Sophie Kinsella or Madeline Wickham)!
This book is one of my favourites! Read more
Published 23 months ago by Erin
2.0 out of 5 stars This Avid Sophie Kinsella Fan Was Terribly Disappointed
I was disappointed by this book, especially with knowing that Madeline Wickham is Sophie Kinsella. Possibly just having read Twenties Girl, which I absolutely loved, didn't help... Read more
Published on Dec 23 2011 by Lydia - Novel Escapes
2.0 out of 5 stars OK, NOT GREAT
Ok book. Took me a bit to get into it. I bought this for a $5.00 bargain buy at chapters. Kinsella other name she writes under is this,(Madeleine WIckham) for those of you who... Read more
Published on May 11 2011 by Andrya
5.0 out of 5 stars Have a good time reading it.
I am not a big fan of chic-lit, for a change I look for lighter read.
this book's idea interested me so I gave it a try. Read more
Published on July 25 2008 by Bella
5.0 out of 5 stars You will enjoy this one!
If you are a fan of English writers, you will enjoy this one! The story keeps you interested -- even though the main character is a crook, somehow she carries it off in the story... Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2002 by "sohotampachick"
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Tale - easy read, but makes you think
What's remarkable about The Gatecrasher is that the "heroine" is anything but. In fact, even at the end of the story I didn't like her much. Read more
Published on April 19 2001
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