The Gatecrasher Paperback – May 27 2008
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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 is........so entertaining.
March 16th, 2002
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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
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 morePublished on Dec 23 2011 by Lydia - Novel Escapes
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 morePublished on May 11 2011 by Andrya
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
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 morePublished on Jan. 14 2002