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Mary’s Pick of the Week: Wives Like Us by Plum Sykes

“There are those of us who wobble like blancmange in a crisis, and then there are those lucky souls who rise magnificently to the occasion, like a perfectly baked truffle souffle.  Ian was the latter type.” (Sykes, 337)


While ostensibly about the “Yummy Mummies” , the super-wealthy and status conscious ladies of the English countryside, Tata Hawkin’s butler Ian Palmer steals the show. A distinguished graduate of Greycoats’ Butler Institute, he also bears a resemblance to Colin Firth and is as competent arranging flowers as he is arranging the life of his employer (not to mention her colorful gal-pals).  Wives Like Us is set in the bucolic countryside of the Cotswolds and is populated by a cast of over-the-top arrivistes.  The drama kicks off when Tata discovers a receipt for a very expensive diamond suite from Bulgari, and instantly presumes her husband Bryan is having an affair.  She moves herself, her daughter and Ian to a smaller (and much less posh) outbuilding on their estate and is seemingly replaced by an upstart bikini designer who has designs on being the next Mrs. Hawkins.  Here’s her first glimpse of the competition: 


“Tata meanwhile, stone-faced, said absolutely nothing: there was nothing like seeing a younger woman’s toned butt-cheeks frolicking around one’s rose bushes to galvanise a robust response.  In the face of adversity, she was undaunted.  Mrs. Hawkins was on the warpath.” (Sykes, 109)


But, never fear!  Ian is also on the case, determined to bring harmony to the Hawkins family.  Our author is well-versed in this culture and it shows; Plum Sykes’ name-dropping is seamless and the details she affords to drawing rooms and dinner parties culminate in a romp not unlike Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich AsiansThe hilarity only increases as the women attempt to befriend a new resident of Monkton Bottom, American Selby Fairfax, who’s recently fled New York after her husband left her for his boyfriend.  Various fabulous parties are thrown, romances are kindled and fizzle, and happy endings are all but guaranteed.  


A little formulaic but oh so fun.

Categories: Books and More

Tags: Books and More

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