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Twenties Girl Hardcover – July 21, 2009
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Sophie Kinsella is a former financial journalist and the author of the best-selling novels Confessions of a Shopaholic, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister, Shopaholic & Baby, Can You Keep a Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, and Remember Me?. She lives in England, where she is at work on her next book.
Writing Twenties Girl was like going on my own magical mystery tour. My U.S. editor Susan Kamil had once said casually, "You should write a ghost story one day." This comment stayed with me for years. I loved the idea, but didn't know who my ghost could be. I've always loved the glamour and spirit of the 1920s, and the idea came to me of a flapper ghost. A feisty, fun, glamorous girl who adored to dance and drink cocktails and get her own way. I wanted her to be a determined character who would blast into the life of someone with no warning and cause havoc. I then decided she should haunt a thoroughly modern girl, with all the culture clashes and comedy that would bring.
Having come up with this idea I loved it, so it then remained to plunge myself into 1920s research, which was no hardship at all, as I find the era fascinating. I researched vintage make-up, vintage dresses, read fiction from the period, investigated 1920s slang, and tried to channel as much I could of those feisty flappers who cut their hair short (shock!), smoked cigarettes in public (shock!), had sex (shock!) and generally rebelled in all the outrageous ways they could.
The book isn't a period piece though. It's a modern story about two girls and their sparky friendship, right here in the 21st century. One of them just happens to be a ghost from the 1920s. It's a quest, a romance, and a coming of age... and above all a comedy. It's no exaggeration to say that writing the character of Sadie made me look at life differently, and I hope some readers feel the same way. —Sophie KinsellaSophie Kinsella on Jewelry in Twenties Girl
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.
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
The unfolds almost perfectly. Every detail becomes, in some way, important to the plot and to the characters. Not only has she crafted a fine romance and nice little mystery (perfect for grown-up fans of Nancy Drew books), but she has also created a unique and wonderfully grounded vision of what it must be like to live with a ghost who can only partly interact with our world.
Clever, funny, and genuine, this book has all of the characteristics of basic "chick lit" (first person storytelling, female protaganist, kissing) but it is so much more. Like another fantasy classic, this novel is practically perfect in every way.
We first meet Lara at Sadie's funeral. Sadie, 105, passed away recently, and Lara's parents pressure her to go to the funeral. Lara would rather be anywhere but at the boring funeral for an old lady she didn't know. Her desire to be elsewhere increases when she starts hearing a voice no one else can hear. She tries to escape, but Great Aunt Sadie's ghost won't leave her alone. To satisfy Sadie, Lara must stop the funeral in progress. This entails an accusation of murder. The ensuing hysteria is made more comic by Sadie nagging Lara to find Sadie's missing necklace--she won't leave without it.
In the process of searching for the special necklace, Lara learns just what a fascinating person her great aunt was, and learns how she wants to live. Sadie teaches Lara about relationships, having fun, and moving on. In the process, she leads Lara to step beyond her boundaries and live life fulfilled. And, this being Chick Lit, she finds The Man for her--who is not at all who she expected!
"Twenties Girl" was a fun and satisfying read. It took me 50 pages to really get into it, but it was worth it. The ending is more sweet than bitter, and I closed the book feeling like it had ended right.
Even though the general structure is not surprising, this doesn't diminish one's enjoyment of the novel. Kinsella is like a modern PG Wodehouse, writing a world populated by charming, if sometimes dim, characters, who eventually achieve all their dreams.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and can't wait for the next!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I kind of guessed where it was going, but it was still an enjoyable readPublished 7 days ago by Alejandra Lule
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Twenties Girl: A Novel! It just sounded different and it certainly was original. Well worth the read!Published 1 month ago by J.D.
One of the best books I've read in ages! Fanciful, funny, and very well-written!Published 1 month ago by Edie McBride
Another great read from Sophie Kinsella. A good, funny page turner. Perfect for when you are in the mood for a light, up lifting read.Published 2 months ago by Jesse Thompson
i love this author and her style of writing, but this particular book made me love the characters and made me laugh out loud. Read morePublished 2 months ago by rhon
Cute, unique story. I laughed out loud many times and highly enjoyed the story of the fabulous Sadie, twenties girlPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer