Monday, August 15, 2011

40 LOVE by Madeleine Wickham: Audio Book Review and Giveaway

I was recently contacted by the good people at Macmillan Audio Publishing to review 40 Love by Madeleine Wickham. I reluctantly agreed because I thought it would be a gushy romance novel which really wasn’t my thing but I was very wrong about the genre of the novel. 40 LOVE is like a British comedy of errors and manners and we all know from watching British TV that you never know whether you will be laughing, gasping or crying as you follow along with the storyline.

40 LOVE was originally published in England as The Tennis Party by Madeleine Wickham who many of us know as Sophie Kinsella, author of The Shopaholic series.  I am a big fan of audio books because of how many busy my life is.  For anyone who loves to read but really doesn’t have a lot of time, you should consider audio books. You can listen in your car on the way to work (as I did), while traveling, or while working. 

The Review

The novel comes out of Bowden England, and our host, Patrick Chance, a real estate investor/salesman, and his wife, Caroline invite several friends to a tennis party at their home which they call the White House (Caroline finds that name ironic considering the current political environment).  The White House is the perfect setting with a tennis court, horse stable, bar, and Jacuzzi.  You would think that Patrick just wants to visit with old friends but he has an ulterior motive in mind and his wife Caroline is no stranger to his motives.  However, she is just happy to see her old friends, former neighbors (who are poor), Stephen and Annie, not so thrilled to see newly rich Charles and his aristocratic new wife, Cressida, and can barely stand father and daughter, Don and Valerie. 

The tennis party isn’t really the center of attention.  If anything, there is no question who the winners and losers are when it comes to life but things aren’t always as they seem on the surface.  It is sort of like a British comedy of errors and by the end of the party, the truth about their lives comes out. In two days, the adults find themselves dealing with arguments - many during drunken moments -, new revelations, the arrival of an unwanted guest - Ella, Charles’ former wife - infidelity, and the stark realization, that tennis has nothing to do with the gathering. 

As the novel starts, you think you know who the villain and villainess are. However, you won’t know the real answer until you figure out that Patrick trying to sell his expensive investment packages is more innocent than actions of two other characters, in particular, the villainess who isn’t as innocent as everyone thought.  You will either have to read the book or listen to the audio book for that answer.  What I can tell you is that you will also see a side of Annie and Stephen that even Caroline, their dearest friend, doesn’t even know.  Then, there is Don and Valerie who aren’t as stuffy as they appear. Last, there’s Cressida – she will win your heart as she wins Caroline’s heart.  

The Giveaway 

Madeleine Wickham’s newest audio book, 40 LOVE goes on sale August 30, but one lucky reader of this blog will be receiving a free advance copy of the book prior to the release date. The audio book includes six CDs for a total 7.5 hours.  

If you would like to win a copy, please leave comment below about whether you have read any of Madeleine Wickham’s books, either those published under real name, or under her pen name, Sophie Kinsella.  If so, which ones?  I will pick the winner next Monday, August 22 so you have until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 21 to respond.  On Monday, the winner will be picked using a random generator at U.S. addresses only.

If you don’t win, don’t despair, you can purchase the audio book through Macmillan Audio or the hard copy of the book through Thomas Dunne Books starting August 30.  After the release date, you should be able to purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other book retails, online and in store. At the Macmillan page, you can also listen to the first chapter of the audio book, read by Katherine Kellgren.
Listen to a message from Madeleine Wickham below.

I was not paid for this review. The author sent me an audio book to review. The opinions expressed belong entirely to me. Thank you Macmillan Audio for allowing me the opportunity to review 40 LOVE by Madeleine Wickham.