Notting Hell

Rachel Johnson, Author . Touchstone $25 (340p) ISBN 978-1-4165-3176-0

This veddy droll through-the-keyhole debut from British columnist Johnson is drenched in the mores and manners of London's West Village equivalent—plus or minus a few trustafarians and maybe a few titles. Married to an "ecotect" and speeding childlessly toward middle age, Clare is a dilettante who dabbles in feng shui gardening when she isn't keeping an ovulation diary and minding everyone else's business on the back garden shared by her square block. Her frenemy, Mimi, is a 37-year-old freelance journalist who is married to Ralph (a freelance energy consultant and pundit) and Mummy to three posh kids and a dog. As the two alternate first-person chapters, Clare spots a scantily clad neighbor's wife sneaking out of the wrong house in the predawn darkness, while Mimi contemplates relieving her malignant ennui by hopping into bed with their new billionaire bachelor neighbor, Si Kasparian. ("Money is terribly sexy," she notes.) What follows are pages of brand- and name-dropping, boring hesitations and recriminations, untrustworthy billionaire behavior and Clare discovering her husband has taken an opposing side on a contentious garage renovation. Lacking the emotional depth of Anna Maxted and the strategic bling-command of Jackie Collins, this semisatire gets lost somewhere in between. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 01/01/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4165-5413-4
Paperback - 327 pages - 978-0-14-102083-9
Paperback - 978-1-4165-4447-0
Paperback - 340 pages - 978-1-4165-3207-1
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