Lightweight but wickedly comic, this novel adroitly weaves a send-up of the class system, emancipated women and professional do-gooders through its chronicle of the shifting fortunes of a lower-middle class British couple. Ellie Freeman, 39, dowdy and in a rut, has just won over 1.5 million in the pools. She doesn't want a car, exotic travel, or a new home. She wants to rebuild her floundering marriage by giving her apathetic and sullen husband, Malcolm, new vigor and a positive self-image. And she wants to keep her new fortune totally secret. With the aid of a shrewd and sympathetic bank manager, she invests heavily in a young, undercapitalized business and discreetly arranges for the owners to put her insecure and unmotivated husband in a responsible position. Within a year the company prospers. Malcolm joins a health club, gives up red meat, takes up squash--and leaves Ellie for another woman. Ellie, who has stayed home to be the perfect housewife (with Malcolm's encouragement), is shattered, but as this surprising book shifts gears from the romantic to the gothic, the author of Nasty Habits shows what an embittered woman with a lot of imagination and even more money can achieve. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/1993 Release date: 12/01/1993 Genre: Fiction
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