cover image A Desirable Residence

A Desirable Residence

Madeleine Wickham, . . St. Martin's/Dunne, $25.99 (296pp) ISBN 978-0-312-56277-9

Chick lit superstar Wickham (The Wedding Girl ) is in stellar form in her latest, a story of intersecting fates set in suburban London. Self-centered Liz Chambers, bored with her job and under a mountain of debt, frequently lashes out at her even-tempered husband, Jonathan, and begins an affair with wealthy realtor Marcus Witherstone, who proposes that Liz and Jonathan rent their unsold house to a young couple, Ginny and Piers Prentice, with whom Liz and Jonathan's sullen teenage daughter, Alice, strikes up an unexpected friendship. Ginny, meanwhile, pins her hopes on would-be actor Piers getting a part in a soap opera, and Jonathan is put on a pedestal by Marcus's wife, Anthea. Marcus begins regretting a shady business deal that could land him in huge trouble, and as Liz grows more delusional, Ginny becomes more worried and desperate, and Anthea more unforgiving and relentless. It all comes to a head at a party Ginny throws on the eve of Piers's big audition. A well-executed and unexpected ending caps the dizzying action and demonstrates why Wickham is so deservedly on her genre's A-list. (June)