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Little White Lies: A Novel of Love and Good Intentionsby Gemma Townley
Synopses & Reviews
Let me ask you a question. A theoretical one, if you'll bear with me. Would you ever open someone else’s mail? No? Of course not, I knew that.
Okay, but supposing there was this special letter. A really enticing-looking letter in a thick creamy envelope, handwritten, with no return address on it. And let's suppose that this letter was sent to you. Kind of by mistake. And that you had no way of forwarding it on.
Still not tempted?
Fine. Well, let's also say that the person to whom the letter is addressed was a member of one of the most exclusive private-member clubs in London and had a fabulous social life. While you were really bored, having just moved to a new city where your social life hadn't exactly blossomed yet. And suppose you had to look at the letter day after day just sitting there on your mantelpiece.
Imagine, if you will, that this person had a stack of mail piling up in your flat and that you were looking after it for her, even though it was very doubtful she'd ever come and claim it.
And let’s just say that the intended recipient of the letter had moved out of your apartment over a month ago and she still got more phone calls than you did.
Now would you be tempted? Just a little bit?
No? No, of course not. Me neither.
Boom Boom. Huh, huh, yeah.
The ceiling is shaking, which would suggest that Alistair, the guy who lives upstairs from me, is having yet another party. I've been trying to read Vanity Fair-my mum’s favorite book—for the past hour, but each time I get to the end of a paragraph, I realize I haven't taken any of it in and I have to go back and start over again. Which is a shame because it’s a great book, and I want to find out what happens next. So far, clever but wicked social-climbing Becky Sharp is manipulating everyone around her, and everything seems to hinge on money and virtue-the more a character has of either, the better off they are, although money without virtue is preferable to virtue without money. I guess some things never change.
I try reading again, but it's no use-Becky Sharp cannot compete for my attention when hip-hop is booming through my head. Maybe a magazine is a better idea.
Trying to ignore the loud music and laughter coming from Alistair's flat, I pick up a copy of Elle and alight upon an article on de-cluttering. Clear out your wardrobe and create a new you it says. Now, there's an idea. That would be a constructive way to spend an hour or so.
Although it isn't quite how I imagined spending a Saturday night in London when I decided to move here. I felt delirious with excitement when I handed in my notice a month ago telling my boss that I was moving to London and there was nothing he could do about it. It felt so good, marching into his office with this little smile creeping over my face. I almost expected a standing ovation and film music to play when I told him-or possibly for Richard Gere to turn up and sweep me off my feet and out of the office. You see, I'm not the sort of person who ups, sticks, and moves. I’ve always been good, straightforward, and predictable. No one saw this coming-least of all me. But life has a funny way of changing on you, doesn't it? Things weren’t going so well back in Bath, where I was working and living at home, and when I mentioned to my mum that I was thinking about mov
"Natalie Raglan would fancy a more glamorous, exciting life, but despite a recent move to London, her days are far from thrilling — and her nights are spent slogging through Thackeray's Vanity Fair. As in Townley's When in Rome... (2004), one impulsive indiscretion has rippling consequences for a bouncy (but soulful!) heroine. Natalie, tempted by the growing mound of unopened letters meant for her flat's previous tenant, the dazzling Cressida, soon finds herself opening Cressida's mail, then attending Cressida's parties and finally going on Cressida's dates. The world Natalie always hoped for becomes a reality — the only price she has to pay is that she has to pretend to be Cressida. But when sparks fly between her and hunky investment banker Simon Rutherford, Natalie finds her little white lies have gotten out of control; she can fool Simon, but can she fool Cressida's godmother, who's coming back from India to catch up with Cressida and her old pals, the Rutherfords? Poor Natalie: she's just like conniving Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair (which she finally finished). Well, really, she's a pale imitation, but she's sympathetic and likable enough. And while astute readers will see the happy ending coming from miles away, they'll still root for Natalie and her efforts to make the life she always dreamed about. Agent, Jennifer Callaghan at Dorie Simmonds. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Opening a letter intended for her glamorous former roommate, Cressida, Natalie, a young woman who has always dreamed of attending the best parties and enjoying the company of celebrities and high-society friends, accepts an invitation to a party and finds herself falling for a handsome man who assumes that she is Cressida. Original. 55,000 first printing.
WHAT’S ONE LITTLE WHITE LIE?
Okay, so it isn’t that little. It’s kind of a whopper. It’s just that when Natalie Raglan ups and quits her job at a Bath advertising firm, breaks up with her loser-ish boyfriend, and moves–to London! Things don’t quite turn out the way she planned. Having made the brave move to the Big City, the lifelong country mouse finds that living chic is still a long way off. Even Cressida, the girl who used to rent her tiny flat, still gets more phone calls and mail there than Nat does. Come to think of it, Cressida Langdon’s life looks pretty appealing–especially when an invitation to the posh, exclusive Soho House club arrives, addressed to Cressida.
Before she really knows what she’s done, Nat has opened Cressida’s mail . . . and taken up her life. Soon Nat’s dating a gorgeous investment banker named Simon, giving “reiki healing sessions,” wearing wonderful clothes, and partying with the A-list at Soho House. But the best part really is Simon. He’s everything Nat has ever wanted. The problem is he thinks she’s someone else. And as her life and her lies begin to spiral out of control, Nat can’t help but wonder: Will she be exposed as a liar and a fake–or be saved from ruin by simply claiming good intentions. . . .
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