Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) thought motherhood would be a breeze and that having a daughter was a dream come true –  a shopping friend for life! But it’s trickier than she thought –  two-year-old Minnie has a quite different approach to shopping.

She can create havoc everywhere from Harrods to Harvey Nicks to her own christening. She hires taxis at random, her favourite word is ‘Mine’ , and she’s even started bidding for designer bags on ebay.

On top of everything else, there’s a big financial crisis. People are having to Cut Back –  including all of Becky s personal shopping clients – and she and Luke are still living with Becky’s Mum and Dad. To cheer everyone up, Becky decides to throw a surprise birthday party on a budget but then things become really complicated.

Who will end up on the naughty step, who will get a gold star and will Becky’s secret wishes come true?

Becky Brandon is back! But this time, she has an accomplice.  In Sophie Kineslla’s latest offering, Becky is joined by her daughter Minnie, who, at the age of two, can already hail a cab and ask to be taken to Starbucks for a muffin.

‘Mini Shopaholic’ is the sixth in the Shopaholic series and has been very eagerly awaited by Sophie Kinsella fans, myself included. The series centres around the antics of Becky, a personal shopper, who is married to businessman Luke Brandon. Becky has a serious shopping addiction; she just can’t resist any form of shopping at all, and this is the basis of the many hilarious situations that she finds herself in.

When we last saw Becky she had just given birth to daughter Minnie. She and Luke had moved in with her parents after the purchase of their house fell through and Luke’s company ran into problems. Minnie is now two and they are all still living with Becky’s parents due to a series of misfortunes whilst attempting to a buy a property.

In ‘Mini Shopaholic’ we see Becky doing her best to cope with the country’s financial crisis and organise an inexpensive surprise party for Luke. Oh, and she also needs to convince a childcare guru that Minnie doesn’t need to be dragged off to Utah to deal with her rather demanding nature.

Shopaholic fans will see the return of lots of their favourite characters, such as Suze, Tarquin and Danny, as well as Becky’s terrifying mother-in-law Elinor. There are also some new faces, in particular Luke’s assistant Bonnie.

There were some very funny moments (such as Becky’s visit to Poundland and Minnie ordering sixteen Miu Miu coats from the internet), but I felt that the new character of Bonnie seemed quite incomplete. By the end of the book I still had no idea about her homelife or what she really thought of Becky. I am also continually surprised by Sophie Kinsella’s decision to never show Luke’s father, who surely would have made the effort to attend a massive party which was being held for his only son.

I think that Sophie Kinsella should get a lot of credit for being able to make Becky come across as such a likeable character. She has many flaws and I find myself getting annoyed with her in each of the books as she gets herself into all sorts of scraps, but, ultimately, I’m always rooting for her to succeed. Sophie Kinsella also manages to come up with something different for each book in the series and really manages to keep the reader gripped. I read this book in one sitting, only getting up to get more tea and to check that my children and husband weren’t feeling too neglected.

I really enjoyed the scenes between Becky and Minnie; they were often very funny and despite the exaggerations of fiction, a lot of parents will find elements of them very true to life!

A reader new to the Shopaholic series would, I think, enjoy this book, but perhaps not as much as someone who has followed Becky’s dramas from the offset. I do feel however that I should issue a word of warning for those new readers – this really is a very frivolous book; entertaining and hilarious in parts, but totally frivolous.  That said, and despite my few and minor other criticisms, I would recommend this book to any chick lit fan; if you’re in the mood for a little escapism than you won’t find much better than the Shopaholic series and its latest addition!

4 stars

You can buy MINI SHOPAHOLIC at Amazon UK

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