Shopaholic and Sister
|Preceded by||Shopaholic Ties The Knot|
|Followed by||Shopaholic and Baby|
Shopaholic and Sister (2004) is a chick-lit novel by Sophie Kinsella, a pseudonym of Madeline Wickham. It is the fourth book in the Shopaholic series. It follows the story of Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) and her husband Luke as they return from their ten-month long honeymoon.
The novel commences with the protagonist, Becky Bloomwood, coming to the conclusion of her extravagant ten-month-long honeymoon around the world with her husband, Luke. Although the newlyweds have been enjoying themselves, Luke and Becky (née Bloomwood) decide it is time to return home to England and to follow a normal way of life. Before returning home, the couple embark upon a brief trip to Milan, where Luke is due to meet a potential client. After agreeing with Luke that she will not buy anything in Milan, Becky explores the city. She manages to buy Luke a new leather belt, wanting to replaced the one she ruined with the hot wax. Becky's resolve is weakened, however, when encounters what she feels as being the chance of a lifetime – the opportunity to possess an Angel handbag, the bag of the season which she simply is determined to purchase. Unfortunately, the clerk tells her that there is a waiting list for the bag and has to be put on there. A wealthy businessman, Nathan Temple, helps Becky jump to the head of the waiting list, because the owner and him are friends. She shows her gratitude by promising to pay him back somehow. Becky gives Luke a new belt, which he's pleased with believing she has changed.
Back in England, Becky and Luke stop to visit the Bloomwood family and surprise them with their early return. Becky is shocked and dismayed when her parents appear to be hiding something. Not only that, but they are not impressed with Becky's gifts and don't seem as excited as Becky had hoped. The next day, Luke and Becky attend the christening of Suze's twins. Unfortunately, Suze has befriended a local woman, Lulu, who is a mother of four children. From their first meeting, Becky and Lulu quickly dislikes each other. Lulu expresses her belief that she thinks Becky is immature and shallow for her age. Offended, Becky tells Lulu off that she thinks of her as a horse-faced, hypocritical and judgmental person with no interest in getting to know others. Becky feels isolated from Suze because she and Lulu have children of their own and have more in common. During that time, Luke comforts her and tells her that no one was expecting them back for another month.
Becky's troubles become worse when two trucks full of her souvenirs she has accumulated from her trip arrive. The bills for them are outrageous and with her new job not due to start for several months, Luke orders Becky to sort things out around the house with her spare time. Luke immediately switches back into business-mode, cutting his hair, becoming more efficient and donning expensive suits. Thinking quickly at her neighbors' suggestion, Becky sells most of her souvenirs off to eBay and made good money off it to pay Luke back, including the 20 Tiffany clocks(which she accidentally sells off unaware that he bought them as a gift to Arcodas' Group). Luke finds out and is angry with Becky for a while.
Becky's parents arrive with big news. They explain that they did not want to tell Becky initially until she settled down, but she has a half-sister from a previous relationship of her father's. Becky is ecstatic - she claims that she has felt a hole in her life and has always wanted a sister. She imagines going shopping together, enjoying girls' nights in, and having a new best friend to replace Suze. However, Becky is disappointed when she meets Jess. It turns out that Jess is studious, thrifty, and a bit standoffish. Jess tries to encourage Becky to save money; Becky can't comprehend why Jess does not want to do anything fun. When Becky overhears Luke saying that she is hard to live with, she is shocked and thinks that her marriage is falling apart. Jess and Becky suffers a falling out when they realize they have nothing in common. She also suffers one with Luke when he discovers that she had arranged a meeting for him to see Nathan Temple whom he's not happy about seeing and the fact Becky had gotten an Angel handbag. Both spend a few days arguing as he reveals that he thinks Jess is more helpful than she is because he's been trying to win over Arcodas. In anger and tears, Becky tells Luke off that she had a lot of her own problems to deal with the last few months and he never has time for her. He shows a hint of compassion for her, but also tells Becky that he needs time away from her. After he leaves for Cyprus, she reads the lists of problems he has with her and realizes that their marriage has fallen apart.
Soon Becky has a nightmare about transforming into her worst enemy, Alicia, donning a fancy pink suit and with a selfish sneer on her face to complete it. She was laughing and taunting Jess for being boring in collecting rocks. This crushes her, but also disappoints Luke and Suze who comes to Jess' defense. Suze reprimand Becky for being selfish and shallow like Alicia. Luke ends it with the warning that no one will forgive Becky for her behavior and hopes that tacky Angel handbag she bought was worth it. After that, she decides to go to Jess' home in Northern England to learn to be thrifty and make amends with her. Jess wants nothing to do with Becky and wants her to return to London. Her neighbor and shopkeeper, Jim shows compassion and lets Becky stay at his friend's Bed and Breakfast. The next day, she learns about Jess' past from Jim and Becky starts realizing that she had been a spoiled brat all her life. During an environmental meeting, Becky learns from Jess about a test she recently did about a blood clot. She also realizes Jess was trying to get a DNA test done for her and Graham before finding more potential fathers. Becky realizes that because there was no DNA test done and that everyone assumed, they may not be related. After making a heartfelt apology to Jess for the way she's treated her, Becky returns to her room and packs for the return trip home to face Luke. Robin, Jim and a few others from the environmental meeting tries to get her to stay regardless. Becky appreciates their generosity, but still insists that she return home to fix her marriage. She says her farewell to Jim and Kelly begs her to stay. Becky remains adamant that she must return home to save her marriage and asks Jim to do her one last favor in delivering a necklace she bought originally for Jess. He convinces her to come with him to Jess' house to do a delivery. Still harboring resentment, Becky believes Jess to boring and passionless much to Jim's amusement and decides to show her something to prove Becky wrong.
Jim takes Becky to Jess' house and shows her true passion in a cupboard similar to her shoe collection, but it is filled with rocks. In that moment, her resentment disappeared and Becky realizes Jess has something in common with her. Jim explains the whole story about Jess' injury and how she was almost arrested in trying to smuggle a rare rock from another country, but was let off with a warning. As he continued telling the story, Becky quickly feels guilty for insulting Jess' passion in rock collecting by calling it boring. Jess has departed on a mountain climb on a gloomy day, and she follows to try to catch up and apologize again. Unfortunately, Becky is not only wearing the incorrect footwear, but is also inappropriately dressed to embark upon a hike of that magnitude. She ends up not following the trail and has a nasty fall in dreadful weather. Luckily, Jess has the mental and moral fortitude to watch over her. The two girls reconcile and discover that though their interests are drastically different, they share the same level of passion for their hobbies. Becky admits she has been spoiled by her parents all her life when she learns more Jess' past in her stepfather, Bill's harsh upbringing that made her grow up into the woman she is. While Jess learned to fend for herself and value money at a young age, Becky's parents always paid for everything and thus she never learned how to do either. It resulted in her having to rely on others to help get her out of debt. This continued until Jess finally told Becky it's time to grow up and start being responsible for her actions. She is finally able to give Jess the silver bean Tiffany necklace that she bought for her as a gift. Jess loves the necklace and Becky finally saw her real weakness aside collecting rocks.
The book concludes with Becky finally relishing the pleasures being thrifty and has finally reconciled with Luke. She and Suze are helping Jess organize a protest against a new shopping mall (which turns out to be one of Luke's new clients). Eventually someone finds Becky's Angel handbag and it is returned to her. She refused to accept it, reasoning it was the source of all the troubles it caused her when both Jess and Luke turned away from her. Instead, Becky decides working on her marriage with Luke is more important and gives the purse to Kelly. She later discovers that she is pregnant.
Characters Introduced in the Book
Nathan Temple: An English businessman who owns Value Motels who helps Becky jump to the head of the waiting list to get an Angel handbag. She pays him back by arranging a meeting with him and Luke in Cyprus. This made Luke very livid with Becky about it, but had to attend because Temple will buy out Daily World and he can't afford to insult him. He ends up liking Temple when he learns about his past and how he got that conviction against him in the first place: because he was defending his staff from an abusive drunken guest and things got out of hand.
Jessica 'Jess' Bertram: Becky's older half-sister that her father had with Jess' mother, Marguerite, from a past relationship. She was excited because she always wanted a sister and always dreamed about both of them going shopping together, helping her cope with Suze not being her friend and enjoying girls' night in. She was disappointed when she learns that Jess is thrifty, studious and a bit standoffish. Her passion is collecting rocks, which was the one of the issues between her and Becky that lead to a falling out. Jess tells her that she's a spoiled brat who lived in a fantasy world. In turn, Becky tells her that she thinks she's boring, miserable, thrifty and has no passions in her life. While stuck in a mountain during the storm, Jess reveals that she never intended to be rude to Becky, but was unnerved by her because of her parents' harsh upbringing. They reconcile and Becky learns to enjoy being thrifty. She gives Jess the silver Tiffany bean necklace, which she loves and showed Becky, her rock collection. In Mini Shopaholic, it is revealed that Jess and Tom got married in Chile.
Lulu Hetherington: Suze's new best friend and a mother of four. She and Becky have an immediate dislike towards each other. She feels isolated when she sees that Suze and Lulu have more in common.
Jim Smith: The owner of Scully Stores who is a friend of Jess' family. He showed Becky all of Jess' rock collection and she immediately regretted what she said about them. Jim also tells her about how harsh Bill was in her upbringing with her brothers.
Kelly Smith: Jim's teenaged daughter, who immediately takes a liking to Becky as she's fashion forward. She becomes a supporting friend to her, during her short and brief time in Scully. Becky gives her an entire collection of Stila cosmetics and promises her a shopping trip at Topshop.
Robin: The kind-hearted and firm leader of the environmental protest group who Becky befriends. Robin listens to her suggestions for more media attention and a public rally. He and the other protesters likes the idea of it, but Jess is against it for a reason. When she tried to get Robin to make Becky leave by pointing out what she's really like on the inside, he ignores Jess and insisted she stay there. He tells her that the environmental meeting is no place to take out personal family issues. Robin also tells Jess that Becky has good ideas that he finds helpful and refreshing over her own monotone, tactical opinions.
- The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (2000) also published as Confessions of a Shopaholic (2001)
- Shopaholic Abroad (2001) also published as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (2002)
- Shopaholic Ties The Knot (2002)
- Shopaholic & Sister (2004)
- Shopaholic & Baby (2007)
- Mini Shopaholic (2010)
- Shopaholic to the Stars (2014)
- Cruz, Clarissa (October 8, 2004). "Shopaholic and Sister Review". Entertainment Weekly.