Shopaholic Abroad

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Shopaholic Abroad
Shopaholic Abroad (book cover).jpg
Author Sophie Kinsella
Publication date
Pages 387 pp.
ISBN 9780440241812
Preceded by The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic
Followed by Shopaholic Ties The Knot

Shopaholic Abroad (also known as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan) (2001) is the second in the Shopaholic series. It is an adventure novel by Sophie Kinsella, a pseudonym of Madeleine Wickham. It follows the story of Becky Bloomwood and her adventures when she's offered the chance to work in New York City.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Life looks good for Becky Bloomwood. She has a great relationship with boyfriend Luke as well as a steady job giving financial advice on television. Furthermore, she is on good terms with her bank manager, Derek Smeath. Life becomes problematic for Becky when Mr. Smeath retires from Endwich Bank and Luke announces he wants to make it big in New York, big changes are in store for Becky. She takes to New York like an angel to heaven. Becky has never been happier and the reader is treated to Becky seeing the Guggenheim in a unique way, winning the attention of employees at Barney's and discovering sample sales. Becky spends a substantial amount of money, but is sure she's financially secure, with the job offers on T.V. piling up. She also justifies her expenses by convincing herself that the items are an investment in the future.

An article in the Daily World reveals her high debts, calls her a fraud for telling people how to manage their money when she is herself feckless. This causes a fight between her and Luke, as there are current rumours about that his PR company, Brandon Communications, will lose Bank of London as their client, and her being revealed as in debt (and Luke not even knowing about it) doesn't help situations. More and more opportunities are ruled out, when more and more people read the article. She even loses her current job on Morning Coffee, and is replaced by her former co-worker Clare Edwards, who Becky never liked, being boring and smug. She returns home to her roommate and best friend Suze, while Luke remains in New York, and their relationship comes to an apparent end.

Becky and Suze go to Becky's new bank manager to ask for a bigger overdraft, but are met with nothing but hostility and disgust. A woman who worked for her former employers Morning Coffee contacts her and asks her to lunch, Becky becomes hopeful, but it turns out she only wants her to come on and be told off by Clare for TV. She becomes depressed and Suze tries to comfort her. On a trip to Luke's office to collect a package for her delivered there, Becky decides that she will see Mel, Luke's secretary, for a bit because she missed her. She collects her package, but also notices how quiet it is with no moral. She hides in Mel's desk just in time so no one catches her in the office. During that time, she overhears Alicia's conversation with her fiancé, Ben Bridges, and another Brandon C. worker, which confuses her. Becky discovers she, along with her colleagues and Bridges, are planning to steal Luke's clients, along with Bank of London, and run the company out of business to embarrass Luke. She waits for them to leave, which they do after a few tense minutes and she safely leaves Brandon C. Instead of going home to Suze and tell her about it, Becky decides to do a little detective work and find out more about Alicia's plans. She heads down to King Street and ask a tenant about any new businesses coming into the street. He tells Becky the empty 2nd floor of the building he owns, will be the future home of a financial public relations business called "Bridges and Billington" and the Bank of London will be one of their future clients. Furious at Alicia's actions for what she did to Luke as well as herself, Becky immediately contacts his colleague, Michael Ellis, and tells him the truth about what she had seen. He thanks her for informing him, but Becky requests that Michael does not tell Luke that it was her, fearing that he will think she's gossiping behind his back to prove a point. Michael agrees to cover for Becky by telling Luke that he found out from an anonymous tip and will look into it.

The next day, Suze suggests for a healing and empowering exercise that Becky throw out all her unnecessary possessions. She was against it at first, but later agrees when she saw how cluttered her room is and needed something to take her mind off of losing her job and Alicia's plans. While trying to tidy up, Becky comes up a better idea after watching a commercial on TV: sell all of her possessions instead. During that time, Becky gets a call from Michael and invites her to lunch at the Savoy Hotel. He congratulates her for helping them out because her information saved Brandon C. from being run out of business by exposing Alicia and her colleagues for trying to ruin the company's reputation with their clients. Michael reveals that Luke has returned to London to try and salvage his company's reputation with his clients while trying to keep interest open in America. He also mentions that because of Alicia's fiancé's wealth, Ben was a key player in her plans and he was able to finance the project that they've been working on for some time. They were planning to steal all of Brandon C.'s clients and set up business elsewhere in King Street. As soon as Luke left with Becky for New York, she and her colleagues got to work immediately by telling their co-workers and clients a bunch of rumors that he will close the UK branch. As a result, clients are threatening to sue him and workers were leaving earlier, all the while she was telling him a different story. Once Michael told Luke the truth, he immediately returned to the UK branch of Brandon C. to search their desks and found plenty of evidence. Furious, he took Alicia and her colleagues by surprise in the meeting room and he fired them for it. Michael mentions that Luke plans to press charges against Alicia, Ben and four others involved in their scheme. Noticing that Becky has no job and is in debt, he offers her a job in Washington D.C. and can help her with immigration as he's got a good lawyer and friends in immigration to convince them. Michael also offers her good advice in finding work that she's real passionate about and not fall into a job she doesn't like.

That night, Becky holds an auction for her clothes and items. She sells all of it, even her Denny and George scarf, a big symbol for her and Luke's relationship, which makes more than three times her money back to pay off her debts. Becky accepts the slot on Morning Coffee, but shocks them all by telling them she has no more financial problems, has paid of all her debt, and is heading off to New York now to work at Barney's (all of which is now true). Her former co-workers beg her to stay and answer questions from people on the phone wanting to know how she got out of debt. Becky refuses and heads to the airport with her travelling luggage ready to head to New York. Though unable to get an upgrade, the clerk was able to get her a window seat near the emergency exit with plenty of leg room. Becky comes across an article from the Financial Times, detailing Luke's risky business plans to save his company. Though feeling bad for him, she also accepts the fact it's over between them and she must move on with her own life.

Luke turns up at the airport and tells Becky that Michael told him all about what she did for his company. He thanks her, although Luke admits he was angry about it because she should have told him. Becky defends herself stating she was worried that Luke wouldn't believe her if she came to him about Alicia and would think she was gossiping behind his back. Thus, she thought telling Michael about Alicia's plans was a safer bet since he would not betray them. While having a drink at the airport bar, Luke revealed that he confronted the reporter from Daily World that wrote the bad article about Becky to reveal her source and was enraged when he found out Alicia was involved. After returning to London, Luke did extensive search in her desk and had found bank statements that belonged to Becky. This revelation made her feel bad for leaving her bank statements behind unaware of the trouble it and the excessive shopping caused her. However, Luke reveals that he was Alicia's real target and she was a mere stepping stone. He admits he realized his mistake in accusing Becky for ruining his deal and apologizes after learning Alicia ruined her T.V. career intentionally so she had an easier shot at embarrassing him by ruining Brandon C's reputation with their clients and running it out of business. She tells Luke that it was also her own fault, because if she had been keeping tabs on her money and not gone shopping excessively in New York, she wouldn't have put herself in the mess she was in. In a lot of ways, Becky was glad she read the article because she realized she had to grow up and start paying back her debts. Luke begs her to stay, to come and work at Brandon C. upon revealing how much Alicia decimated his staff, including firing Mel when she suspected Alicia and a few others for lying. Becky refuses and tells him she doesn't want to settle down at a job she doesn't want, as she's too young for that. When he asks why, Becky reveals her intent to return to New York to work at Barneys New York as a personal shopper and didn't take Michael's offer to go to Washington DC. Before she leaves, Luke gives Becky back her Denny and George scarf, revealing that the two bidders pitting against each other were him. Becky leaves for New York to accept a job at Barney's.

Some time later, Becky is working as a personal shopper at Barney's in New York. She has regular TV appearances representing fashion styles, which gains her more than three times her viewers back. Becky is helping out a customer to accessorize an outfit, when Luke shows up as a customer. Becky soon realizes she really missed him and get back together.


Alicia Billington: Luke's employee at Brandon Communications and is described by Becky as being blonde and long-legs in the first novel. This earns her the nickname Alicia Bitch Long-Legs because she's selfish and uncaring of others. Alicia and Suze have a bitter history with each other when they first worked at Brandon C as PRs. She plays an important role in ruining Becky's TV career by exposing her in an article from Daily World in calling her a fraud for telling others in how to save her money when she can't do it herself and with her bank statements to back it up. With her TV career ruined, Alicia turns her attention in ruining Luke's PR company. With her colleagues and her fiance, Ben, supporting her, she plans to steal all of his clients, including the Bank of London and set up business in King Street. Becky learns about Alicia's plans, tells Michael about it and Luke returns to England to dig up evidence. He finds a lot, and took Alicia, her colleagues and Ben by surprise in the meeting room. She is fired from Brandon C. for her plans to ruin the company's reputation by stealing their most important clients and setting up business elsewhere.

Ben Bridges: Alicia's fiancé and key player in her plans. He was the one who funded the project because of his wealth and it was carefully well thought of. He and Alicia had gotten a new business in King Street which got derailed when Luke found out the truth and returned to England.

Michael Ellis: Luke's colleague in America. He and Becky becomes good friends. It was she who told him about what Alicia had done that lead him to telling Luke the truth, but keeping Becky a secret to himself. Michael offers her a job in Washington D.C. when he learns that she is in debt and has no job. He also encourages her to find work she's passionate about and not fall into anything she's doesn't like.

Christina Rowan: The head of the personal shoppers at Barney's in New York. Becky comes as a customer there, but ends up working for her after losing her job on the Morning Coffee.

Elinor Sherman: Luke's biological mother, whom Becky immediately dislikes as she's cold, disinterested and uncaring of her son's attempt to try and reach out to her. This plays a crucial role in Shopaholic Ties The Knot when she calls out Elinor for being cold and selfish towards her son. In turn, she greatly despises Becky as she's immature and a flake for Luke's taste. She and Elinor would eventually reconcile in Mini Shopaholic, when she accepts responsibility for her actions and helps plan for Luke's surprise birthday party.

John Gavin: The new manager of Endwich Bank which Derek Smeath used to work. After reading the article from the Daily World, he greatly shows hostility towards Becky when she and Suze arrive and ask for a bigger overdraft. He sneeringly tells Becky that she needs to stop living in a fantasy world and grow up.

Mel: Luke's secretary introduced in the first novel. She and Becky presumably became friends in the 2nd novel. It's unknown what happened to Mel, but it's presumed Alicia had her fired when she found out that Mel suspected her of lying with intent to tell Luke the truth.


Critical reception for Shopaholic Abroad has been mixed.[1] Kirkus Reviews criticized the work as "lackluster", as they felt that it just a rehash of the much funnier Confessions of a Shopaholic.[2] The Akron Beacon Journal was more positive in their review and called it "bathtub reading at its best", but stated that "although Kinsella wants to avoid anything really dark in the book, you have to wonder why the question of professional help for Becky is never raised."[3]

Shopaholic Series[edit]


  1. ^ "SHOPAHOLIC TAKES MANHATTAN (review)". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "SHOPAHOLIC TAKES MANHATTAN (review)". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Ethridge, Mary (April 8, 2002). "Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio, Mad Shopper Column.". Akron Beacon Journal (subscription required). Retrieved 27 May 2015. 

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