Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Audiobook Review: 40 Love by Madeline Wickham

40 Love by Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella)
Unabridged; Macmillan Audio
Released: August 30, 2011
Length: 7 hours, 19 minutes
Narrator: Katherine Kellgren

40 Love is a light comedy which exposes four couples and what drives them to succeed in the climb up the social ladder. They all gather for a weekend at the country home of Caroline and Patrick Chance and the feature event of the weekend is a tennis tournament - how very English! Each couple is at a different place on the social ladder - Patrick and Caroline are quite well-off thanks to Patrick's healthy salary in investment banking; Don and his daughter Valerie are also comfortable but Valerie still works hard for a living to the point that she has ignored her personal life; Charles and Cressida are at the zenith of the social ladder thanks to Cressida's inheritance which Charles has happily lived off since they were married; Stephen and Annie are the most down to earth of the group - Stephen is pursuing his doctorate and the couple live modestly while he is only on a stipend. As the couples compete on the tennis court, they also compete in terms of who has more and how they can try to surpass each other. As the weekend progresses, each person reveals a little of themselves and it is clear these couples are not completely honest with their spouses or the group about their finances. Everyone is so desperate to reach the next rung on the ladder that they make ill-advised decisions and get into petty squabbles with each other. When Charles's ex arrives, things really get interesting - and the ill-advised decisions continue. In a story like this, there is a risk that the characters would be very unlikeable but Wickham reveals the humanity in each character which makes them likable despite their foibles. My favorite couple is Stephen and Annie - they lack pretension and although they desire more money, they want it for the right reason and are not merely trying to best their friends.

The story is one big romp which keep things light and funny. Wickham's trademark humor and pacing definitely works in this book. Katherine Kellgren does an excellent job of narrating this book - she changes her inflection just enough with each character so that the listener can differentiate them. I just love a British accent so I found her easy to listen to. If you are looking for a lighthearted, amusing listen, 40 Love is for you!

I received a copy of the audiobook from Audiobook Jukebox.


  1. This does sound like fun, but I've found I prefer the author's Sophie Kinsella books more.

  2. I've listened to two Sophie Kinsella books audiobooks and enjoyed them. Adding this one to my TBR (I guess it's TBL for listened) list!

  3. I'm always looking for fun easy audios so this sounds great.

  4. I am putting this down for a summer read -- that's when I love this kind of thing! Thanks, Colleen!

  5. I like the Wickham books - she has a sharper tone I think to those than the Kinsella books.

  6. I'm typically not a big fan of her books, but this one sounds like it would be a good change of pace some time!

  7. This sounds like one I need to add to my list.