The Gatecrasher: A Novel by Madeleine WickhamThe Gatecrasher: A Novel by Madeleine Wickham

The Gatecrasher: A Novel

byMadeleine Wickham

Paperback | May 27, 2008

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The Secret Is Out!
Madeleine Wickham is Sophie Kinsella, and The Gatecrasher is just as delicious as her internationally bestselling Shopaholic series.

Everything's coming up roses for Fleur Daxeny, as she goes through more rich men than she does designer hats. Beautiful and utterly irresistible, her success at crashing funerals to find wealthy men is remarkable. Fleur wastes no time in seducing her latest conquest, the handsome and rich widower Richard Favour. His children are caught up in a whirlwind as their father's new girlfriend descends on the family estate. Fleur is not one to wear her heart on her Chanel sleeves, but she soon finds herself embracing Richard and his family. But just as Fleur contemplates jumping off the gold-digger train for good, a long-buried secret from her past threatens to destroy her new family.

Take a wild and marvelous ride with The Gatecrasher, whose clever, chic, and sassy style will leave you desperately wanting more wonderful Wickham!

Madeleine Wickham is the author of several acclaimed novels, including A Desirable Residence, Cocktails for Three, Sleeping Arrangements and The Wedding Girl. As Sophie Kinsella, she has written a number of bestsellers including the Shopaholic series, Twenties Girl, Remember Me?, The Undomestic Goddess, and Can You Keep a Secret? Confe...
Title:The Gatecrasher: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.3 × 5.53 × 0.9 inPublished:May 27, 2008Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312381077

ISBN - 13:9780312381073


Rated 3 out of 5 by from As a big Sophie fan... read it.... Not as good as Sophie's other books. I still read it from end to end and found it amusing. The character wasn't as likable as her usual characters,
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Liked it. The story is a little complicating, cannot sympathise with the main character at times, but the ending brings it all together.
Date published: 2010-04-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from So-So I read this book for a book club so it wasn't by choice. I did enjoy it near the middle but the beginning didn't really catch my attention and the book seemed to end rather abruptly to me. As I read the book I kept thinking of the movie Wedding Crashers (which I love) but didn't help the book. I found the character development lacking and I couldn't connect with the main character. Overall, I enjoyed the book but I am not sure if I would recommend it to a friend.
Date published: 2009-04-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as stellar as the novels she writes under her pseudonym! Fleur has made a career out of crashing funerals and memorial services so that she can work her way into recently widower's lives. She earns the widower's trust then takes them for all she can and moves on. Fleur's latest target is Richard Favour who finds that her bubbly personality and bright spirit are exactly what his dull life has been lacking. However, as Fleur is swept up into Richard's country club lifestyle and family problems she finds that maybe she is wanting more than just access to his gold card. Perhaps this will be the life that she finally settles into, until her own past catches up with her and threatens to ruin everything. The book was enjoyable at times but I found myself disliking the main character more and more as the story progressed. Fleur was shockingly selfish and blind to everyone's needs but her own. She had absolutely no redeeming qualities that justified a whole family falling in love with her and I can't believe how easily they all forgave the way she mistreated them. Fleur's character didn't change or learn anything even towards the end of the book. Also, the ending was a supreme disappointment because it wraps up a little too quickly with so many loose ends untied. Truthfully, I am now hesitant to pick up any more of Wickham's novels as her Shopoholic books were definitely more entertaining than this one.
Date published: 2009-04-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It wasn't that bad I had read the Shopaholic series and was really interested in reading a book by "Madeline Wickham." The Gatecrasher was okay. It wasn't horrible but it Fleur was no match against Becky Bloomwood. I didn't really fall in love with Fleur like I did with Sophie Kinsella's other main characters. Also, I didn't like the book ending. The plot was sort of slow and at the end, it left me with a million questions! It felt like the book ended too abruptly or the book wasn't quite finished... It was an okay book but definitely not one of my favorites.
Date published: 2009-03-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A Surprise -- your definition. This book was kind of like watching Wedding Crashers (the movie). It was funny, and interesting when you start reading the book, but by the end it gets all serious and weird on you. By the cover, and the author, you would expect this book to be fun, and a romantic comedy. However, this book deals with a single mother stealing money off male widows, and always moving around. She has a troubled daughter, who eventually comes to live with her and the new "family", and gets involved with the son. It has its funny moments, but mostly the book deals with a complex family, their troubles, secrets, money, sex, and past. The characters are sometimes frustrating because of their actions, and I actually cried at some parts. Because of the angst. The ending is a little bit anti-climatic. My suggestion; read the book with an open mind. Don't expect it to be another Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Date published: 2009-02-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from WHAT A BORE This was book recommended in my small book group. It has to be one of the worst books i have read, ever. It was badly written, not entertaining, or funny. I had trouble picking the book up to read, rather than putting the book down! After reading the other reviews, im beginning to wonder if they actually read this book!
Date published: 2009-02-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Read The gatecrasher is a novel about a woman who 'crashes' funerals and memorials in hopes of finding wiealthy men. She then takes as much money from them as she can before moving on. It is an interesting premise for a novel and it was an easy and enjoyable read. I'm not sure why Madeleine WIckham who is also Sophie Kinsella chose to author this book under a her own name. Why not use your name for all of your novels. All in all it was a good read.
Date published: 2009-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great! when i had finished reading all of the sophie kinsella books i was slightly depressed. then i came across the gatecrasher at the yorkdale indigo and i was revived. it was an early christmas present for me. the books she writes are not great works of literature, but they're not boring either. i get so wrapped up in her great stories and characters that i usually don't put it down until i'm done. keep writing sophie/madeleine! one thing i did notice about this book was how different her style is compared to shopaholics and the other kinsella books. it was hard to get used to at first and then i fell in love with her new (old) style too. i can't wait for the rest of wickham/kinsella's books.
Date published: 2008-12-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining If you like Sophie Kinsella's 'Shopaholic' series, then you'll enjoy this novel, as well. As per usual, the main character finds herself in a tangled web of lies that she has to somehow get herself out of. Typical British humor. I enjoyed it!
Date published: 2008-10-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring I loved the Shopaholic series so I was excited to read another book by the same author. I thought this book was brutal. I couldn't wait for it to end. I will not read another book by Wickham.
Date published: 2008-07-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Cheeky with a touch of wit After reading so many Sophie Kinsella novels, then reading this one, I realized how different Sophie Kinsella and Madeleine Wickham are as authors. It's the same style, but throughout The Gatecrasher, I realized how much older and less glamorous the characters were compared to, say, Becky Bloomwood. In fact, I wouldn't even classify The Gatecrasher as a chick lit novel, per se. That being said, The Gatecrasher is still an entertaining read. The suspense is amazing, and it made up for the relative lack of romance. And, of course, the author's wit is admirable. I do wish, however, that the story didn't end so abruptly. Not many people can come up with such great premises for their stories, but Madeleine Wickham has done it again and again. The gatecrasher to funerals turns out to be a gold-digger looking for wealthy widowers. When she finds one, well, things become juicy. Highly recommended for all Sophie Kinsella fans!
Date published: 2008-06-07

Read from the Book

THE GATECRASHER (Chapter 1)Fleur Daxeny wrinkled her nose. She bit her lip, and put her head on one side, and gazed at her reflection silently for a few seconds. Then she gave a gurgle of laughter."I still can't decide," she exclaimed. "They're all fabulous."The saleswoman from Take Hat! exchanged weary glances with the nervous young hairdresser sitting on a gilt stool in the corner. The hairdresser had arrived at Fleur's hotel suite half an hour ago and had been waiting to start ever since. The saleswoman was meanwhile beginning to wonder whether she was wasting her time completely."I love this one with the veil," said Fleur suddenly, reaching for a tiny creation of black satin and wispy netting. "Isn't it elegant?""Very elegant," said the saleswoman. She hurried forward just in time to catch a black silk topper which Fleur was discarding onto the floor."Very," echoed the hairdresser in the corner. Surreptitiously he glanced at his watch. He was supposed to be back down in the salon in forty minutes. Trevor wouldn't be pleased. Perhaps he should phone down to explain the situation. Perhaps . . ."All right!" said Fleur. "I've decided." She pushed up the veil and beamed around the room. "I'm going to wear this one today.""A very wise choice, madam," said the saleswoman in relieved tones. "It's a lovely hat.""Lovely," whispered the hairdresser."So if you could just pack the other five into boxes for me . . ." Fleur smiled mysteriously at her reflection and pulled the dark silk gauze down over her face again. The woman from Take Hat! gaped at her."You're going to buy them all?""Of course I am. I simply can't choose between them. They're all too perfect." Fleur turned to the hairdresser. "Now, my sweet. Can you come up with something special for my hair which will go under this hat?" The young man stared back at her and felt a dark pink colour begin to rise up his neck."Oh. Yes. I should think so. I mean . . ." But Fleur had already turned away."If you could just put it all onto my hotel bill," she was saying to the saleswoman. "That's all right, isn't it?""Perfectly all right, madam," said the saleswoman eagerly. "As a guest of the hotel, you're entitled to a fifteen per cent concession on all our prices.""Whatever," said Fleur. She gave a little yawn. "As long as it can all go on the bill.""I'll go and sort it out for you straight away.""Good," said Fleur. As the saleswoman hurried out of the room, she turned and gave the young hairdresser a ravishing smile. "I'm all yours."Her voice was low and melodious and curiously accentless. To the hairdresser's ears it was now also faintly mocking, and he flushed slightly as he came over to where Fleur was sitting. He stood behind her, gathered together the ends of her hair in one hand and let them fall down in a heavy, red-gold movement."Your hair's in very good condition," he said awkwardly."Isn't it lovely?" said Fleur complacently. "I've always had good hair. And good skin, of course." She tilted her head, pushed her hotel robe aside slightly, and rubbed her cheek tenderly against the pale, creamy skin of her shoulder. "How old would you say I was?" she added abruptly."I don't . . . I wouldn't . . ." the young man began to flounder."I'm forty," she said lazily. She closed her eyes. "Forty," she repeated, as though meditating. "It makes you think, doesn't it?""You don't look . . ." began the hairdresser in awkward politeness. Fleur opened one glinting, pussycat-green eye."I don't look forty? How old do I look, then?"The hairdresser stared back at her uncomfortably. He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again. The truth was, he thought suddenly, that this incredible woman didn't look any age. She seemed ageless, classless, indefinable. As he met her eyes he felt a thrill run through him; a dart-like conviction that this moment was somehow significant. His hands trembling slightly, he reached for her hair and let it run like slippery flames through his fingers."You look as old as you look," he whispered huskily. "Numbers don't come into it.""Sweet," said Fleur dismissively. "Now, my pet, before you start on my hair, how about ordering me a nice glass of champagne?"The hairdresser's fingers drooped in slight disappointment, and he went obediently over to the telephone. As he dialled, the door opened and the woman from Take Hat! came back in, carrying a pile of hat boxes. "Here we are," she exclaimed breathlessly. "If you could just sign here . . .""A glass of champagne, please," the hairdresser was saying. "Room 301.""I was wondering," began the saleswoman cautiously to Fleur. "You're quite sure that you want all six hats in black? We do have some other super colours this season." She tapped her teeth thoughtfully. "There's a lovely emerald green which would look stunning with your hair . . .""Black," said Fleur decisively. "I'm only interested in black." An hour later, Fleur looked at herself in the mirror, smiled and nodded. She was dressed in a simple black suit which had been cut to fit her figure precisely. Her legs shimmered in sheer black stockings; her feet were unobtrusive in discreet black shoes. Her hair had been smoothed into an exemplary chignon, on which the little black hat sat to perfection.The only hint of brightness about her figure was a glimpse of salmon-pink silk underneath her jacket. It was Fleur's rule always to wear some colour no matter how sombre the outfit or the occasion. In a crowd of dispirited black suits, a tiny splash of salmon-pink would draw the eye unconsciously towards her. People would notice her but wouldn't be quite sure why. Which was just as she liked it.Still watching her reflection, Fleur pulled the gauzy veil down over her face. The smug expression disappeared from her face, to be replaced by one of grave, inscrutable sadness. For a few moments she stared silently at herself. She picked up her black leather Osprey bag and held it soberly by her side. She nodded slowly a few times, noticing how the veil cast hazy mysterious shadows over her pale face.Then, suddenly, the telephone rang, and she sprang back into life."Hello?""Fleur, where have you been? I have tried to call you." The heavy Greek voice was unmistakable. A frown of irritation creased Fleur's face."Sakis! Sweetheart, I'm in a bit of a hurry . . .""Where are you going?""Nowhere. Just shopping.""Why do you need to shop? I bought you clothes in Paris.""I know you did, darling. But I wanted to surprise you with something new for this evening." Her voice rippled with convincing affection down the phone. "Something elegant, sexy . . ." As she spoke, she had a sudden inspiration. "And you know, Sakis," she added carefully, "I was wondering whether it wouldn't be a good idea to pay in cash, so that I get a good price. I can draw money out from the hotel, can't I? On your account?""A certain amount. Up to ten thousand pounds, I think.""I won't need nearly that much!" Her voice bubbled over with amusement. "I only want one outfit! Five hundred maximum.""And when you have bought it you will return straight to the hotel.""Of course, sweetheart.""There is no of course. This time, Fleur, you must not be late. Do you understand? You-must-not-be-late." The words were barked out like a military order and Fleur flinched silently in annoyance. "It is quite clear. Leonidas will pick you up at three o'clock. The helicopter will leave at four o'clock. Our guests will arrive at seven o'clock. You must be ready to greet them. I do not want you to be late like last time. It was . . . it was unseemly. Are you listening? Fleur?""Of course I'm listening!" said Fleur. "But there's someone knocking at the door. I'll just go and see who it is . . ." She waited a couple of seconds, then firmly replaced the receiver. A moment later, she picked it up again."Hello? Could you send someone up for my luggage, please?"Downstairs, the hotel lobby was calm and tranquil. The woman from Take Hat! saw Fleur walking past the boutique, and gave a little wave, but Fleur ignored her."I'd like to check out," she said, as soon as she got to the reception desk. "And to make a withdrawal of money. The account is in the name of Sakis Papandreous.""Ah, yes." The smooth, blond-haired receptionist tapped briefly at her computer, then looked up and smiled at her. "How much money would you like?" Fleur beamed back at her."Ten thousand pounds. And could you order me two taxis?" The woman looked up in surprise."Two?""One for me, one for my luggage. My luggage is going to Chelsea." Fleur lowered her eyes beneath her gauzy veil. "I'm going to a memorial service.""Oh dear, I am sorry," said the woman, handing Fleur several pages of hotel bill. "Someone close to you?""Not yet," said Fleur, signing the bill without bothering to check it. She watched as the cashier counted thick wads of money into two crested envelopes, then tenderly took them both, placed them in her Osprey bag and snapped it shut. "But you never know." Richard Favour sat in the front pew of St. Anselm's Church with his eyes closed, listening to the sounds of people filling the church--muted whisperings and shufflings, the tapping of heels on the tiled floor, and "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" being played softly on the organ.He had always hated "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"; it had been the suggestion of the organist at their meeting three weeks previously, after it had become apparent that Richard could not name a single piece of organ music of which Emily had been particularly fond. There had been a slightly embarrassed silence as Richard vainly racked his brains, then the organist had tactfully murmured, 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' is always very popular . . ." and Richard had agreed in hasty relief.Now he gave a dissatisfied frown. Surely he could have thought of something more personal than this turgid, over-popular tune? Emily had certainly been a music-lover, always going to concerts and recitals when her health allowed it. Had she never once turned to him, eyes alight, saying, "I love this piece, don't you?" He screwed up his eyes and tried to remember. But the only vision that came to him was of Emily lying in bed, eyes dulled, wan and frail and uncomplaining. A spasm of guilty regret went through him. Why had he never asked his wife what her favourite piece of music was? In thirty-three years of marriage, he had never asked her. And now it was too late. Now he would never know.He rubbed his forehead wearily, and looked down at the engraved order of service on his lap. The words stared back up at him. Service of Memorial and Thanksgiving for the life of Emily Millicent Favour. Simple black lettering, plain white card. He had resisted all attempts by the printers to introduce such prized features as silver borders or embossed angels. Of that, he thought, Emily would have approved. At least . . . he hoped she would.It had taken Richard several years of marriage to Emily to realize that he didn't know her very well, and several more for him to realize that he never would. At the beginning, her serene remoteness had been part of her appeal, along with her pale, pretty face and the neat, boyish figure which she kept as resolutely hidden as she did her innermost thoughts. The more she had kept herself hidden, the more tantalized Richard had become; he had approached their wedding day with a longing bordering on desperation. At last, he had thought, he and Emily would be able to reveal their secret selves to each other. He had yearned to explore not only her body but her mind, her person; to discover her most intimate fears and dreams; to become her lifelong soulmate.They'd been married on a bright, blustery day, in a little village in Kent. Emily had looked composed and serene throughout; Richard had supposed she was simply better than him at concealing the nervous anticipation that surely burned as intensely within her as it did in him--an anticipation which had become stronger as the day was swallowed up and the beginning of their life together drew near.Now he closed his eyes, and remembered those first, tingling seconds, as the door had shut behind the porter and he was alone with his wife for the first time in their Eastbourne hotel suite. He'd gazed at her as she took off her hat with the smooth, precise movements she always made, half-longing for her to throw the silly thing down and rush into his arms, and half-longing for this delicious, uncertain waiting to last for ever. It had seemed that Emily was deliberately delaying the moment of their coming together; teasing him with her cool, oblivious manner, as though she knew exactly what was going through his mind.And then, finally, she'd turned, and met his eye. And he'd taken a breath, not knowing quite where to start; which of his pent-up thoughts to release first. And she'd looked straight at him with remote blue eyes and said, "What time is dinner?"Even then, he'd thought she was still teasing. He'd thought she was purposely prolonging the sense of anticipation, that she was deliberately stoppering up her emotions until they became too overwhelming to control, when they would flood out in a huge gush to meet and mix with his. And so, patiently, awed by her apparent self-control, he'd waited. Waited for the gush; the breaking of the waters; the tears and the surrender.But it had never happened. Emily's love for him had never manifested itself in anything more than a slow drip-drip of fond affection; she'd responded to his every caress, his every confidence, with the same degree of lukewarm interest. When he tried to spark a more powerful reaction in her, he'd been met first by incomprehension, then, as he grew more strident, by an almost frightened resistance.Eventually he'd given up trying. And gradually, almost without his realizing, his own love for her had begun to change in character. Over the years, his emotions had stopped pounding at the surface of his soul like a hot, wet tidal wave and had receded and solidified into something firm and dry and sensible. And Richard, too, had become firm and dry and sensible. He'd learned to keep his own counsel, to gather his thoughts dispassionately and say only half of what he was really thinking. He'd learned to smile when he wanted to beam, to click his tongue when he wanted to scream in frustration; to restrain himself and his foolish thoughts as much as possible.Now, waiting for her memorial service to begin, he blessed Emily for those lessons in self-restraint. Because if it hadn't been for his ability to keep himself in check, the hot, sentimental tears which bubbled at the back of his eyes would now have been coursing uncontrollably down his cheeks, and the hands which calmly held his order of service would have been clasped over his contorted face, and he would have been swept away by a desperate, immoderate grief. The church was almost full when Fleur arrived. She stood at the back for a few moments, surveying the faces and clothes and voices in front of her; assessing the quality of the flower arrangements; checking the pews for anyone who might look up and recognize her.But the people in front of her were an anonymous bunch. Men in dull suits; ladies in uninspired hats. A flicker of doubt crossed Fleur's mind. Could Johnny have got this one wrong? Was there really any money lurking in this colourless crowd?"Would you like an order of service?" She looked up to see a long-legged man striding across the marble floor towards her. "It's about to start," he added with a frown."Of course," murmured Fleur. She held out her pale, scented hand. "Fleur Daxeny. I'm so glad to meet you . . . Sorry, I've forgotten your name . . .""Lambert.""Lambert. Of course. I remember now." She paused, and glanced up at his face, still wearing an arrogant frown. "You're the clever one.""I suppose you could say that," said Lambert, shrugging.Clever or sexy, thought Fleur. All men want to be one or the other--or both. She looked at Lambert again. His features looked overblown and rubbery, so that even in repose he seemed to be pulling a face. Better just leave it at clever, she thought."Well, I'd better sit down," she said. "I expect I'll see you later.""There's plenty of room at the back," Lambert called after her. But Fleur appeared not to hear him. Studying her order of service with an absorbed, solemn expression, she made her way quickly to the front of the church."I'm sorry," she said, pausing by the third row from the front. "Is there any room? It's a bit crowded at the back."She stood impassively while the ten people filling the row huffed and shuffled themselves along; then, with one elegant movement, took her place. She bowed her head for a moment, then looked up with a stern, brave expression."Poor Emily," she said. "Poor sweet Emily." "Who was that?" whispered Philippa Chester as her husband returned to his seat beside her."I don't know," said Lambert. "One of your mother's friends, I suppose. She seemed to know all about me.""I don't think I remember her," said Philippa. "What's her name?""Fleur. Fleur something.""Fleur. I've never heard of her.""Maybe they were at school together or something.""Oh yes," said Philippa. "That could be it. Like that other one. Joan. Do you remember? The one who came to visit out of the blue?""No," said Lambert."Yes you do. Joan. She gave Mummy that hideous glass bowl." Philippa squinted at Fleur again. "Except this one looks too young. I like her hat. I wish I could wear little hats like that. But my head's too big. Or my hair isn't right. Or something."She tailed off. Lambert was staring down at a piece of paper and muttering. Philippa looked around the church again. So many people. All here for Mummy. It almost made her want to cry."Does my hat look all right?" she said suddenly."It looks great," said Lambert without looking up."It cost a bomb. I couldn't believe how much it cost. But then, when I put it on this morning, I thought . . .""Philippa!" hissed Lambert. "Can you shut up? I've got my reading to think about!""Oh yes. Yes, of course you have."Philippa looked down, chastened. And once again she felt a little pinprick of hurt. No-one had asked her to do a reading. Lambert was doing one, and so was her little brother Antony, but all she had to do was sit still in her hat. And she couldn't even do that very well."When I die," she said suddenly, "I want everyone to do a reading at my memorial service. You, and Antony, and Gillian, and all our children . . .""If we have any," said Lambert, not looking up."If we have any," echoed Philippa morosely. She looked around at the sea of black hats. "I might die before we have any children, mightn't I? I mean, we don't know when we're going to die, do we? I could die tomorrow." She broke off, overcome by the thought of herself in a coffin, looking pale and waxy and romantic, surrounded by weeping mourners. Her eyes began to prickle. "I could die tomorrow. And then it would be . . .""Shut up," said Lambert, putting away his piece of paper. He stretched his hand down out of sight and casually pinched Philippa's fleshy calf. "You're talking rubbish," he murmured. "What are you talking?"Philippa was silent. Lambert's fingers gradually tightened on her skin, until suddenly they nipped so viciously that she gave a sharp intake of breath."I'm talking rubbish," she said, in a quick, low voice."Good girl," said Lambert. He released his fingers. "Now, sit up straight and get a grip.""I'm sorry," said Philippa breathlessly. "It's just a bit . . . overwhelming. There are so many people here. I didn't know Mummy had all these friends.""Your mother was a very popular lady," said Lambert. "Everyone loved her."And no-one loves me, Philippa felt like saying. But instead, she prodded helplessly at her hat and tugged a few locks of wispy hair out from under the severe black brim, so that by the time she stood up for the first hymn, she looked even worse than before.THE GATECRASHER. Copyright © 2009 by Madeleine Wickham.

Editorial Reviews

"Wickham creates memorable characters who are as unpredictable and multifaceted as they are stylish. Jolly fun." -Publishers Weekly

"[A] witty and deeply biting novel of modern manners and morals." -Library Journal

"[Wickham is] an observant and engaging storyteller." -Kirkus Reviews

"Wickham knows her characters well and the story never drags... an enjoyable read." -Booklist