I Owe You One: A Novel by Sophie KinsellaI Owe You One: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella

I Owe You One: A Novel

bySophie Kinsella

Hardcover | February 5, 2019

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“A smart lesson wrapped in a gem of a novel.”—Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella comes an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything.


Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” And since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will?

It’s simply not in Fixie’s nature to say no to people. So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, she not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, an investment manager, scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

But then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life, and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. As always, she wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. No sooner has Seb agreed than the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?

Advance praise for I Owe You One

“This book is a shot of pure joy!”—Jenny Colgan, author of The Bookshop on the Corner

“A delightful, irresistible romp.”Booklist

“[A] fun story about family, loyalty, and taking charge of your own life . . . Kinsella creates a charming story full of quirky characters and laugh-out-loud dialogue. . . . [Her] many fans will devour this warm and hilarious read.”Kirkus Reviews

I Owe You One is another impossibly delightful story by Sophie Kinsella, a must-read for her die-hard fans and new readers alike.”PopSugar, “24 of the Best New Books Coming Out This Winter”
Sophie Kinsella is the author of the bestselling Shopaholic series as well as the novels Can You Keep a Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, My Not So Perfect Life, and, most recently, Surprise Me. She lives in the UK with her family.
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Title:I Owe You One: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:448 pages, 8.54 × 5.79 × 1.38 inPublished:February 5, 2019Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1524799017

ISBN - 13:9781524799014

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Easy read! I couldn't put this book down because it's THAT good!!
Date published: 2019-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love new characters - Kinsella fun! A fresh new rom-c0m from British author Sophie Kinsella that left a smile on my face. The Farr Family Household Store has survived the early death of its founder but will it survive the health scare fueled absence of Joanne, mother of Jake, Nicole and 27 Y.O. Fixie when they take over for a few months? Sibling dynamics play out well in this story and at times I wanted to throttle Fixie's "Family First" ideology. Wonderful characters with a potential of a Happy Ever After (HEA) ending. I volunteered to read an ARC through Net Galley.
Date published: 2019-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An all-around entertaining read! This is my first 5-star book of 2019! It’s not a big surprise that Sophie Kinsella was able to hit the mark. I started and finished this book with a big smile on my face. I Owe You One was just what I was looking for. It had all of the wit, quirky characters, and heart that I have come to expect from this author. It was simply a delightful and charming reading experience. I loved Fixie Farr. I was in her corner from the get-go, and I delighted in cheering her on. She was flawed, and she owned her flaws. She was a well-intentioned, caring, slightly obsessive problem solver. If there was an issue that needed fixing, Fixie was your girl. Her family, and the family store were of utmost importance to her. She took great pride in the store that her mother and late father nurtured. She had her finger on the pulse of her community, she knew what the customers wanted/needed, and she strove to provide it for them. Unfortunately, her brother and sister were less in-tune with the family business and neighborhood, trying their best to either make it into a high end shop or a spa-like, self-help boutique. Sophie Kinsella knows how to create the most interesting cast of characters. I couldn’t help but be completely entertained and amused by them. Did I like them all? Absolutely not, and I’m certain that I wasn’t supposed to. Some of them were written with so few (if any) redeemable qualities that it would be impossible for a reader to like or sympathize with them. Between Fixie’s siblings, the employees, friends/acquaintances and love interests, this book was overflowing with personality. Amid all of the drama surrounding the family and the business, there is a love story that emerges. While it’s not the main focus of the book, it was definitely a captivating, original storyline that kept my attention. From their initial introduction to their continued run-ins, there was just something magnetic about the relationship. I Owe You One was everything that I had hoped it would be. This was just an all-around entertaining read!
Date published: 2019-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sophie Kinsella's Best Yet! I've loved some of Sophie Kinsella's books, but others (especially the Shopaholic books) were just too silly for my tastes. But I Owe You One is, by far, the best of Sophie's books that I've read so far. I found Becky in the Shopaholic books to be so immature that she verged on annoying and some of Sophie's other characters were so cringeworthy as I could see their disasters coming a mile away while they just kept puttering along, oblivious to so many things that were SO OBVIOUS. In I Owe You One, our main character still had a lot of growing up to do, but it was in a completely believable way and I found myself rooting for her growth and self-awareness as the storyline progressed. She still had some silliness that is typical in Sophie's protagonists, but not unbearably so. Fixie is true to her name by being a person who always has to fix things. After an unexpected moment of heroism, a stranger in a café says he owes her one. This "IOU" forms the basis for how the storyline unfurls, and I won't say anything more for fear of spoilers! It was a whirlwind ride filled with memorable characters, moments that made me giggle and a few "awwww" moments too. Expect to see this one tucked into more than a few beach bags this summer! Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2019-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Owe You One I'm going to be bold and say that Kinsella has filled the impossibly huge shoes she's left and written her best one yet! The humour she does so well is on point, the premise adorable and surprising, and the character development is unreal! Prepare your emotions for an onslaught.
Date published: 2019-01-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Mini review on GR! Mini review: DNF Trigger warning: Abuse of power and authority. Making someone feel small. Ceiling falling on top off someone’s head. I received this E-ARC via Random House Publishing Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was really looking forward to reading this! I have enjoyed Kinsella’s books in the past. Unfortunately I didn’t like it. I really liked Fixie! I simply didn’t care for anyone else. Nor did I care for the story. As I read on I started to get bored and was pulled out of the story. This was a personal thing. I still recommend.
Date published: 2019-01-02

Read from the Book

OneThe trouble with me is, I can’t let things go. They bug me. I see problems and I want to fix them, right here, right now. My nickname isn’t Fixie for nothing.I mean, this can be a good thing. For example, at my best friend Hannah’s wedding, I got to the reception and instantly saw that only half the tables had flowers. I ran around sorting it before the rest of the guests arrived, and in her speech, Hannah thanked me for dealing with “Flowergate.” So that was OK.On the other hand, there was the time I brushed a piece of fluff off the leg of a woman sitting next to me by the pool at a spa day. I was just trying to be helpful. Only it turned out it wasn’t a piece of fluff; it was a pubic hair growing halfway down her thigh. And then I made things worse by saying, “Sorry! I thought that was a piece of fluff,” and she went kind of purple, and two nearby women turned to look. . . .I shouldn’t have said anything. I see that now.Anyway. So this is my quirk. This is my flaw. Things bug me. And right now the thing that’s bugging me is a Coke can. It’s been left on the top shelf of the leisure section of our shop, in front of a chessboard propped up for display. Not only that, the chessboard is covered with a brown stain. Obviously someone’s opened the can or dumped it down too hard and it’s splattered everywhere and they haven’t cleared it up. Who?As I look around the shop with narrowed eyes, I fully suspect Greg, our senior assistant. Greg drinks some kind of beverage all day long. If he’s not clutching a can, it’s noxious filter coffee in an insulated cup decorated with camouflage and webbing, as though he’s in the army, not working in a household store in Acton. He’s always leaving it about the place, or even thrusting it at customers and saying, “Hold this a mo,” while he gets a saucepan down off the display for them. I’ve told him not to.Anyway. Not the time for recriminations. Whoever dumped that Coke can (Greg, definitely Greg), it’s caused a nasty stain, just when our important visitors are about to arrive.And, yes, I know it’s on a high shelf. I know it’s not obvious. I know most people would shrug it off. They’d say: “It’s not a big deal. Let’s get some perspective.”I’ve never been great at perspective.I’m trying hard not to look at it but to focus instead on the rest of the shop, which looks gleamingly clean. A little shambolic, maybe, but then, that’s the style of our all-purpose family shop. (Family-owned since 1985, it says on our window.) We stock a lot of different items, from knives to aprons to candlesticks, and they all need to go somewhere.I suddenly catch sight of an old man in a mac in the kitchen section. He’s reaching with a shaking hand for a plain white mug, and I hurry over to get it for him.“Here you are,” I say with a friendly smile. “I can take that to the till for you. Do you need any more mugs? Or can I help you with anything else?”“No, thank you, love,” he says in a quavering voice. “I only need the one mug.”“Is white your favorite color?” I gently press, because there’s something so poignant about buying one plain white mug that I can’t bear it.“Well.” His gaze roams doubtfully over the display. “I do like a brown mug.”“This one maybe?” I retrieve a brown earthenware mug that he probably discounted because it was too far out of reach. It’s solid, with a nice big handle. It looks like a cozy fireside mug.The man’s eyes light up, and I think, I knew it. When your life is restricted, something like a mug choice becomes huge.“It’s a pound more expensive,” I tell him. “It’s £4.99. Is that OK?”Because you never take anything for granted. You never assume. Dad taught me that.“That’s fine, love.” He smiles back. “That’s fine.”“Great! Well, come this way. . . .”I lead him carefully down the narrow aisle, keeping my eyes fixed on danger points. Which isn’t quite the selfless gesture it might seem—this man is a knocker-overer. You can tell as soon as you lay eyes on him. Trembling hands, uncertain gaze, shabby old trolley that he’s pulling behind him . . . all the signs of a classic knocker-overer. And the last thing I need is a floor full of smashed crockery. Not with Jake’s visitors arriving any moment.I smile brightly at the man, hiding my innermost thoughts, although the very word Jake passing through my brain has made my stomach clench with nerves. It always happens. I think Jake and my stomach clenches. I’m used to it by now, although I don’t know if it’s normal. I don’t know how other people feel about their siblings. My best friend, Hannah, hasn’t got any, and it’s not the kind of question you ask random people, is it? “How do your siblings make you feel? Kind of gnawed-up and anxious and wary?” But that’s definitely how my brother, Jake, makes me feel. Nicole doesn’t make me feel anxious, but she does make me feel gnawed-up and, quite often, like hitting something.To sum up, neither of them makes me feel good.Maybe it’s because both of them are older than me and were tough acts to follow. When I started at secondary school, aged eleven, Jake was sixteen and the star of the football team. Nicole was fifteen, stunningly beautiful, and had been scouted as a model. Everyone in the school wanted to be her friend. People would say to me, in awed tones, “Is Jake Farr your brother? Is Nicole Farr your sister?”Nicole was as drifty and vague then as she is now, but Jake dominated everything. He was focused. Bright-eyed. Quick to anger. I’ll always remember the time he got in a row with Mum and went and kicked a can around the street outside, shouting swear words into the night sky. I watched him from an upstairs window, gripped and a bit terrified. I’m twenty-seven now, but you never really leave your inner eleven-year-old, do you?And of course there are other reasons for me to feel rubbish around Jake. Tangible reasons. Financial reasons.Which I will not think about now. Instead, I smile at the old man, trying to make him feel that I have all the time in the world. Like Dad would have done.Morag rings up the price and the man gets out an old leather coin purse.“Fifty . . .” I hear him saying as he peers at a coin. “Is that a fifty-pence piece?”“Let’s have a look, love,” says Morag in her reassuring way. Morag’s been with us for seven years. She was a customer first and applied when she saw an ad pinned up on a noticeboard. Now she’s assistant manager and does all the buying for greeting cards—she has a brilliant eye. “No, that’s a ten-pence,” she says kindly to the old man. “Have you got another pound coin in there?”My eyes swivel up to the Coke can and stained chessboard again. It doesn’t matter, I tell myself. There isn’t time to sort it now. And the visitors won’t notice it. They’re coming to show us their range of olive oils, not inspect the place. Just ignore it, Fixie.Ignore it.Oh God, but I can’t. It’s driving me nuts.My eye keeps flicking upward to it. My fingers are doing that thing they do whenever I’m desperate to fix something, when some situation or other is driving me mad. They drum each other feverishly. And my feet do a weird stepping motion: forward-across-back, forward-across-back.I’ve been like this since I was a little kid. It’s bigger than me. I know it would be mad to drag a ladder out, get a bucket and water, and clean the stain up, when the visitors might arrive at any moment. I know this.“Greg!” As he appears from behind the glassware section, my voice shoots out before I can stop it. “Quick! Get a stepladder. I need to clean up that stain.”Greg looks up to where I’m pointing and gives a guilty jump as he sees the Coke can.“That wasn’t me,” he says at once. “It definitely wasn’t me.” Then he pauses before adding, “I mean, if it was, I didn’t notice.”The thing about Greg is, he’s very loyal to the shop and he works really long hours, so I forgive him quite a lot.“Doesn’t matter who it was,” I say briskly. “Let’s just get rid of it.”“OK,” Greg says, as though digesting this. “Yeah. But aren’t those people about to arrive?”“Yes, which is why we need to be quick. We need to hurry.”“OK,” says Greg again, not moving a muscle. “Yeah. Got you. Where’s Jake?”This is a very good question. Jake is the one who met these olive-oil people in the first place. In a bar, apparently. He’s the one who set up this meeting. And here he isn’t.But family loyalty keeps me from saying any of this aloud. Family loyalty is a big thing in my life. Maybe the biggest thing. Some people hear the Lord Jesus guiding them; I hear my dad, before he died, saying in his East End accent: Family is it, Fixie. Family is what drives us. Family is everything.Family loyalty is basically our religion.“He’s always landing you in it, Jake is,” Greg mutters. “You never know when he’s going to turn up. Can’t rely on him. We’re short-staffed today too, what with your mum taking the day off.”All of this might be true, but I can hear Dad’s voice in my head again: Family first, Fixie. Protect the family in public. Have it out with them later, in private.“Jake does his own hours,” I remind Greg. “It’s all agreed.”All of us Farrs work in the shop—Mum, me, Jake, and Nicole—but only Mum and I are full-time. Jake calls himself our “consultant.” He has another business of his own and he’s doing an MBA online, and he pops in when he can. And Nicole is doing a yoga-instructor course Monday to Friday, so she can only come in at weekends. Which she does sometimes.“I expect he’s on his way,” I add briskly. “Anyway, we’ve just got to deal with it. Come on! Ladder!”As Greg drags a stepladder across the shop floor, I hurry to our back room and run some hot water into a bucket. I just need to dash up the ladder, wipe the stain away, grab the can, jump down, and clear everything before the visitors arrive. Easy.The leisure section is a bit incongruous, surrounded as it is by tea towels and jam-making kits. But it was Dad who set it up that way, so we’ve never changed it. Dad loved a good board game. He always said board games are as essential to a household as spoons. Customers would come in for a kettle and leave with Monopoly too.And ever since he died, nine years ago now, we’ve tried to keep the shop just as he created it. We still sell licorice allsorts. We still have a tiny hardware section. And we still stock the leisure section with games, balls, and water guns.The thing about Dad was, he could sell anything to anyone. He was a charmer. But not a flashy, dishonest charmer; a genuine charmer. He believed in every product he sold. He wanted to make people happy. He did make people happy. He created a community in this little corner of West London (he called himself an “immigrant,” being East End born), and it’s still going. Even if the customers who really knew Dad are fewer every year.“OK,” I say, hurrying out to the shop floor with the bucket. “This won’t take a sec.”I dash up the steps of the ladder and start scrubbing at the brown stain. I can see Morag below me, demonstrating a paring knife to a customer, and I resist the urge to join in the conversation. I know about knives; I’ve done chef training. But you can’t be everywhere at once, and—“They’re here,” announces Greg. “There’s a car pulling into the parking space.”It was Jake who insisted we reserve our only parking spot for these olive-oil people. They’ll have asked, “Do you have parking?” and he won’t have wanted to say, “Only one space,” because he’s pretentious that way, so he’ll have said airily, “Of course!” as though we’ve got an underground vault.“No problem,” I say breathlessly. “I’m done. All good.”I dump the cloth and the Coke can into the bucket and swiftly start descending. There. That took no time, and now it won’t bug me and—“Careful on that ladder.”I hear Greg’s voice below, but he’s always regaling us with stupid health-and-safety rules he’s read online, so I don’t alter my step or my pace until he shouts, “Stop!” sounding genuinely alarmed.“Fixie!” Stacey yells from the till. She’s another of our sales assistants and you can’t miss her piercing nasal voice. “Look out!”As my head whips round, it takes me a moment to comprehend what I’ve done. I’ve snagged my sleeve on a netball hoop, which has caught on the handle of a massive tub of bouncy balls. And now it’s tipping off the shelf . . . there’s nothing I can do to stop it, shit . . .“Oh my God!”I lift my spare hand to protect myself from a deluge of little rubber balls. They’re bouncing on my head, my shoulders, all over the shop. How come we have so many of the bloody things, anyway?As I reach the bottom of the ladder, I look around in horror. It’s a miracle that nothing’s been smashed. Even so, the floor is a carpet of bouncy balls.“Quick!” I instruct Greg and Stacey. “Teamwork! Pick them up! I’ll go and head off the visitors.”As I hurry toward the door, Greg and Stacey don’t look anything like a team—in fact, they look like an anti-team. They keep bumping into each other and cursing. Greg is hastily stuffing balls down his shirtfront and in his trouser pockets and I yell, “Put them back in the tub!”“I didn’t even notice that Coke stain,” volunteers Stacey as I pass, with one of her shrugs. “You should have left it.”“Is that helpful?” I want to retort. But I don’t. For a start, Stacey’s a good worker and worth keeping on side. You just have to deal with what Mum and I call the SIMs (Stacey’s Inappropriate Moments).But of course the real reason I say nothing is that she’s right. I should have left it. I just can’t help fixing things. It’s my flaw. It’s who I am.

Editorial Reviews

“I love the opportunity to escape with a Sophie Kinsella book, and I Owe You One came just when I needed it. Fixie’s story is one of missed cues, mistakes, and the realization that you can’t fix someone else’s mess until you fix your own—a smart lesson wrapped in a gem of a novel.”—Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things“This book is a shot of pure joy!”—Jenny Colgan, author of The Bookshop on the Corner“A delightful, irresistible romp.”—Booklist “[A] fun story about family, loyalty, and taking charge of your own life . . . Kinsella creates a charming story full of quirky characters and laugh-out-loud dialogue. . . . [Her] many fans will devour this warm and hilarious read.”—Kirkus Reviews“I Owe You One is another impossibly delightful story by Sophie Kinsella, a must-read for her die-hard fans and new readers alike.”—PopSugar, “24 of the Best New Books Coming Out This Winter”“Kinsella offers another winning novel. . . . [Her] reliable mix of humor and spot-on insights into both romantic and familial relationships adds spice as Fixie finally learns to take charge and speak her mind, making this a surefire hit for Kinsella’s fans.”—Publishers Weekly