The Secret Shopper’s Revenge by Kate Harrison (final thoughts)
Emily imagined that life in London would be all glamour – the perfect husband, the perfect little baby, and the perfect accessories from the perfect shops. Instead, mere months after the big move she finds herself a single mom living in a rundown neighborhood, and the sales assistants in those fancy shops only make her feel worse about it.
Sandie has given her life to create the perfect shopping experience. After years of hard work, proving her worth at the department store of her dreams, everything comes crashing down when she is framed for theft.
Grazia spent her life as a muse and support to her artist husband. But when he suddenly dies, she quickly finds out that Inspiration does not pay the bills.
All three women are pretty well out of options when they are recruited by the mysterious Charlie. They’re an unlikely team, but they turn out to be the perfect candidates for Charlie’s Secret Shopping Angles.
Before I go any further, let’s talk a little about the cover. Honestly, I was immediately drawn to it and it’s one of the main reasons I bought it. But after carrying it around for a few days, I began to feel it’s chick-lit-ness was a little too much. What you can’t see in this picture is that the ribbons framing the title are full of glitter. And they’re on the back as well. I was a little bit embarrassed to take it out of my bag on the train. While The Secret Shopper’s Revenge isn’t a super deep book, I don’t think it’s quite as fluffy as the cover makes it out to be. But hey, I’m proof that covers like this sell.
So, now let’s talk about the story. The point of view alternates between Emily, Sandie, and Grazie, each telling their story of how they came to be secret shoppers. Multiple POVs can be tricky, but are fantastic when they’re done right. Harrison pulls it off pretty well. Each of the women have their own unique voice, although there were a couple times where I couldn’t remember if I was reading Emily or Sandie. One thing I love about multiple POVs is watching the stories come together. This was one of my favourite aspects of The Secret Shopper’s Revenge. Each of the women start off being completely separate and even skeptical of the others, but slowly start opening up until their stories become intertwined.
And then there was the fun of shopping and catching sales assistants out. This provided for a lot great moments, many that I think only British chick lit can get away with. Oh how I love British chick lit! I liked, though, how Harrison balanced the frivolity of shopping with something more serious that each of the three women had to deal with. A nasty divorce, death of a loved one, unable to fulfill someone else’s expectations.
Even though The Secret Shopper’s Revenge had all these qualities that usually spell HIT with me, the overall effect was just okay. It really was a fun book, and would make a good vacation read, but it just wasn’t as great as I was hoping it would be. I enjoyed reading about their secret shopping escapades, but couldn’t become invested in any of the characters. I would, however, recommend this book to any fans of chick lit, especially British chick lit.
My rating: 7/10