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Serena Mackesy started at the Independent as a temp, and has now been a journalist for over ten years. Her bestselling first novel, The Temp was published by Arrow in 1999 to great critical acclaim. She lives in London.
Do not be deceived by this happy-looking cover for this is actually quite a dark tale of modern manners. Upper-crust Brit marries Australian back-packer and takes her home to a world she thought didnâ€™t exist. Itâ€™s all delicious fun with a domineering terror of a mother-in-law and much protocol to learn until â€¦Comparison: Julian Fellows, Victoria Clayton, Madeleine Wickham.Similar this month: Sarah Challis, Sophie Kinsella.
'You wouldn't take on a cleaner without checking out their references. What possessed you to do it with a husband?' When Mel, an Australian abroad, falls in love with Rufus, the archetypal Englishman, she has no idea what she's letting herself in for. But it is only when their azure Mediterranean courtship is transported to the green fields of England that Melody's doubts set in. For Rufus is heir to the thousand-year-old Bourton Allhallows estate, and Melody is soon painfully aware that, in his family's eyes, an antipodean backpacker is far from the ideal wife. Trapped in a way of life she assumed had long vanished - awash in a stew of formal meals, unhampered snobbery, incomprehensible rules and crumbling masonry - Melody begins to fear for the future of her marriage. And when ancient and not-so-ancient secrets begin to emerge, she faces the disturbing realization that the stakes are far, far higher than she'd imagined ...
Saints, sinners, and the mere mortals in between What do you need to be a saint these days? Ambition, determination and good PR. But what do you do if your mother's a saint and you just want to be human? Anna and Harriet are about to find out. Anna and Harriet share a burden: hellishly saintly mothers. So when they meet, initial loathing turns swiftly to recognition and firm friendship. Happily settled in a chaotic flat and armed with a wicked sense of humour, they set out to paint the town red. And for a while life goes swimmingly. But when they tread on one toe too many, they find that they have only their worst instincts - and each other - to rely on. Be good. And if you can't be good, be careful...
We all know how it works: first you go to School, then you go to University, and then you enter Real Life. And that's the important bit. Real Life is about achievement, recognition, choices. It's about a boss who trusts you, a wardrobe that suits you, friends who support you and a relationship that fulfils you. It`s a mobile phone, an expense account, a company car and a place to park it. Happily Ever After. Unforunately, Real Life isn't working that way for The Temp. She's managed the university bit, but the job, the dough and the happily-ever-after seem harder than anybody ever told her. Living in Stockwell while she moves through a series of jobs ranging from the horrifying mindless to the bemusingly witless to the simply extraordinary, she realises that something isn't right. Who cares about a boss who trusts you? She'd settle for a boss who knows her name. This can't be Real Life, can it? Building on the success of her INDEPENDENT column, Serena Mackesy has created a wonderfully witty, acerbic expose of office anthropology and a genuinely moving story about the early-twenties doldrums.