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The gatecrasher
Madeleine Wickham
Adult Fiction WICKHAM

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From Publishers' Weekly:

"Money is safety, darling," the delightfully wicked funeral crasher Fleur Daxeny advises her 13-year-old daughter after an almost perfect execution of her best skill: swindling wealthy widowers. In this modern-day novel of manners, Wickham's lively prose needles the British upper class with a mixture of suspense and wit. Armed with a closet full of designer black suits, the daily obituaries and a face that never betrays her 40 years, Fleur invades the funerals of the wealthy, enchantingly rich, grieving new widowers in need of a shoulder to cry on. She attends the memorial service of Emily Favour, whom she pretends was a long-lost acquaintance, and promptly lures the good-hearted Richard Favour into her web. Although his troubled daughter, Phillipa, and her crafty husband, Lambert, suspect serious gold digging, Fleur's beauty and charm dazzle them, and soon she's invited to live at the family estate in Surrey. What Fleur finds there is a gate-crasher's dream--a welcoming family, an accessible Gold Card and, after some snooping, a bank account worth millions. Even when Fleur's daughter, Zara, whom Fleur has neglected to mention, arrives unexpectedly from boarding school, the Favours make no fuss, welcoming the teen into the fold. As Fleur and Zara become comfortable with country club life, Fleur learns that she's not the only one scheming for Richard's money, and that Richard might not be as gullible as she thinks. But with Zara finally enjoying the stability of a real home, can Fleur leave so easily this time? Wickham (Swimming Pool Sunday) creates memorable characters who are as unpredictable and multifaceted as they are stylish. While the quick wrapup misses a cue, this novel is still jolly fun. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Fleur Daxeny is beautiful and sophisticated, with an appetite for comfort beyond her means. She also has a fine wardrobe of black designer dresses that she wears to the funerals of wealthy London women in hope of snaring their grieving husbands. Once captivated by her good looks and charm, these men provide her with money, a home, and an extravagant lifestyle for however long it takes her to stash a bit of cash and move on to the next. Such is the fate of Richard Favour. The ease with which Fleur moves into his life dazzles him. His late wife had been really rather dull, and everyone in his family seems to find Fleur most refreshing. But just as Richard proposes marriage, the unscrupulous Fleur gets bored and begins reading obituaries again. This is an often witty and deeply biting novel of modern manners and morals. Wickham's (Tennis Party) characters move with the studied grace of Jane Austen's upper class, and her plot is perfect for a made-for-TV movie. Readers will be both touched and entertained. Recommended for all public libraries.DSusan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Fleur Daxeny
Female
Age: 40
Single mother
Beautiful; sophisticated; swindles wealthy widowers.

Zara Daxeny
Female
Age: 13
Fleur's daughter.

Richard Favour
Male
Widower
Good-hearted; finds Fleur exciting.



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