CHRISTINA HOPKINSON

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The A-List Family (2014)

Twenty-three-year-old Anna's life hasn't exactly gone to plan. Despite a first-class degree from Oxford, she's struggled for employment, but then she's offered the opportunity to become a tutor to eight-year-old Antigone, super-bright daughter of A-list couple - actress Cally and director Sholto. Theirs is the picture-perfect family, or so it seems from the outside. But Anna soon learns that on the inside it's a very different story. I really enjoyed Hopkinson's approach with this story, which rather than focusing on the A-list couple themselves and the glamour and excess of their world, instead depicts their world as experienced by Anna, offering up a very different view. For me, however, the finale was rather absurd and the subplot with Janey - Cally and Sholto's PA - too distracting. It would have been nice to have seen more of Anna's love life and Antigone's story, too. But it is an undemanding and easy read nevertheless. (JC)


The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs (2011)

Working mother Mary is sick and tired of the mess in her house - and the fact that husband Joel seems oblivious to it. So just like she does star charts to get her young sons to behave, she creates one for her husband -a carefully devised Excel spreadsheet which counts up all his misdemeanours, with points off for good behaviour. In six months, Mary will decide: if his star chart proves he is an asset, he gets to stay. If not ... This is a hilarously funny insight into the battle of the sexes being waged on the domestic front across the world. Hopkinson nails perfectly the daily frustrations that can drive a wedge into long-term relationships. Read it if you're up to facing some of your own home truths.


IzobelBrannigan.com (2004)

aka Cyber Cinderella

What happens when you Google yourself and find someone has created a website dedicated to you? That's what faces PR girl Izobel and she is shaken by the idea that a secret admirer may be stalking her and have a sinister motive. She begins confronting her exes in a bid to find out which one might be responsible, while cute IT consultant Ivan examines the website's origins. You can check out the website for real at http://www.izobelbrannigan.com.


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