I’m not very sure why it has taken me so long to get around to reading Cocktails for Three by Madeleine Wickham. It was the first book I remember seeing here in the States written under the fabulous Sophie Kinsella’s real name, so I naturally assumed it was her first. But after doing some research, it turns out it is her most recent novel under the name besides Sleeping Arrangements. Apparently, Wickham has not released any new books under this name in quite some time. Who knew? Published in 2001, this book, however, is still incredibly relevant eleven years later.
Cocktails for Three follows three best friends in London who meet regularly at a local pub for cocktails and catch-up. Maggie is a soon-to-be first-time mother who is completely clueless about what to expect when she’s expecting. She is the editor-in-chief at the magazine where the three main characters work, and thoroughly enjoys her high power job and responsibilities. But now she is about to trade in her career in the city, for life as a stay-at-home mother in the countryside. Everyone keeps telling her how lucky she is to be facing so much free time and attention for her daughter, so why does her heart not agree? (*I must admit–I was a little caught off guard by the amount of alcohol Maggie drinks at cocktail nights. She is, after all, a good seven or eight months pregnant! Maybe this is a more commonly accepted British thing? Any insight?)
Candice is a level-headed, single woman editor with a drive and determination to make something of herself, away from the fortune and notoriety she grew up around, and later found out was from an elaborate scam pulled over by her businessman father, illegally cheating hundreds of people out of millions of dollars. She wants nothing more than to live a simple life with a successful career and man of her dreams. But when a former classmate/victim of her father’s con reappears in her life, she finds herself living back in the past.
Roxanne is a drop-dead gorgeous travel reporter whose job consists of jet-setting to exotic locations, shacking up in luxury hotels, and flirting shamelessly with the locals. But all of the fabulous trips in the world cannot get her the one thing she wants above all else: for the love of her life to leave his wife and family and be with her once and for all. Maggie and Candice know about Roxanne’s mystery man, but are never aware of his true identity, until tragedy strikes and unexpectedly affects all three women.
Cocktails for Three intertwines the problems and lives of each character in the way that only true friendship can. Wickham writes a fantastically honest account of the ups and downs of friendships and paints her characters with such striking personality differences that somehow match up into the perfect trio. I personally identify easily with good-hearted Candice, but secretly long to be more like feisty Roxanne…sans the affair!
Be on the lookout in the next two weeks for a review of another Wickham book, A Desirable Residence, as well as a chance to win your own copy!