Irene Nylander lives in Finland with her evil mother in law and her distant husband. Alone on her 50th birthday, she hits an all time low when she spots her best friend and her husband canoodling in a restaurant. When she wishes that she was dead, she accidently inspires a practical joking angel to intervene and swap her body with famous and beautiful film star Mimi Kavanaugh.
When the two women wake up in each others bodies, they start off on a journey of self discovery and change that will lead them to do some real south searching and to the heart of who they really are and what they really want.
It’s a book of three strands: Mimi who acts really spoiled and has lost touch with what really matters, Irene, who loves being in a slimmer body but immediately starts eating and making the same mistakes, and Aaron, the angel whose actions upset the politics of heaven. It’s a fairly light-hearted story, a pleasure to read as it takes in the beautiful but very different landscapes of Italy and Finland, and has a bit of glitz and romance thrown in. But don’t let that make you think that this book doesn’t also have depth, it does. Both women are drawn to helping others, but each has been drawn away from this passion, and must find their way back to it. Immigration, loss, betrayal, loss of self, loneliness are all explored in this book.
I really like Katarina West’s writing style. She has a gentle sense of humour and compassion, which winds itself all the way through this story, and though this is unabashedly chick lit, it’s also original. It has surprises along the way, and an interesting ending.
Read It If: you like women’s literature but want to try something a little different. Katarina West has a lovely way with words, and manages to be fun and deep at the same time.