“Goodbye, Jimmy Choo” introduces us to Maddy and Izzie, two London mums adjusting to lives in rural Ringford, then takes us on their accidental journey into the public eye.

Together the new friends cook up an all-natural healing balm from an old family recipe book Maddy finds. The tale of their herbal cream would play best in the media if its creators were two naturalistic country mothers, their publicist advises them. So nevermind Maddy’s penchant for finer things and both of their distaste for rural life, they come onto the scene as just that: organic-only, home-garden keeping proponents of the simple life.

The book would work better if Annie Ashworth and Meg Sanders, who cowrote this book under the single pseudonym, built more three-dimensional women to cope with maintaining a one-dimensional public image. They’re not bad, but for much of the book they’re difficult to tell apart; it’s as though the authors successfully created one well-developed character and split her across two protagonists.

That said, they bond over tragedy in Maddy’s life and tumult in Izzy’s marriage, illustrating a more true-to-life friendship than most chick lit achieves.

The media storm around their holistic product becomes a story of a cultural rebuff of chemistry-dependent cosmetics that mirrors real shifts in the industry. The women juggle their families, finances and new fame thoughtfully. Add a sexy French cousin, Jean Luc, for readers to have a crush on and the world in “Goodbye, Jimmy Choo” becomes a fulfilling place to spend time. I’d argue some slow stretches could be scrapped, but mostly the story entertains.

There’s one thing, one detail that begs discussion but comes at the end and would be an indefensible spoiler for a review site. So my recommendation is to read this book with a friend so that at the end you can take solace in someone saying with you, “What was that about?”

I’m happy to tell you what Greener Planet’s 2006 Shiraz Merlot Cabernet is all about, because there’s no spoiling the certified-organic wine. It’s green-living approved, affordable (you can find it at Sam’s Club) and, like Cousin Jean Luc, French! It tastes like a red-fruit-rich cabernet with earthy notes that don’t overwhelm. The wine’s a hit whether you kick up Jimmy Choos or Sustainable Sandals to read this one.

 

xx,

Chardonnay