May is International Chick Lit Month, and here at Chick Lit & Wine we want to kick-off the month with a bow to the queen of chick lit: Sophie Kinsella. We’re in love with her classics, from Twenties Girl to I’ve Got Your Number, but we’ve never paid homage to her pseudonym Madeleine Wickham for starting the career of one of the most loved chick lit authors of our time.
Her novel 40 Love was originally released in 1995 as The Tennis Party – the first book Sophie Kinsella ever wrote. At age 24, Sophie commuted to and from her career as a financial writer reading paperback after paperback. One fateful day she decided to have a go at writing something herself. The world will be forever grateful to her long commute.
In 40 Love, four couples descend upon the white house in the country for a weekend of mixed doubles: Patrick and Caroline, Stephen and Annie, Charles and Cressida, Don and Valerie. What begins as an innocuous – if not boring – weekend, quickly devolves as Patrick’s true intentions peek through.
The descriptions of the large country homes, vintage cathedrals, spraying sprinklers watering the lawns, and long, hot afternoons far from city life immediately transport readers from their sofas to the English countryside. Knowing glances, secretive pasts, and devious intentions lay the ground before the court sees its first serve of the weekend.
Kick-off the summer and celebrate International Chick Lit Month with this step back in time. Pair 40 Love with a crisp, aromatic white that will transport you to your own summer country getaway: Milbrandt Vineyards 2012 Viognier. I first sipped this Washington white while having lunch at Il Cane Rosso in the San Francisco Ferry Building overlooking the Bay, and can still feel the breeze in my hair as I close my eyes and re-live the first taste. The sweet peach flavor and orange blossom aromas will make you feel like you’re already wearing whites and ready to hit the courts, diving deep into the couples weekend of 40 Love and letting the webs of deceit unfurl.