Sophie Kinsella

From Publishers Weekly...

Samantha Sweeting, the 29-year-old heroine of Kinsella's latest confection (after Shopaholic Sister), is on the verge of partnership at the prestigious London law firm Carter Spink—the Holy Grail of her entire workaholic life. But when she finds she has made a terrible, costly mistake just before the partnership decision, she's terrified of being fired. In a fog, she stumbles out of the building and onto the nearest train, which drops her in the countryside, where she wanders to a stately home. The nouveau riche lady of the house mistakes her for the new housekeeper—and Samantha is too astonished to correct her. Numb and unable to face returning to London, Samantha tries to master the finer points of laundry, cooking and cleaning. She discovers that the slow life, her pompous but good-hearted employers and the attentions of the handsome gardener, Nathaniel, suit her just fine. But her past is hard to escape, and when she discovers a terrible secret about her firm—and when the media learns that the former legal star is scrubbing toilets for a living—her life becomes more complicated than ever.

NOTE: This Spoiler was sent in by Stephanie

The book begins with 29 year old Samantha Sweeting, a high-powered lawyer at the law firm Carter Spink in London, trying and failing to take a few hours off work to go to a spa, but even there she can't leave work behind, sneaking in a cell phone and Blackberry.  The spa trip is a birthday gift from Samantha's friend, who wants her to slow down and have a life outside her work, but Samantha is so obsessed with making partner that she doesn't have time for true relationships or interests outside her job.  Her family, particularly her mother, pressures her to work harder because they believe that career is all that matters, so much so that neither Samantha's brother nor her mother come to her birthday dinner; instead, they send gift baskets and call her on her cell phone from their offices, leaving her alone in a restaurant.  The day after the disastrous birthday, Samantha finds out that she has made partner at Carter Spink, and is congratulated by all her colleagues.  But then Samantha discovers she has failed to register an important file, leaving a loan unprotected.  This file seems to have mysteriously appeared on her desk, although since it is so messy she's not sure whether she's seen it before or not.  Panicked as she knows she had lost the firm millions and her new partnership will be lost, she wanders out of her office and through London, finally boarding a train and riding until she can't go any further.  She gets off the train at a little village in the English countryside, where she decides to ask to use the phone at the first house she comes to, a large estate.  The nouveau riche couple, Eddie and Trish, who live there mistake her for the latest applicant for their housekeeper, and Samantha is too befuddled to correct them.  She decides to stay the night and explain the next morning, but after calling her office she is advised by Arnold, one of the senior partners who she has always liked, to stay away from Carter Spink until he can sort things out about the terrible mistake.

Samantha suffers a series of comic mishaps as she tries to bluff her way through housekeeping.  Trish and Eddie remain clueless, but she can't fool the estate's gardener, the incredibly attractive Nathaniel.  After Samantha hears from Arnold that her job is gone for good, she decides that she likes her new quiet life and wants to learn how to be a real housekeeper.  Nathaniel mistakenly assumes that Samantha is on the run from an abusive relationship as she is so edgy and nervous at first, and enlists his mother to teach Samantha how to cook and clean.  Samantha quickly picks up housekeeping as she is very smart and has a photographic memory, which nearly gives her away when she does some very difficult math in her head for Eddie and gives him some legal advice.  Things are made more difficult when Trish and Eddie's niece Melissa comes to visit--she is studying law and want to be an intern at Carter Spink.  She is very rude and condescending to Samantha because she thinks she is uneducated.  Meanwhile, Samantha has embarked on a relationship with Nathaniel, who runs a pub in the village (his gardening is part-time work), but wants to open his own nursery.  Although Samantha is enjoying her new slow life, she returns to London when she discovers that there is a family connection between senior partner Arnold and the people who made millions off the loan error.  Suspecting that Arnold has set her up by putting the file on her messy desk knowing that she wouldn't be sure when it had been left there, and is planning to pocket all the money, she crashes his retirement party at her old office but everyone refuses to believe her story, especially when they find out she is no longer working as a lawyer.  Only the other senior partner is willing to listen and eventually the scandal is uncovered through an investigation.  Carter Spink invites Samantha back as a full partner, but she refuses because she has realized how empty her old life was.  This leads to the media finding out that former top lawyer Samantha Sweeting has been "scrubbing toilets" and a media circus ensues, with reporters camped out outside Trish and Eddie's home, filming her every move.  Samantha eventually is convinced by everyone around her that she can't throw away such a great opportunity and leaves for London, unwillingly breaking up with Nathaniel, who is hurt that she didn't tell him the truth about her former life and believes that she will never come back once she goes back to her old career.  However, after spending the train ride back surrounded by workaholics, she decides that what she really wants is to go back to Nathaniel and a balanced life.  He has left town to start his nursery, and the book ends with Samantha getting off the train and finding Nathaniel.