Beware Secrets

At the Wedding Book Cover At the Wedding
Matt Dunn
women's fiction, love sex and marriage, humour
Lake Union Publishing
2018-09
302

Livia's been planning her wedding to Jed for ages. Now, at the venue in beautiful Barcelona, with her dress pressed and the guests all on their way, she's only left one tiny detail until the last minute: letting the groom know he's about to get hitched. But as far as Jed's concerned, they've been bumping along just fine for ten years and even have a baby on the way, so why spoil things with an 'I do'? Especially when he'd really rather not. Meanwhile the guests are arriving with plenty of baggage of their own. Fading reality star Liam's still on the lookout for a plus-one; Rachel's has refused to come--and dumped her into the bargain; and divorcee Patrick's date is more of the 'mid-life crisis' variety. But as the ceremony approaches, and with no sign of Jed, there's only one thing on all of their minds: will there be a bride and groom at the wedding?

A fun novel with two storylines intertwined: the surprise wedding and the football mad partner who takes his girlfriend for granted.

Now, as this novel was written by a bloke you can tell he knows the football mad personage – and even the potential reaction of a man who thought all was well in his world being thrust into a secret wedding.

So we have the story of the woman, with whom I can empathise, who wants to get married before she gives birth – which is getting ever more imminent – and her partner isn’t taking the hints.

So she organises a secret proposal and wedding in Barcelona with even manages to bring along some guests without him being aware. One of whom has a partner who is totally football obsessed. And again, very unaware of what is going on in her mind.

Nicely written with enough humour and (stock) characters that you recognise.

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Where is she? Who is she?

My Name is Anna Book Cover My Name is Anna
Lizzy Barber
mystery, thriller, literary fiction
Century
(10 Jan. 2019)

When your whole life is a lie, can you trust anyone? Even yourself?

ANNA has always been taught by her mother that cleanliness and purity are the path to God; that her heart's desire to visit Astroland, Florida’s biggest theme park, is ungodly.

But it’s her eighteenth birthday, and Anna’s feeling rebellious. But on arrival at Astroland, everything feels familiar. Almost like she’s been there before…

ROSIE has grown up in the shadow of a missing sister she barely remembers. Her parents’ relationship has been fractured by fifteen years of searching for their daughter – abducted at Astroland as an infant.

Now Rosie is determined to uncover the truth, no matter how painful it is, before it tears what’s left of her family apart…

Beautifully told from the different teenage girls’ perspectives.

The narrative to this story is told in two voices – Anna and Rosie.
Anna lives with her mother in small town Florida. Her mother is a cleanliness fanatic – cleanliness of the heart, mind and body, also very frugal and constantly praying.
Rosie lives in the UK and lost her elder sister in a Florida amusement park when she was a baby. Her sister was stolen in some manner and may have been killed but no-one knows the real circumstances behind her abduction.
The 15th anniversary of the abduction rolls around and Rosie finds herself increasingly frustrated at not knowing the truth, whilst Anna wants to find her father and to discover who is sending her messages.
Slowly the story explores the lives of these two girls, holding the reader in suspense. The power of cults is also explored through the story.

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Irish Women are ….

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling Book Cover Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling
Emer McLysaght; Sarah Bree
General Fiction (Adult) , Women's Fiction
Penguin UK - Michael Joseph
03 May 2018

Twenty-something Aisling - that's pronounced Ashling - is the sensible sort.

She wears kitten heels for the sake of her arches.

And a great night out is knowing the immersion heater at home is securely switched off.

In other words, country girl Aisling likes to play it safe in the big city.

But that hasn't helped get her man John to hurry up and pop the question.

Throwing caution to the wind an impatient Aisling tries to encourage him, only for her whole life to come crashing down.

Now no umbrella, electric blanket, nor sensibly sized heel can save her.

What's a complete Aisling to do?

I actually liked this book, even though I am not in general a fan of Irish fiction that is full of a. words that mean nothing to me; and b: humour that is not quite as I understand it.

But I managed to understand, after a few chapters, what an ‘Aisling’ was. No, not just an Irish name – which is very popular, but an Irish girl’s name for a girl from the hicks – the backwoods – who doesn’t understand city ways and doesn’t dress in a smart city manner and generally is a country hick.

But if you like your female characters to be funny and strong and full of life then this is the book for you. If you are not Irish you might struggle over some of the phrases and behaviours and references, but don’t let that put you off. There is a lot here to entertain and learn from.

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Cold Water Swimming

The Lido Book Cover The Lido
Libby Page
swimming, literary fiction, romantic humour
Orion
(19 April 2018)

'THE LIDO is a joyous and uplifting debut - a testament to kindness and friendship and all those values society must hold dear' SARAH WINMAN, author of When God Was a Rabbit and Tin Man

Meet Rosemary, 86, and Kate, 26: dreamers, campaigners, outdoor swimmers...

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, but everything she knows is changing. Only the local lido, where she swims every day, remains a constant reminder of the past and her beloved husband George.

Kate has just moved and feels adrift in a city that is too big for her. She's on the bottom rung of her career as a local journalist, and is determined to make something of it.

So when the lido is threatened with closure, Kate knows this story could be her chance to shine. But for Rosemary, it could be the end of everything. Together they are determined to make a stand, and to prove that the pool is more than just a place to swim - it is the heart of the community.

The Lido is an uplifting novel about the importance of friendship, the value of community, and how
ordinary people can protect the things they love.

'A standout hymn to female friendship and the power of collective action' Stylist

'Feel-good and uplifting, this charming novel is full of heart' Lucy Diamond

'Did I #lovethelido? So much my heart broke a little turning the last page. A stunning debut' Clare Mackintosh

Brrrr…

My grandkids swim in an outdoor pool, I doubt it is heated, but I know their mother sits and watches wrapped in several blankets with a hot drink and a hot water bottle! Me – I like my water 30 degrees at least  – above permitted heat I know but…

So I maybe wouldn’t have joined the petition to keep the Lido open, not for me, but certainly there are lots of people who don’t mind the cold so maybe I would join for them. And for a Community Asset which should be kept of course!

I read a recent article by Libby Page who wrote of friendship. Across age, backgrounds and cultures. And the importance of community assets as meeting places to facilitate these friendships. without somewhere where everyone is welcomed, we are impoverished and the lesser for it.

This novel reminds us of the richness of a locality where feet traverse the soil and encounters with others is the norm.

I really must visit Brixton and the market!

 

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The babies that we never meet

The Idea of You Book Cover The Idea of You
Amanda Prowse
Womens' Literature, Women's Fiction, contemporary fiction
Lake Union Publishing
(21 Mar. 2017)

What if the one thing you want is the only thing you can’t have?

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?

We don’t cry enough for the babies we lose (in early pregnancy). I certainly didn’t.

For over 20 years I ignored them and then I went into a church and saw the lists of babies that had died in early childhood and it reminded me of the babies we had lost. And I cried. I felt so sad about those children who had not joined our family.

And this book reminded me of those losses and I cried again not just for me, but for the central characters too. I empathised too much perhaps?

This is a book that starts as a second chance romance and slowly becomes a story about the children we desire through our procreation imperative  which when not fulfilled drives so many into despair and depression.

And yet there is a happy ending that is not the case for all. The author’s own experience gives this story that extra edge that rings of truth telling.

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