Book Review: The Wives (or “When Life Gives You Lululemons” if you’re reading this in America!!) by Lauren Weisberger

I was very kindly lent a proof copy of this by my friend who works in the book industry – she is a star!  But what with her dealings – and Netgalley – I keep reading books that I can’t immediately review, as blog posts are embargoed until nearer their release date.  It is severely hampering my blog stats – but never mind, come the summer, I’ll have a plethora of posts about new books!!

This is the latest book by The Devil Wears Prada author Lauren Weisberger.  It’s been released as The Wives in the UK – but as When Life Gives You Lululemons in the US.  I guess the difference is because that specific athleisure brand isn’t as omnipresent in the UK as it is the other side of the Atlantic.

The Wives

Here’s the blurb – whatever the title!

“Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. A successful stylist and image consultant to Hollywood stars, she cut her teeth as assistant to legendary fashion editor Miranda Priestly in New York. But with Snapchatting millennials stealing her clients, Emily needs to get back in the game – and fast.
She holes up at the home of her oldest friend Miriam in the upscale suburb of Greenwich. And when Miriam’s friend, model Karolina Hartwell, is publicly dumped by her husband Graham, a senator with presidential ambitions, Emily scents the client of a lifetime.
It’s not just Karolina’s reputation that’s ruined. It’s her family. And Miriam and Emily are determined he won’t get away with it. First they’ll get Karolina’s son back. Then they’ll help her get her own back. Because the wives are mad as hell . . .”

Now whilst I’ve read and watched The Devil Wears Prada – it was a long time ago, and so I didn’t really come at this with any preconceived ideas, other than Emily looking like Emily Blunt and Miranda Priestly looking like Meryl Streep and being a bit of a cow.  (Clearly I found it memorable!!)

I immediately liked the 3 main characters – all very different, which made it interesting.

Having young kids and having previously worked in a similar type of job, I guess Miriam was the one I could relate to most (I’m not an ex supermodel or stylist like the others!!!) but that didn’t mean I didn’t like the others too.

Possibly my favourite quote was American Girl dolls being the cocaine of the kindergarten generation – so true!! And we only see a tiny portion of it living this side of the Atlantic – my 6 and 7 year olds would think they’d died and gone to heaven if they went into one of the US stores!!

Whilst the storyline focusses on Karolina’s marriage ending and losing her step son – the other characters also have significant things going on in their own lives, and all of the stories intertwine.

I really enjoyed the book – and devoured it in just a couple of days.  There are a couple of minor niggles (such as the word asinine was used 3 times in the first chapter or two, which felt a bit odd – like maybe the author had just discovered it?!) but overall it was an easy, escapist read.

The final chapter seemed a bit random – almost as if it would be a scene after the final credits started rolling of a film – but it’s left the story set up for a sequel at some point in the future.

But overall, a fun escapist, easy read that I really enjoyed.

This will slot into my 2018 Reading Challenge as a book set it a country that fascinates you – as I enjoyed the US references (and I’m desperately trying to shoe horn everything to tick off categories!!)
















Book Review: The Songs Of Us by Emma Cooper

The Songs of Us.png

This is another book I saw reviewed in a magazine and then actively sought an advance review copy on NetGalley.   And I was so pleased I did – this book is FAB-U-LOUS.  I think it’s my favourite read since Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – and that is saying something.

Here’s the blurb:

“If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.
If Dev hadn’t taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life’s heart.
But if they hadn’t seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be ‘Us’.”

Melody is a single Mum – trying to do the best for her 2 children – but with the added complication of a condition that makes her sing songs when she’s nervous.  The eclectic mix of songs she chooses is just brilliant – and the fact she doesn’t get the lyrics right all of the time is amusing and endearing. Both Flynn and Rose have ‘complications’ to deal with – linked too, or probably because of, their father’s disappearance – but all wrapped up in your standard teenage angst.  I thought this particularly well observed and written (mostly because of having teenagers myself!).

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away – and there is a HUGE plot change in the middle that takes the wind out of your sails – but it only adds to the amazing roller coaster the book takes you on.

Whilst the major plot lines revolve around the immediate family – the peripheral characters are also really important and fundamental to the story line in lots of ways.  It was good to see how their stories panned out too.  How people deal with a crisis can be so different – and whilst you can see that, for example, Melody’s Mum has the best of intentions – she does like any crisis to be firmly centred on the impact on her rather than the main protagonist for that specific issue.

I really didn’t want to put this down – even though the final 15% had me weeping LOADS – but it is great.  It’s written well – but not in a ‘I’m a really high brow novel’ kind of way – but in a ‘fun, clever, witty, emotional, entertaining, but still written with eloquence and care’ kind of way.  I can also definitely see this being made into a film / TV series – the soundtrack would be immense!

I’d decided to slot this into my 2018 Reading Challenge as A Book About Mental Health – but is it???

The Songs of Us is published in September – but you can pre-order a copy now.  Thank you Netgalley for my copy.

ETA – have just seen you can download it for Kindle NOW – and it’s only 99p.  DO IT, you won’t regret it!!! 

ETA (again!) – there is a Spotify playlist that goes with the book which is a) brilliant and b) reminds you of the bit of the book where each track appears, which is just lovely!