Book Review: A Wedding In The Country by Katie Fforde

In these stressful times, a nice, gentle book can be called for – and this sounded like just that!
Here’s the blurb:

Lizzie has just arrived in London, determined to make the best of her new life.
Her mother may be keen that she should have a nice wedding in the country to a Suitable Man chosen by her. And Lizzie may be going to cookery school to help her become a Good Wife.
But she definitely wants to have some fun first.
It is 1963 and London is beginning to swing as Lizzie cuts her hair, buys a new dress with a fashionably short hemline, and moves in with two of her best friends, one of whom lives in a grand but rundown house in Belgravia which has plenty of room for a lodger.
Soon Lizzie’s life is so exciting that she has forgotten all about her mother’s marriage plans for her.
All she can think about is that the young man she is falling in love with appears to be engaged to someone else …

Lizzie (Elizabeth to her parents – I’m also an Elisabeth – but everyone apart from the doctor calls me Libby, including my parents!) is sent to London to a posh cookery school in her mother’s bid to make her attractive to a ‘suitable man’! However she also wants to enjoy the swinging sixties in the big smoke!

Lizzie soon makes friends – and moves in with them rather than her wayward Aunt Gina! And the shared house in Belgravia sounds great fun.

There is a real mix of classes – which causes some stresses – and reminded me of Downton fast forwarded a few decades!

There is one ‘sex scene’ which is fairly fundamental to the entire book – but it is done with incredibly good taste – and I’d be happy for my honorary Grandmother or teenage daughter to read it (although they’d probably both think it incredibly tame! The honorary Grandmother is registered blind and so sometimes has audiobooks. She listened to ’50 Shades of Grey’ as it helped her go to sleep!!)

The story twists and turns and made me want to keep reading – in a gentle Sunday night drama kind of way. It was inoffensive and well told.

A lovely, easy read – sometimes EXACTLY what is required.

Many thanks to the published and NetGalley for my ARC. It’s out in February 2021 if you want to pre order.

Book Review: Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker

Glamorous, beautiful Mummy has everything a woman could want. Except for a daughter of her very own. So when she sees Kim – heavily pregnant, glued to her phone and ignoring her eldest child in a busy shop – she does what anyone would do. She takes her. But foul-mouthed little Tonya is not the daughter that Mummy was hoping for.
As Tonya fiercely resists Mummy’s attempts to make her into the perfect child, Kim is demonised by the media as a ‘scummy mummy’, who deserves to have her other children taken too. Haunted by memories of her own childhood and refusing to play by the media’s rules, Kim begins to spiral, turning on those who love her.
Though they are worlds apart, Mummy and Kim have more in common than they could possibly imagine. But it is five-year-old Tonya who is caught in the middle…

I saw this book on NetGalley and it really appealed – so I requested an advance review copy, and was lucky enough to be sent one. Do not worry, though, there are no spoilers in this review!

The book is told primarily from ‘Mummy’ and Kim’s points of view – with an occasional input from Tonya or one of the other characters, or social media. The sections tend to be short – and this keeps up a real pace to the book. There don’t appear to be formal chapters either (although I was reading an advanced copy on my Kindle – so not entirely sure how different the final format would be – or if it was a printed copy).

Initially the ‘Mums’ appear very different – Kim is from a rough neighbourhood, has a drug filled past and is branded a ‘scummy mummy’ by the press – whereas ‘Mummy’ clearly has cash, Ocado deliveries, lives in a fancy house, albeit with no family or friends. However it soon becomes apparent that they both have mental health issues, and have had comparable abusive childhoods, and are perhaps more similar than they would think if you look beneath the surface.

I have to say some of the comparison reminded me of how differently the Ben Needham and Madeleine McCann missing children cases were treated in the media based upon social class. Anyway, back to the book!

The book twists and turns – and you’re really unsure how it’s going to end up. ‘Mummy’ has not got the perfect daughter she expected – and Kim’s life is completely falling apart. Whilst I’m lucky never to have had trouble conceiving, I felt this part was explored well by ‘Mummy’ (and is apparently the author’s experience too) but equally the juggling of multiple small children was also true to life.

I really liked Kim’s relationship with her friend Ayesha – it felt really ‘real’. Equally her relationship with her partner Steve was also perfectly written, if not the perfect relationship!

Whilst the storyline for half of the characters seems ‘closed’ – the very final segment definitely left it open for a sequel, and there was one massive (and massively smelly) loose end that would need tidying up which would prove very interesting!!

One other lovely thing is that 10% of the royalties for the book are going to the children’s charity Action for Children – to help children like Tonya in the future.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for my ARC – and I’d definitely recommend this when it comes out in February 2021.

Book Review: Older and Wider: A Survivor’s Guide To The Menopause by Jenny Eclair

‘If you’re after an in-depth medical or psychological insight into the menopause, I’m afraid you’ve opened the wrong book – I’m not a doctor . . . However, I am a woman and I do know how it feels to be menopausal, so this book is written from experience and the heart and I hope it makes you laugh and feel better.’ JE
Older and Wider is Jenny Eclair’s hilarious, irreverent and refreshingly honest compendium of the menopause. From C for Carb-loading and G for Getting Your Shit Together to I for Invisibility and V for Vaginas, Jenny’s whistle-stop tour of the menopause in all its glory will make you realise that it really isn’t just you. Jenny will share the surprising lessons she has learnt along the way as well as her hard-won tips on the joy of cardigans, dealing with the empty nest (get a lodger) and keeping the lid on the pressure cooker of your temper (count to twenty, ten is never enough).
As Jenny says, ‘I can’t say that I’ve emerged like a beautiful butterfly from some hideous old menopausal chrysalis and it would be a lie to say that I’ve found the ‘old me’ again. But what I have found is the ‘new me’ – and you know what? I’m completely cool with that.’

At 46 I’m definitely in the peri menopausal camp (who even knew that was a thing until recently??) and so bought this book with interest of what is around the corner!

As you would expect with Jenny Eclair it is witty and laugh out loud funny at times – but also quite informative (in a non medical way).

Some of it is very relevant to me already – and some I can look forward to! Thank goodness periods are no longer an issue (honestly, my endometrial ablation was the best thing ever – and I’d highly recommend it if your child-bearing is over and you’re suffering with super heavy periods). But I can definitely agree with the leg dandruff problem!!

I think it’s great that people talk about the menopause more openly now – it’s something that 50% of the population will be personally affected by (and a large proportion of their partners will also be affected too!), so we shouldn’t be squeamish about it! This is a great ice breaker book – and makes you feel that you’re not alone if you haven’t got friends to share the gory details with.

An easy, fun, interesting read.

Book Review: The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

I was lucky enough to get an advance review copy of this novel which is out in early 2021 – here’s the blurb:

EVERYONE’S IN DANGER. ANYONE COULD BE NEXT.
An imposing, isolated hotel, high up in the Swiss Alps, is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But she’s taken time off from her job as a detective, so when she receives an invitation out of the blue to celebrate her estranged brother’s recent engagement, she has no choice but to accept.
Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge. Though it’s beautiful, something about the hotel, recently converted from an abandoned sanatorium, makes her nervous – as does her brother, Isaac.
And when they wake the following morning to discover his fiancée Laure has vanished without a trace, Elin’s unease grows. With the storm cutting off access to and from the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.
But no-one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she’s the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they’re all in . . .

The first chapter is weird and disturbing and you’re not really sure how it is going to fit into the story – but you know it’s going to be creepy!

Then Elin’s story starts. She and her boyfriend Will are off to Switzerland to a fancy new hotel that used to be a TB sanatorium where Elin’s long time estranged brother Isaac and his fiancee Laure (who works at the hotel) are celebrating their engagement. It’s clear Elin has suffered a recent trauma as a police detective at work and is off on leave – but also has historic trauma from when hers and Isaac’s younger brother Sam died as a child.

I thought the descriptions of the swanky hotel were great – and I could really imagine it being quite creepy with displays of the old medical instruments as pieces of art.

When the weather turned and a storm set in, it felt quite reminiscent of Lucy Foley’s book The Hunting Party, where everyone is trapped in one place by the weather conditions and you know something awful is going to happen!

Now there are a lot of characters – and at times I found myself getting confused as to whom everyone was and how they were connected – but that could just me by small brain struggling to cope!

There are historic murders, current murders, people missing, a collection of not very likeable characters – and it twists and turns so much you’re not sure who you are rooting for and who is a baddie!

The pace of the book kept me wanting to read more – so I romped through it quite quickly. Whilst it was a little confusing with so many characters involved, overall I really enjoyed the book.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for my advance review copy.

Book Review: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I don’t often pay good money for a book – having a massive TBR pile from NetGalley downloads and freebies – but a friend had raved about this in our last book club Zoom. Then I saw Matt Haig talking about it himself on the Sara Cox book club programme ‘Between The Covers’ on BBC2 – and it felt like fate was talking to me – so having enjoyed ‘Notes On A Nervous Planet‘ last year – I thought I’d give this a go and downloaded it to my Kindle.

Here’s the blurb:

Between life and death there is a library.
When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.
The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger.
Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?

Initially, in her root life, Nora reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant, in that she was quite a loaner, and a bit sad. Being compared to Eleanor is definitely not a bad thing though!

Then Nora arrives in the Midnight Library – a strange place between life and death where you can enter different books to see how your life might have been different if you’d made alternative decisions.

And thus we enter ‘Sliding Doors’ territory – with far less Gwyneth though!

Nora chooses books to go back and see how her life would have turned out differently if she’d made alternative decisions at various points, so she sees herself as a rockstar, an explorer, a mother, and many, many other guises too. Some of the chapters are quite convoluted – and others really short – and that keeps the momentum of the book.

Nora soon comes to realise, with the help of The Midnight Library custodian (who was actually her librarian at school when she suffered a trauma in her root life and showed her great kindness) that changing her own path has a knock on effect on those that she loves. There is death and destruction to others – when Nora is living a seemingly charmed life, and equally Nora’s own life has different problems in these parallel universes.

Equally the seemingly small, inconsequential, good deeds that Nora has done in her root life, in fact have dramatic consequences when she hasn’t done them.

This book is about the grass not always being greener, and about how small acts of everyday kindness can be incredibly valuable.

Another friend described The Midnight Library to me in a WhatsApp yesterday as ‘comforting like a hot water bottle’ which is just a perfect description – and it is real food for the soul in these tricky times.

This would make a perfect Christmas present for someone – or for yourself if you’re one of the seemingly few people who hasn’t read it yet.

Audiobook Review: Quite by Claudia Winkleman

Claudia Winkleman’s warmth, humour, no-holds-barred attitude and smoky eye have made her the favourite broadcaster of millions and a much-loved household name.
In this, her first ever book, Claudia invites us all into her world. She shares her observations on topics such as the importance of melted cheese, why black coats are vital, how it’s never okay to have sex with someone who has an opinion on your date outfit, how nurses are our most precious national treasure, and why colourful clothing is only for the under 10s (if you’re reading this sporting a bright red jumper and you’re 9, great! If you’re older, sorry). 
This is a love letter to life – the real, sometimes messy kind. Quite celebrates friendship, the power of art, the highs and lows of parenting, and of course, how a good eyeliner can really save your life. 
Heartfelt, wry and unmistakably Claudia, this book gets to the heart of what really matters.”

Now – I’m not sure what to say about this book. In one of the chapters Claudia specifically says you shouldn’t tell people things like books or art are amazing, you should let them find it out for themselves.
Send them a copy of a book you adore but don’t tell them it will be lifechanging.

So.
Um.
I’ve sent this book to a friend.
And it’s ‘Quite’ good. (I realise I am a knob………..)
And there endeth the book review.
Maybe.
Not quite.

I recently wrote that when reading the Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman I could feel how strongly the author’s personality came through the writing – and it was exactly the same here. You can just imagine Claudia saying ‘Quite’ for a start. (And actually the fact that she is reading the audiobook makes it even more ‘Claude’) I am also being careful not to use too many exclamation marks, which I would usually scatter about with abandon, but Claudia is not a fan! Whoops……

So if you’re not a Claudia fan (maybe you’re one of those people whose Tweets she’s read out in the Head & Shoulders adverts?) then don’t bother buying this. But if you are a Claudia fan – then go for it.

It’s not strictly an autobiography in that it doesn’t start with Baby Winkleman being born and follow a timeline through to the present day. Instead it’s Claudia’s musings on various different topics – from art to fashion (fashion is art!), to sports day, to the tube, to things to avoid – all with reference to her own experiences.

It’s witty, funny, clever, self deprecating – and also incredibly moving. I wept buckets listening to the ‘Nurses’ chapter. Whilst Claudia doesn’t reference her daughter’s horrific accident some years ago (per the press at the time, the little girl’s fancy dress outfit caught fire whilst trick or treating and she suffered serious burns) knowing what the family have been through makes this chapter all the more emotional. Nurses really do rock. (Thank you to the nurses at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for looking after our chronically ill daughter – I could have written some of the sentences myself.)

Similarly I sobbed at the end of the chapter “They’re Going to Leave, Aren’t They?” about Claudia’s eldest son leaving home. Interestingly it’s the parental chapters that have affected me the most, snotty crying-wise anyway.

I think the chapter on Skiing was perhaps my favourite – the outlook on exercise as a whole – but also the skiing holiday itself. It made me almost hope that next February’s trip to the Alps does get cancelled – and I’ll just stay at home and put the Cathedral City in the microwave to melt it and dip toast in it instead. #toptip

Don’t buy this expecting a load of Strictly backstage goss – Claudia is incredibly discreet about that – aside from Ed Balls being good at making a round of hot drinks.

Perhaps my favourite line of the book is where Claudia tells girls to ‘nerd the f*ck up’ As a self confessed geek as a teenager (and still now), and with a 17 year old daughter who is also proud of her geekiness too – this really hit home.

And manners – yes, yes, yes. I agree with Claudia on so much.

I loved and adored this book. Sh*t, I wasn’t supposed to say that.

I want to be BFFs with Claudia even more than I did before (which was quite a lot anyway) And given I have a toasted sandwich maker (a double one no less) and love a decaf Kenco – I reckon I could be in there.

Got to go – need to get the children fed before Strictly, so I can get another Claude fix. #ImnotaweirdstalkerIpromise

Book Review: The Chalet by Catherine Cooper

French Alps, 1998
Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.
20 years later
Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.
Someone knows what really happened that day.
And somebody will pay.

When I was emailed by the publisher to see if I’d like an advance review copy of this book, I jumped at the chance – the blurb was intriguing immediately – and I was prepared to take a chance on a debut novelist, and I’m so pleased I did!

I loved this book from the start.

The story is told, flicking between the present day (the Alps, pre covid – how wonderful!) and 1998 when there was a tragedy. You don’t have all the facts up front – and it twists and turns brilliantly.

You know that the 2 stories are connected – but right up until the very end you aren’t sure exactly how. There are plenty of red herrings and teasers to keep you interested.

I don’t really want to give you too much information on the storyline – as it unfurls brilliantly! For example, you know someone dies in 1998, but don’t know who until some way through.

Similarly different voices are added to the story telling – both in 1998 and the present day – and the ‘before / after’ chapters too. I felt that really helped build the tension – and you don’t know who to trust!

My best friend from school lives in the French Alps, and so the setting was familiar, which I liked. And the horrific ski bores on holiday were also familiar!

When I’d finished the book and therefore knew who everyone actually was, I was intrigued to see if I went back to the beginning there were any clues – but I really don’t think I would have guessed some of the connections at all – it was incredibly clever!

I romped through this really quickly as I was keen to find out what happened – always a good sign with a book.

This is out at the end of October electronically and mid November as a traditional book, and I’d highly recommend it. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance review copy.

Book Review: Secrets in the Snow by Emma Heatherington

I have read and enjoyed previous books by Emma Heatherington, so when the publisher emailed to ask if I’d like to read her new book, I jumped at the chance.

Here’s the blurb:

“As the winter snow falls on the small Irish village of Ballybray, Roisin O’Connor and her young son, Ben, are saying goodbye to their beloved neighbour Mabel Murphy.  Mabel lived a bold and colourful life, but the arrival of her brooding nephew, ‘blow-in’ Aidan Murphy, just makes life more complicated for Roisin.
However, in one final act of love, a message arrives from Mabel that changes everything.  And as winter turns to spring and the cold snow melts, the secrets both Roisin and Aidan are hiding must be revealed at last…”

As with Emma’s previous books, this is set in Ireland – and the main rural setting is described beautifully. It also pops to Belfast and New York – 2 cities I love – which is exciting!

I have to say the storyline is reasonably predictable – lonely single Mum dislikes new stranger – clearly they’re going to fall in love! However, there are enough twists and turns to keep you interested. And sometimes all you want to read is a nice easy romance.

I loved the relationship between Roisin and her son Ben – he was clearly her world. And the relationship they’d both had with Mabel was lovely (and I think highlights the fact it’s nice to have friends of different ages to yourself).

I kept expecting more of Roisin’s relationship with her abusive ex husband, Ben’s Dad, who had passed away to be uncovered – I even suspected she’d bumped him off – but seemingly not!

This is not a taxing read, it’s not a complicated read – but it’s a lovely, escapist, easy read – and sometimes in these difficult times, that is exactly what is needed!

Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for my ARC.

Book Review: The Hungover Games by Sophie Heawood

One friend and I, when we meet up, always have an agenda to make sure all topics are discussed. There is an agenda story that always amuses, where one of her bullet points was about her ex-husband being ‘somewhat unhelpful’ – paraphrased into a 4 letter word – and he then saw the agenda when dropping their son home – awks! So now the agenda tends to be on a phone. One of the standing agenda items is ‘books’ as we’re both avid readers and have similar – although not identical – tastes. Last time we met up she said how she’d enjoyed The Hungover Games – and I said I hadn’t read it yet but wanted to, and the next day it arrived in the post for me! Now that’s a fabulous friend! (And as I know some of you will be interested, she sent it from Hive – which is a British based, tax paying company who support independent booksellers!)

Here’s the blurb about The Hungover Games:

I had no idea how to commit to another human being. I could barely commit to reading a magazine, and I wrote for magazines for a living. My specialist subject was celebrities, and my own relationships made their marriages look eternal. I’d never paid a household bill that didn’t mention bailiffs, and my idea of exercise was to go and stand outside a famous person’s house and stare until I’d convinced myself that I lived in it.
But my life in LA was happy; free of care and consequence. That was, until I came down to earth – with a bump.
So this is the story of how I staggered from partying in Hollywood to bringing up a baby in Piss Alley, Dalston; how I never did find a copy of What To Expect When You Weren’t Even Fucking Expecting To Be Expecting, and why paternity testing is not a good topic for a first-date conversation.
People always said I’d find love where I least expected it. I always said they were idiots.

I liked this book from the dedication, which reads “For my mother and my daughter – thank you both for bringing me up. You might want to stop reading here though.”

The story starts with Sophie in LA and ‘accidentally’ getting pregnant – but totally, properly accidentally – in that she’d been told she couldn’t conceive naturally – not just ‘accidentally’ in a rom com kind of way.

It then follows her through her pregnancy, birth, and the first few years of her daughter’s life.

Now, I’ve folded over LOADS of pages that I thought were brilliant and wanted to quote – but actually, I don’t want to ruin the surprise – so you need to read them youself! The lovely quote Sophie’s Mum uses when Sophie tells her she’s pregnant is beautiful (even if it is actually from a newspaper article about Janet Ellis and Sophie Ellis-Bextor!!)

There is also a surreal paragraph about Bromsgrove. Now this was something Sophie talked to a nurse about at the height of labour and was surreal for them both at the time – but even more surreal as I was reading it IN BROMSGROVE!!! (I should state I don’t think I’m the person Sophie met on holiday who was from Bromsgrove.)

One section that deserves a quote is this fabulous paragraph about the current generation of new parents:

“I have watched my generation of parents turn into Lady Macbeth, out damn spot out, not letting their child have candy floss at the fair, even though said child was conceived on a three-day bender, which began at a family wedding and ended in a ditch five miles from the nearest Wetherspoons.
My generation of parents are the same people who experienced the mass marketing of coolness in the early 2000s, when cool went from something belonging to the occasional brilliant freak like David Bowie to being widely available at Urban Outfitters instead. And so we have become the Urban Outfitters hipster parents, dressing out children in blue-and-white Breton stripes and feeding them halloumi and teaching them to call their penises penises and their vaginas vaginas, no, wait, it’s vulva now. These yummy mummies and rad dads all form part of secret Hallouminati groups whose membership codes are shrouded in ancient rituals involving dried mango, colour-coded Tupperware and half-term holidays at child-friendly festivals in Dorset. Their children have been given so many books about Amazing Women in History that any of them will now eye up a new picture book warily, muttering that this one better not be about Frida Kahlo again.”

That kind of sums up the book for me – witty, dry, observationally fantastic and oh so true!

It’s also really emotional at times – it’s definitely not been an easy road for Sophie – and that is quite evident.

The other thing that shines from the pages – is Sophie’s love for her daughter and their amazing bond. Whilst the conception might not have been planned – the love just oozes out of the pages. And I’m going to have to put another quote in – because as a Mum I thought it was amazing:

“You don’t ready someone to travel into a famine zone by starving them. You prepare them by fattening them up, giving them calorie reserves so they have warmth to spare in the cold, lean times. And so I have prepared my child for an ugly world by fattening her with love…….”

As I was kindly given a hard copy of the book, I’m now going to pass it on to another friend this evening, and then it should end up in the porch lending library that one of my other friends in the village started during lockdown, and is proving to still be a big hit. The gift of a book that keeps on giving!

Book Review: Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong by Elizabeth Day

I really enjoyed Elizabeth Day’s previous books – most recently ‘How To Fail‘ – so when I saw she had a new book out I requested a copy off NetGalley, which I was kindly granted. However, I failed (at least I was on theme!) to read this before the book came out – but I’m only a few days behind the curve!

Here’s the blurb:

“In Failosophy Elizabeth Day brings together all the lessons she has learned, from conversations with the guests on her award-winning How to Fail podcast, from stories shared with her by readers and listeners, and from her own life, and distils them into seven principles of failure.
 
Practical, reassuring and inspirational, these principles offer a guide through life’s rough patches. From failed exams to romantic break-ups, from career setbacks to confidence crises, from navigating anxiety to surviving loss, Failosophy recognises, and celebrates, the fact that failure connects us all. It is what makes us human.
 
With insights from Malcolm Gladwell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lemn Sissay, Frankie Bridge, Nigel Slater, Emeli Sande, Alain de Botton, Mabel, Fearne Cotton, Meera Syal, Dame Kelly Holmes, Andrew Scott and many, many more, Failosophy is the essential handbook for turning failure into success.

This is only a short book – and the sort that I would like to dip into again. I can see it would be of comfort in times of failure – or perceived failure – in your life.

It builds upon Day’s How To Fail memoir – summarising failings, and what can be learnt from them. It uses both her own life experiences, and those of the many people who’ve been guests on her ‘How To Fail With Elizabeth Day’ podcast – which I really enjoyed.

Some I empathised with more than others – failing at my 20s was definitely up there for me. I remember weeping on my 25th birthday as I was living on my own having split up from my first husband – and it just wasn’t where I expected to be mid decade. My ‘life plan’ hadn’t featured a starter marriage and divorce by my quarter century. Everything had sorted itself out by the end of my 20s – and I wouldn’t have got there without these ‘failures’ – which kind of sums up some of the book.

I found where Elizabeth talked about her own miscarriage – and a guest about the ‘failure’ of his son dying – really emotional to read, and incredibly moving.

I’d almost finished the book – but there was still over 10% left on my Kindle – so I did wonder what would make up these last pages. It is details that guests gave Elizabeth of the 3 failures they would discuss on the podcast with her. Some were incredibly detailed, others just brief bullet points, but I found this really interesting (I am totally a nosy cow, so both the content and style of how they’d written them appealed!)

As I said, I’d definitely read this again – and I think it would be a great present for a friend going through a tough time. (I am a big fan of giving books as gifts, much more edifying than flowers.)

A thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC and apologies for failing to review it before publication!!