Watching what I’m reading

Another slow week of reading. I admit to feeling absolutely exhausted, and then have been hit by a rather nasty stomach bug that is currently doing the rounds. So instead of visiting my grandson today, I have spent most of the day in bed.

I am a little over half way through

The Wife Before Me

And I am quite enjoying this read.

This week I am planning on reading

Sold on a Monday

From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes another unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.


The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs, and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.

For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.

At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.

Better Than This

Sometimes the most enviable life is really a private hell.

On the surface, Sarah Jenkins appears to have it all: a handsome, wealthy and successful husband, a precocious five-year-old daughter, and a beautiful home in an affluent Seattle neighborhood. Her quirky best friend and fellow high school teacher, Maggie, marvels at her luck—and envies her happiness.

But Sarah is far from happy. She feels empty and on edge, harangued by a critical inner voice—and as the truth about her marriage and details of her past emerge, her “perfect” life begins to crumble. But just when it seems all is lost, a long forgotten, unopened letter changes everything, and with the support of friends, Sarah begins to rebuild her life. Can she quiet the critical voice in her head and learn to value herself instead?

I received 6 ARCs from NetGalley this week

Secrets of the Last Castle

What Happened to Us?: A feelgood story of love, loss and new beginnings...

No Way Out (DI Adam Fawley, #3)

Ruth Robinson's Year of Miracles: An uplifting summer read

Women Behaving Badly

In Harm's Way

This time next week, I will be ensconced with my grandsons being a full time Nana for ten days. I can’t wait! They are both bookworms, with sixteen month old Luke having very definite ideas on what he likes to read, and eleven year old Kayden likes finding books for me that I would not otherwise read. He hasn’t made a bad selection for me yet.

Although we are now officially in Spring, our weather is still  distinctly wintery. It’s cold with heavy rain 😩 The only time I have been warm today is when I have been snuggled up in bed . Speaking of which, I am heading back there now.

Happy reading my friends.

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

EXCERPT: February fifteenth is a very special day for me. It is the day I gave birth to my first child. It is also the day my husband left me. As he was present at the birth, I can only assume the two events weren’t entirely unrelated.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he’s leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he’s in for a bit of a surprise.

MY THOUGHTS: This was the first book by Marian Keyes that I ever read. I read it quite some time after she had made a name for herself with Rachel’s Holiday. The first time I read Watermelon, and there have been several readings over the years, I was enamoured by Keyes’ writing. Warm and witty, it was like sitting down and having a good gossip session with your best friend and a bottle of wine. . . ‘And did you hear about Claire?….No? Well, James has only gone and left her, and with a brand new baby. . . And you’ll never guess who he left her for. . .’

I haven’t always liked all of Keyes’ books (Rachel’s Holiday being one in particular), but Watermelon? I loved it.

THE AUTHOR: Marian Keyes (born 10 September 1963) is an Irish novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for her work in women’s literature. She is an Irish Book Awards winner. Over 22 million copies of her novels have been sold worldwide and her books have been translated into 32 languages. She became known worldwide for Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, and This Charming Man, with themes including domestic violence and alcoholism.

DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Watermelon by Marian Keyes. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

The Summerhouse by the Sea by Jenny Oliver

Give me the words ‘summer’ and ‘sea’ in a title, and I can’t resist! Especially when I am mired in the depths of winter here. I have to have my sunshine fix. 😎

This one is especially for you SusanDyer1962 of SusanLovesBooks, who says my covers are always creepy and wonders how I sleep at night. . .

The Summer House by the Sea by Jenny Oliver

EXCERPT: Ava was standing at the crossing when her phone beeped. She took it from her pocket at the same time as glancing left for traffic.

Instead of looking right, Ava opened the WatsApp message from her brother, Rory: Gran in hospital, it read. She frowned down at her phone and wondered how Rory could ever think that was enough information. But then the horn of the 281 bus stopped all other conscious thought.

The shriek of the brakes filled the air as she saw the huge windscreen, the wipers. The face of the driver in slow motion, mouth open. Her whole body tensed. She felt her hand drop the phone. Time paused.

There was a fleeting thought that this was actually really embarrassing.

And then – smack – she didn’t think anything else. Just felt the hard pain in her hip, then the thwack of her head as she was thrown down on to the tarmac, and an overriding sense of unfairness as she wasn’t yet ready to die.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: A brand new summery story about returning to your past and finding a new beginning from bestselling author Jenny Oliver!

Nestled on the Spanish coast, bustling café Estrella features in every one of Ava Brown’s happiest memories. It’s where she tasted her first delectably-chocolatey churros, fell head-over-heels for her first crush – where she has been her happiest. So the chance to spend one last summer in her grandmother’s house, is one Ava can’t refuse.

Once the heart of the sleepy seaside village, the café now feels more ramshackle than rustic. It’s time to bring back the lethally strong sangria and mouth-wateringly delicious tapas – and before Ava knows it, she’s thrown herself into bringing the café back to life – a summer project her grandmother would be proud of!

But once summer is over, can Ava really say goodbye to Spanish seaside life? Or could this be the new beginning Ava didn’t realise she needed…

MY THOUGHTS: Okay, so it’s predictable. . . but it’s fun and beautifully written. And it’s not a straight out romance, there is a little drama surrounding Ava and Rory’s mother, there is a café that needs rescuing, and lots of summery atmosphere. I almost felt like I got a good dose of vitamin D just listening to The Summerhouse.

This is light and amusing, a great beach read.


THE AUTHOR: Jenny Oliver is the bestselling author of The Summerhouse by the Sea – the PERFECT book for your summer reading! Out May 18th.
Her book The Sunshine and Biscotti Club, set in sunny Tuscany, was nominated for the Best Contemporary Romantic Novel at the RONA awards.
Jenny wrote her first book on holiday when she was ten years old. Illustrated with cut-out supermodels from her sister’s Vogue, it was an epic, sweeping love story not so loosely based Dynasty.
Since then Jenny has gone on to get an English degree and a job in publishing that’s taught her what it takes to write a novel (without the help of the supermodels). She wrote her first book The Parisian Christmas Bake Off on the beach in a notebook that would end up covered in sand each afternoon and damp from the sea. Nowadays her inspiration comes from her love of all things vintage, a fascination with other people’s relationships and an unwavering belief in happy ever after!

DISCLOSURE: I listened to The Summerhouse by Jenny Oliver, beautifully narrated by Camilla Rockley and published by HarperCollins, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

The Other Woman by Jane Green

The Other Woman by Jane Green

EXCERPT: ‘Dan and Ellie. Ellie and Dan. Mrs Dan Cooper. Mrs Ellie Cooper. Ellie Cooper.’ I trill the words out, thrilling at how unfamiliar they sound, how they will be true in just over a month, how I got to have a fairy-tale ending after all. . .

And, as I’m tapping the coffee grounds into the spoon to start making the coffee, I find myself thinking about spending the rest of my life with only one person.

I should feel scared. Apprehensive at the very least. But all I feel is pure, unadulterated joy.

Any doubts I may have about this wedding, about getting married, about spending the rest of my life with Dan have nothing whatsoever to do with Dan.

And everything to do with his mother.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Newly engaged, Ellie is thrilled to be accepted into the loving Cooper clan—which seems like the perfect family she never had—until she begins to realize that Dan’s mom, Linda, is a little too involved. Dan and Linda talk on the phone every day. Twice a day. As Dan and Ellie’s intimate civil wedding ceremony gets transformed into a black-tie affair, Ellie begins to wonder if it’s possible to marry the man without marrying his mother.

As troubles mount, Ellie turns to her friends—glamorous Lisa, who always looks like she’s just stepped off a runway, and wonderfully frazzled Trish—and tries to rediscover the independence she once had, and the man she still loves. But it seems that having a child and saving a marriage means growing up in ways she’d never imagined . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I love Jane Green’s books, and The Other Woman is no exception. Green writes in a way that has you tumbling into the book (rather like Alice down the rabbit hole), and becoming part of it all.

Green is very perceptive about relationships – family relationships, friendships, whatever – she just always seems to hit the nail on the head. She has written an captivating tale of the changing family dynamics with the introduction of a new person into the family unit. The jostling for positions, the need for give and take, the expectations, the disappointments, the settling into the new relationships are all dealt with by Green in her usual warm and insightful style.

Remember the old adage ‘be careful what you wish for, you may get it’? Green has used this to great effect in The Other Woman.

There is a lot to be learned from The Other Woman. It should be required reading for all brides-to-be and mothers-in-law to be.

Thank you Jane Green for yet another wonderful read. 😍😍😍😍

THE AUTHOR: Jane Green’s eighteenth novel, Falling, is soon to be released with Berkley/Penguin; she is the author of sixteen previous New York Times Bestselling novels, and known as one of the world’s leading authors in women’s fiction, with over ten million books in print, and translations in over 25 languages.

Previous novels have included The Beach House, Second Chance, Jemima J, and Tempting Fate.

She joined the ABC News team to write their first enhanced digital book— about the history of Royal marriages, then joined ABC News as a live correspondent covering Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton.

A former journalist in the UK, she has had her own radio show on BBC Radio London, and is a regular contributor on radio and TV, including as well as regularly appearing on television shows including Good Morning America, The Martha Stewart show, and The Today Show.

Together with writing books and blogs, she contributes to various publications, both online and print, including anthologies and novellas, and features for The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan and Self. She has taught at writers conferences, and does regular keynote speaking, and has a weekly column in The Lady magazine, England’s longest running weekly magazine.

A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York, Green is bringing out her first cookbook: Good Taste , with Berkley in October 2016.

She is a storyteller for The Moth radio hour on NPR,
and lives in Westport, Connecticut with her husband and their blended family. When she is not writing, cooking, gardening, filling her house with friends and herding chickens, she is usually thanking the Lord for caffeine-filled energy drinks.

A cancer survivor, she continues to raise awareness for Malignant Melanoma, Hashimoto’s Disease, and Lyme Disease.

DISCLOSURE: I own my own copy of The Other Woman by Jane Green.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

Remember Me?

EXCERPT: Of all the crap, crap, crappy nights I have had in the whole of my crap life.

On a scale of one to ten, we’re talking . . . . a minus six. And it’s not like I even have very high standards.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, she’s in for a big surprise. Her teeth are perfect. Her body is toned. Her handbag is Vuitton. Having survived a car accident—in a Mercedes no less—Lexi has lost a big chunk of her memory, three years to be exact, and she’s about to find out just how much things have changed.

Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband—who also happens to be a multimillionaire? With her mind still stuck three years in reverse, Lexi greets this brave new world determined to be the person she…well, seems to be. That is, until an adorably disheveled architect drops the biggest bombshell of all.

Suddenly Lexi is scrambling to catch her balance. Her new life, it turns out, comes complete with secrets, schemes, and intrigue. How on earth did all this happen? Will she ever remember? And what will happen when she does?

With the same wicked humor and delicious charm that have won her millions of devoted fans, Sophie Kinsella, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Shopaholic & Baby, returns with an irresistible new novel and a fresh new heroine who finds herself in a life-changing and utterly hilarious predicament…

MY THOUGHTS: While I wouldn’t call this utterly hilarious, it occasionally had me smiling. And while I couldn’t call it a riveting read, it was light, quick, and easy; a palate cleanser for me in between the much darker stuff I tend to read.

We all long for the perfect life, think we would be much happier ‘if only. . .’ But ‘if only’ comes with its share of problems. What this boils down to is if the grass is indeed greener on the other side of the fence, that’s because it needs mowing more often.


THE AUTHOR: Sophie Kinsella first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series – The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (also published as Confessions of a Shopaholic). The book’s heroine, Becky Bloomwood – a fun and feisty financial journalist who loves shopping but is hopeless with money – captured the hearts of readers worldwide. Becky has since featured in seven further bestselling books, Shopaholic Abroad (also published as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan), Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister, Shopaholic & Baby, Mini Shopaholic, Shopaholic to the Stars and Shopaholic to the Rescue. Becky Bloomwood came to the big screen in 2009 with the hit Disney movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.

Sophie has also written seven standalone novels which have all been bestsellers in the UK, USA and other countries around the world: Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, and My Not So Perfect Life, which was a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Best Fiction in 2017.

In 2014 she published a Young Adult novel Finding Audrey about a teenage girl with social anxiety and her madcap family, and in January 2018, Sophie published her first illustrated book for young readers about the charming adventures of a mother-daughter fairy duo, Mummy Fairy and Me (also published as Fairy Mom and Me).

Sophie’s latest novel, Surprise Me, published in February 2018, presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage—its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.

Sophie wrote her first novel under her real name, Madeleine Wickham, at the tender age of 24, whilst she was working as a financial journalist. The Tennis Party was immediately hailed as a success by critics and the public alike and became a top ten bestseller. She went on to publish six more novels as Madeleine Wickham: A Desirable Residence, Swimming Pool Sunday, The Gatecrasher, The Wedding Girl, Cocktails for Three and Sleeping Arrangements.

Sophie was born in London. She studied music at New College, Oxford, but after a year switched to Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She now lives in London, UK, with her husband and family.

DISCLOSURE: I read a library copy of Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ pageon for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

Homecomings by Marcia Willett

Homecomings by Marcia Willett

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: This house, belonging to Ned’s parents, was a refuge: a place to which they all travelled to spend leaves, school holidays, to lodge between married quarters. It was home.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: At the end of the row of fishermen’s cottages by the harbour’s edge, stands an old granite house.

First it belonged to Ned’s parents; then Ned dropped anchor here after a life at sea and called it home. His nephew Hugo moved in too, swapping London for the small Cornish fishing village where he’d spent so many happy holidays.

It’s a refuge – and now other friends and relations are being drawn to the the house by the sea.
Among them is Dossie, who’s lonely after her parents died and her son remarried. And cousin Jamie, who’s coming home after more than a year, since his career as an RAF pilot was abruptly cut short. Both have to adjust to a new way of life.

As newcomers arrive and old friends reunite, secrets are uncovered, relationships are forged and tested, and romance is kindled.

For those who come here find that the house by the harbour wall offers a warm welcome, and – despite its situation at the very end of the village – a new beginning…

MY THOUGHTS: I discovered this author quite by accident, many years ago. I was having one of those days at the library where, despite there being thousands of books on the shelves, I could not find one that I wanted to read. I had started at the As and had meandered through the alphabet to the Ws when the name Marcia caught my eye. I have a cousin Marcia, somewhat older than me, of whom I am rather fond and whom I don’t often get to see. It was on the strength of this relationship that I picked up my first ever Marcia Willett novel, never expecting to still be reading her all these years later.

Homecomings is a lovely read. Willett’s writing is peaceful. She has a deep knowledge and understanding of many things, including people, nature and music. She makes me feel like I belong in the families she writes about, with Ned and Hugo and Jamie, Dossie and Adam, Prune, even Janna and the Sisters at the convent. Her writing is filled with gentle emotions; grief, anger, love, despair and joy.

If you like soap operas, and plenty of action, then this book is not for you. If, on the other hand, you want a book that will warm your heart and leave you with the feeling that you have just made some new friends, I can definitely recommend Homecomings.

Thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Bantam Press via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Homecomings by Marcia Willett for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

When Archie Met Rosie by Lynda Renham

When Archie Met Rosie by Lynda Renham
When Archie Met Rosie: An Unexpected Love Story 

Lynda Renham (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


Those of you who regularly read my blogs will know that I am not a fan of ‘romance’ reads. It takes something special to attract my attention, then keep it. When Archie Met Rosie is certainly something special. If it is possible to have a coming-of-age story about a sixty something year old woman, then this is it. Warm, humorous, poignant – this is a gem of a read.

EXCERPT: I couldn’t even cry. I felt sad, but not distraught. The thing is, Frank wasn’t the love of my life. I don’t even know why I married him. Well I do. It was because of Sam. I should have gone on the pill like all my mates had, but I hadn’t, and Frank was likeable enough. Not a dreamboat or anything, but we can’t all have George Clooneys can we? Anyway, once I got pregnant I didn’t have much choice. Frank wasn’t a great husband, but you just got on with things. Not like now, where everyone gets divorced at the drop of a hat. So, here I am, just past sixty and widowed. My husband cut down in his prime. Okay, Frank was sixty-five, but he always said he was in his prime. Not the way he’d have wanted to go, mind you, knocked down by a Domino’s Pizza van because he was too shit-faced to see it coming. They tell me he wouldn’t have felt anything. It was very quick. That’s how I want to go. Not knocked down by a Domino’s Pizza van, I don’t mean, but quick. I don’t want to know anything about it. I’d actually rather not even be there when it happens, but we’re all in that queue aren’t we? I only wish I was a bit nearer the back. I need to organize the funeral today. Not mine, obviously. I mean Frank’s funeral. I bought myself a new holdall from the 99p shop so I could carry my five grand around with me. I ‘m starting to wish I’d taken a cheque now. But that would have meant putting it into our bank account and then it would have gone on our, or I should say Frank’s, outstanding debts immediately. No, it’s best to have the cash, but I’m a woman alone now. Not that I was any safer when Frank was around. He was a bit of a wimp to tell you the truth. I know it’s wrong to speak ill of the dead, but if I’m honest, I never had a good word for him when he was alive, so I’m not starting now. Frank won’t come back and haunt me. He’s too lazy for that.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Rosie Foster has two dreams. The first is to move off the Tradmore Estate, and the second is to see Paris. Archie wants for nothing. He has his five-bedroom house but no one to share it with now that his beloved wife, Cath, has died. And then … Holly has a disastrous night out and, against all the odds, Archie meets Rosie.

A funny, sad and poignant tale of how love can be found in the strangest of places.

MY THOUGHTS: When Archie Met Rosie is funny. It had me laughing out loud only a couple of pages in. It is also sad and poignant, just as they claim. It touched my heart, and made me smile.

I am in the same age group as Rosie, so I don’t know if that is why I felt particularly connected to this book, or if it was the very relaxed and humorous writing style. Perhaps a little of both. It is a reminder that we should never give up on our dreams, and that sometimes silver linings come complete with clouds, as well as clouds having silver linings. Life seldom goes as we expect or want it to and while it is easier to go with the flow, just occasionally it doesn’t hurt to swim upstream.

Light and amusing, it is also thought-provoking. There are lessons in there for all of us.

If, like me, you loved Dead Ernest by Frances Garrood, you should read When Archie Met Rosie.

A huge thank you to author Lynda Renham for providing me with a digital ARC of When Archie Met Rosie for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

What Holly’s Husband Did by Debbie Viggiano

What Holly's Husband Did by Debbie Viggiano
What Holly’s Husband Did 

Debbie Viggiano (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Listen to me, you silly goose. Do you really think I have the time or energy to have an affair?’

I looked at my husband. This was a man with a sex drive smaller than a goldfish.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Holly Hart has been married for fifteen blissful years to hubby Alex. Well… if you don’t count last Christmas, when she accidentally found a load of flirty texts on Alex’s phone. But every marriage has its ups and downs and Alex had a perfectly reasonable explanation… so why can’t Holly forget what she saw?

With the help of best friends Jeanie and Caro, as well as their handsome neighbour Jack, Holly resolves to settle her mind once and for all with a bit of sneaky detective work. So what if her husband isn’t exactly Brad Pitt? He’s hers, and if someone else is trying to steal him she wants to know who…. But the truth is way more shocking than Holly ever anticipated. Can Holly, let alone her marriage, ever recover from what she discovers?

MY THOUGHTS: Disappointing. Predictable. Not at all funny. Didn’t even crack a smile, let alone laugh …

2.5 stars.

Just because I found this to be an unsatisfying read doesn’t mean that you won’t love it. This is my personal opinion, my reaction to the book. Most reviews for this book are positive, so if you enjoyed the excerpt and like the summary of the plot, please go ahead and read What Holly’s Husband Did by Debbie Viggiano. You may well be one of the many who enjoy this book.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of What Holly’s Husband Did by Debbie Viggiano for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my page

Cassandra’s Secret by Frances Garrood

Cassandra's Secret by Frances Garrood
Cassandra’s Secret: Sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back… 

Reviewed by

EXCERPT: My mother turned pale, and it was at that moment that I understood. My mother knew. She knew what had happened, and that meant that she knew something about Uncle Rupert that none of us had known; something she should have warned me about; something she should have protected me from. I had always been aware that there was some dark secret in Uncle Rupert’s past, and had hitherto assumed that it was in the nature of some personal tragedy. Now I realised that it was something far more sinister, and something my mother should have taken far more seriously when she invited him into our home all those years ago.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Secrets can’t stay buried forever…

1960s England

Cassandra Fitzpatrick’s family isn’t quite like everybody else’s: her house is always full to bursting with the various misfits her mother houses as lodgers.

The creative and chaotic household is all she has ever known and loved, until something awful happens that changes everything.

Cass loves her mother deeply, but, as she gets older, she becomes more and more aware of her flaws.

Will Cass have to distance herself from her family to find happiness? Or is she destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps?

As Cass reflects on her memories, she must lay the ghosts of the past to rest and make peace with the secrets that have haunted her adult life…

CASSANDRA’S SECRET is both a coming-of-age story and poignant return to the past, an intricate family drama of the close bond between mother and daughter, and the strength of love needed to overcome abuse and grief.

MY THOUGHTS: Cassandra’s Secret is a love story. Not a romance, but a love story. It chronicles the bonds of love between the members of a slightly unorthodox family and their ‘extended family’ of lodgers, friends, and various other people who found themselves drawn in to their orbit. It is a story of love and loss, grief and joy, and overcoming trauma to learn to trust and love again.

It is a book that grew on me as I read, to the point where I wanted to be a part of this chaotic and unconventional household. It put a smile on my face that is still there. It gave me the same feeling I get on spring days when there is a promising warmth to the air, or on winter days when I am in front of the fire with a pot of tea and a plate of crumpets dripping with honey. It made me feel content, satisfied. It put a little joy in my life.

In her afterword, Frances Garrood tells us that Cassandra’s Secret is ‘loosely based on my own wonderful but eccentric mother’ and some of her own experiences. Thank you for sharing, Frances.

Cassandra’s Secret was originally published as ‘The Birds, The Bees and Other Secrets’.

Thank you to Caoimhe O’Brien of Sapere Books for providing a digital copy of Cassandra’s Secret by Frances Garrood for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my profile page or the ‘about’ page on for an explanation of my rating system.

This review and others are also published on my page

Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty

Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty
Those Other Women 

Nicola Moriarty (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Poppy and Garret’s separation was pretty easy. No kids, no pets, no mortgage. Separate bank accounts, one car each. And their rental lease had been due for renewal. There was a shared savings account they’d each been depositing money into to buy a house one day, and they simply split it down the middle. Admittedly, Poppy earned a little more than Garret, so she’d probably put more money into the account than he had, but she didn’t care. She didn’t want to have any arguments. She didn’t want to delay things any more than she had to. She just wanted to get Garret and Karleen out of her life as quickly as possible.

Garret got the sofa; Poppy never liked that pattern anyway.

Poppy got the coffee table – it was an antique from her grandmother.

Garret got the bed. Poppy got the bedroom furniture.

Garret got the coffee machine and Poppy got the kettle.

Garret got the toaster and Poppy took the blender.

And of course, Garret not only kept his best man from the wedding – his mate from high school – but he cleaned up with the maid of honour too. How nice for him to collect the set.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: From the author of The Fifth Letter comes a controversial and darkly comic story about the frustrations of being a childless woman in the modern baby-obsessed world . . .

Poppy’s world has been tipped sideways: the husband who never wanted children has betrayed her with her broody best friend.

At least Annalise is on her side. Her new friend is determined to celebrate their freedom from kids, so together they create a Facebook group to meet up with like-minded women, and perhaps vent just a little about smug mummies’ privileges at work.

Meanwhile their colleague Frankie would love a night out, away from her darlings – she’s not had one this decade and she’s heartily sick of being judged by women at the office as well as stay-at-home mums.

Then Poppy and Annalise’s group takes on a life of its own and frustrated members start confronting mums like Frankie in the real world. Cafés become battlegrounds, playgrounds become warzones and offices have never been so divided.

A rivalry that was once harmless fun is spiralling out of control.

Because one of their members is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And she has an agenda of her own . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I have often said that being a mother is the most demanding job in the world. If you are lucky you have a great support network, family, friends and, these days, the Internet. But not everyone wants to be a parent, and the decision not to have children seems the most difficult one for family members and society as a whole to accept. These women are often treated as ‘oddities’, outcasts, while secretly being envied their ‘freedom’.

Nicola Moriarty has woven a tale of two distinct lifestyle groups, their petty rivalries and erroneous judgements of the others motivations and feelings. She writes about the mothers who resent the career women with their apparent lack of ties, and the career women who resent the mothers for their apparent lack of commitment to the job, about how a few ill-judged words in the heat of the moment pitted woman against woman, sister against sister, friend against friend, and just how far some of those women are prepared to go to denigrate the others choices. And what it takes for them to realise that the grass is really the same shade of green both sides of the fence.

This is my first book by Nicola Moriarty, and I am not sure exactly what I was expecting. And I am having trouble deciding exactly what I felt about this book. It was, in parts, amusing. I did have trouble with the concept that two groups of women would literally come to blows over defending their decision to have or not have children, though I guess world wars have been started with little more provocation. Moriarty has demonstrated a good understanding of the feelings and motivations of a wide range of women with differing lifestyles. But somehow, I just didn’t get immersed in this book. I felt like I was ‘ reading a book ‘. Yes, I know that is exactly what I was doing, but I like to feel that I am right in there with the characters, and this just didn’t happen.

However, there was nothing I actively disliked about Those Other Women, and overall I enjoyed the read, so 3.5 stars.

Thank you to Harper Collins Publishers Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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