Publisher: Quercus (20 Jun 2013)
Jo has always dreamed of starting her own business, but the arrival of her two gorgeous toddlers has put her ambition on the backburner. Then she hits on a brilliant idea – a kids’ clothing shop with a twist – and is thrilled when it really takes off. When husband Lee offers to quit his job to look after the family while her business grows, it seems a godsend – but will their marriage stand the test of reversing their roles?
Jo soon recruits Holly and Mel to help her in the shop. Designer Holly’s high-flying career has come crashing down and she’s moved back home – but is she ready to manage a major family crisis? Meanwhile, Mel worries her teenage daughter Serena is going off the rails. Is finding out more worth risking her daughter’s trust?
At the crossroads of their lives, friendship could be the only the thing keeping these wonder women strong.
I loved Jo’s character from the very beginning … when we find out ‘she often had dream ideas that woke her with their brilliance’. Jungletown is one such idea. Sharing with Lee, she doesn’t think he’s interested and takes herself off to the garden to sulk but when she returns, he’s done a series of drawings. We’re then taken back to ‘then’ and find out their backstory (very romantic!)
It’s obvious where Holly fits into the shop when we find out that in Johannesburg, she started her clothes business from scratch. She’s the sister of Miranda (who has children the same age as Jo and on the periphery of her life) who has moved back to London after a rather heart-wrenching experience. I really enjoyed Holly’s life in Jo’burg – such a different way of living. This is only one of the reasons why I love reading, getting to live vicariously through characters!
Mel comes into the story when she’s taken on to work in the shop. A traumatic childhood and a life-changing experience in her teens, she’s overprotective towards Serena and is very creative in the way she manages to find out what she’s doing via social media.
Chapters of ‘Now’ and ‘Then’ tell us all we need to know about the past and where our three women are now because of it. Jungletown is the catalyst that obviously brings them together and is the foundation that holds them together as life happens! I enjoyed this structure to the story making it easy to identify with each woman despite their different ages and circumstances.
All three women have very different ‘voices’ and very different crisis to cope with. Jo and Lee coping with role reversals and all the guilt, angst and distance that brings; Holly with a family illness and coming to terms what happened in Jo’burg so that she can move forward; Mel and her deteriorating relationship with Selina and her stalking! Social media plays a part as do current issues, cultural differences and rape.
It was easy to get caught up in these lives, to be fully involved with the story. I loved the secrets uncovered in the life of Holly’s mum, the romance between Jo and Lee and all the family relationships. My favourite character has to be Holly… maybe because she brought the most humour to the story alongside the trauma. Just loved the ending 🙂
In the acknowledgments at the end, we find out that it was extremely important for Rosie Fiore to write about the care of the ill and the dying due to personal circumstances. My personal opinion is that she has done that with authenticity and love.
I would like to thank the publishers for providing a paperback copy in exchange for an honest review. I had already bought a Kindle copy (which had been forgotten in that invisible e-bookcase) and still preferring to read paper copies, I’m grateful!