A decade ago, Caitlin Moran thought she had it all figured out. Her instant best seller How to Be a Woman was a game-changing take on feminism, the patriarchy and the general ‘hoo-ha’ of becoming a woman. Back then, she firmly believed ‘the difficult bit’ was over and her 40s were going to be a doddle.
If only she had known: when middle age arrives, a whole new bunch of tough questions need answering. Why isn’t there such a thing as a ‘Mum Bod’? How did sex get boring? What are men really thinking? Where did all that stuff in the kitchen drawers come from? Can feminists have Botox? Why has wine turned against you? How can you tell the difference between a teenage micro-breakdown and the real thing? Has feminism gone too far? And, as always, who’s looking after the children?
Now with ageing parents, teenage daughters, a bigger bum and a to-do list without end, Caitlin Moran is back with More Than a Woman: a guide to growing older, a manifesto for change and a celebration of all those middle-aged women who keep the world turning.
In a beautiful house surrounded by woodland, the Drayton family and their dearest friends are enjoying dinner together. The wine is flowing, the meal has been lovingly prepared, and it’s going to be an evening none of them will ever forget…
I am Lex Gracie: but they call me Girl A. I grew up with my family on the moors. I escaped when I was fifteen years old.
NOW SOMETHING IS PULLING ME BACK…
My thoughts on Girl A
There was a lot of hype when Girl A came out last year. Which was why I avoided it. I don’t do well with hype. But then I saw a copy in my local library and thought ‘why not’. Turns out it was a good decision because Girl A is a very, very, good book.
Why? It’s dark, and gritty, and painful to read (the subject matter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and there were bits that – had it been a movie – I would have closed my eyes and turned away because I’m more than a bit squeamish). But it’s also uplifting, showing the power of humans to overcome the worst obstacles and find beauty in the world. I really struggled to put this down at night.
Lex, the central character is complex and compelling and I wanted to see where her story, and those of her sibling went. Each gets a chapter, but with Lex’s story, and their family history, woven in. It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel because it’s so well written. I can’t for her next book (though I have to wait until January 2023 to read it). 5/5 stars.
I’ve always enjoyed reading other book blogger’s Top Ten Tuesday posts so thought I might join in this week and share some of the authors that were new to me in 2021 (and who I’ll definitely be reading more of in 2022)….
January 1921. Though the Great War is over, in Ireland a new, civil war is raging. The once-grand Kilcolgan House, a crumbling bastion shrouded in sea-mist, lies half empty and filled with ghosts – both real and imagined – the Prendevilles, the noble family within, co-existing only as the balance of their secrets is kept.
Then, when an IRA ambush goes terribly wrong, Maud Prendeville, eldest daughter of Lord Kilcolgan, is killed, leaving the family reeling. Yet the IRA column insist they left her alive, that someone else must have been responsible for her terrible fate. Captain Tom Harkin, an IRA intelligence officer and Maud’s former fiancé, is sent to investigate, becoming an unwelcome guest in this strange, gloomy household.
Working undercover, Harkin must delve into the house’s secrets – and discover where, in this fractured, embattled town, each family member’s allegiances truly lie. But Harkin too is haunted by the ghosts of the past and by his terrible experiences on the battlefields. Can he find out the truth about Maud’s death before the past – and his strange, unnerving surroundings – overwhelm him?
Lieutenant Abby Mullen is no stranger to crisis. As the hostage negotiation instructor for the NYPD, she deals with worst-case scenarios every day. Nothing fazes her anymore.
That all changes when she gets a call from Eden Fletcher, a fellow survivor of the infamous Wilcox cult. The two haven’t spoken since the night of a tragic, fiery massacre, when their paths diverged. But now Eden needs Abby’s help: someone has kidnapped her son and is demanding a $5 million ransom. As Abby throws herself into the case, she can’t help but wonder why the kidnapper has targeted Eden. But Eden refuses to talk. She’s silent about the relics of their shared past hanging on her walls. About the kidnapper’s possible motives. About what’s happened in the years since she and Abby parted ways.
As the truth closes in, Abby realizes that her past may not be as far behind as she thought…and it’s come home to collect.
It was the house of their dreams. Until the bodies were found . . .
BODIES FOUND UNDER PATIO
When pregnant Saffron Cutler moves into 9 Skelton Place with boyfriend Tom and sets about renovations the last thing she expects is builders uncovering a body – two bodies, in fact.
Forensics indicate the bodies have been buried at least thirty years. Nothing Saffy need worry herself over. Until the police launch a murder investigation and ask to speak to the cottage’s former owner – her grandmother, Rose.
Rose is in a care home and Alzheimer’s means her memory is increasingly confused. She can’t help the police but it is clear she remembers something.
A KILLER AT LARGE?
As Rose’s fragmented memories resurface, and the police dig ever deeper, Saffy fears she and the cottage are being watched.