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About the Author
Kate Field writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire where she lives on the edge of the moors with her husband, daughter and cat. Her debut novel won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Joan Hessayon Award for new writers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 to 3.25 stars Mary has always, since the age of 8, searched for a family, security and the surety that nothing will change. During this time she’d married, given up her opportunity for a university degree, studied and worked on her husband’s work, and managed to divorce herself from her own emotions – being the giver in all things. When her (very selfish) husband decided he was coming out – without actually telling her anything, just making an appearance with his new partner at a school function, Mary is devastated and lost. Convinced that the ‘rumors’ of her ‘turning him gay’ have impacted all of her life – all of her eggs were in one basket with a cowardly man who didn’t bother to respect her: and she expected NO DIFFERENT. See – this is where I had the niggles of a first difficulty with Mary. She didn’t expect anything better or more for herself – she even made excuses for Leo’s despicable behavior, his selfishness, his disregard for all of the research, editing and rewriting she’d done to ‘improve’ his life and career – never giving a thought to herself. But – I digress – for there are two brothers: Leo, the one she married, and Ethan – the one she would (had she ever allowed herself to ‘feel’ anything) have loved. Or does love. But she’s so consumed with self-recrimination and blaming her mother for being ‘judgmental’, and worried what the neighbors will think that her tentative forays into self-actualization are stunted and often wrong-footed. Fortunately, the people in Mary’s life: from the rather secretive mother-daughter duo who have an unpublished novel from one of Mary’s favorite Victorian-era writers who happens to be her ex-husband’s holy grail, to her ex-mother in law and friend who is gently pushing her and Ethan together, to her mother with a ‘secret’ that really wasn’t a huge surprise with all of Mary’s obsession about her father disappearing when she was 8 and how she allowed her fear of abandonment and upheaval taint her entire life. Get along by going along was more the epitaph of her life – her own lack of confidence, fear of emotion, and worry about gossip had put her into a box, and she sealed it tight. What emerges is a very slow and far too long overdue series of challenges and choices that have Mary actually finding her own two feet and moving forward. All of the paths were marked for the best choices – she just had to be brave enough to take them. And finally, she does. While I do know that people will wallow and hide from situations, afraid of the changes that are required, Mary’s iron-clad grasp on “what she’d always done” was a tenacious one. Yet, the story made me want to see just how she’d finally move forward (if at all) and whether or not she’d actually realize that her anger, fear and longing were viable and useful emotions, not just things to fear. With a few passages that almost had me throwing the book aside in frustration as the “turned him gay” theme reappeared – a solid prejudice that has no basis in what I considered a relatively intelligent and thoughtful woman, the attempts to make the family relationships continue and gain some sort of ‘normalcy’ in a very unusual circumstances, Field’s writing never lost track of the growth and revelations that Mary needed to face on her way to tomorrow. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Mary Black's comfortable life is blown apart when she sees her husband (and childhood sweetheart) holding hands with another man at a Christmas Party. Suddenly her marriage to the boy next door is a sham and she finds herself not only the subject of small town gossip but separated from a man who was her best friend as well as her husband. Juggling her 'marvellous' mother-in-law, who still lives next door, her mother, who lives in a converted garage attached to Mary's house, two teenage children, her soon-to-be ex-husband Leo, his brother Ethan, and his lover Clark, the dog Dotty, her BFF Daisy and the promotion for Leo's book on the little known Lancastrian author Alice Hornby, Mary tries to please everyone all the time, after all that's what she's done practically her whole life, until Ethan points out that her life has been beige. As the book progresses we see the secrets and lies that have pushed Mary down her life's path. The incidents that have shaped her behaviour and coloured her attitude towards others. I have to say by the end of the book the only character that I felt came out well was Ethan, everyone else appeared to behave very badly, to lie, and to keep secrets for, that terrible cliche, 'her own good'. Leo, in particular, seemed to be a cheating, selfish, egotistical, lazy waste of space - personally I would have set fire to his car. Mary on the other hand appeared to be a complete doormat, I did wonder if Mary would have been so accepting/forgiving if Leo had left her for another woman, and I did want to shake her at times and tell her to get a job. I also thought there were too many coincidences, things tied together too neatly and everyone turned out not to be so bad after all, maybe its because Mary resolved her issues from the past. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this novel. I liked the unravelling of past secrets, I liked the romance and I liked the Alice Hornby sleuthing. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.