#Blogtour She, You, I by Sally Keeble

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour She, You, I by Sally Keeble

About the Author

Sally writes about the things she’s passionate about—the triumphs and tragedies of people’s everyday lives. It’s what originally took her into journalism and then politics, and keeps her active there still.

Growing up in a diplomatic family, she spent much of her early years in the USA, Switzerland and Australia, returning home to the UK after working as a journalist in South Africa. She made the switch from journalism to politics, first as a South London council leader during the turbulent 1980s and then as one of the big intake of Labour women MPs who changed the face of British politics in 1997. She became a minister in local government and then international development.

Itchy feet don’t stand still. After losing her seat, she set up an international development agency for the Anglican Communion, and travelled widely, especially in Africa and South Asia. She’s written nonfiction previously, especially on women’s issues and social policy, but “She, You, I” is her first novel. To learn about creative writing, she did courses with City Lit and Jericho Writers, and has had pieces of flash fiction shortlisted in competitions. 

Some of the storylines in “She, You, I” draw from insights gained from her personal and political life. Sally splits her time between Northampton, where she was MP, and Bawdsey, a village in coastal Suffolk close to her family roots. She and her husband Andrew have two adult children. Follow @Sally_Keeble on Twitter

About the book

When Skye Stanhope returns to her grandmother’s childhood home, she’s looking for the roots of her life story. Why her tough-minded granny Maisie ran away to war. And why her brilliant mother Isla died. Her search for the truth stretches across almost a century of conflict, peace, boomtime and bust, into the uneasy calm of post pandemic Britain.

“She, You, I” is the debut novel of Sally Keeble, a former journalist and MP. She has written non-fiction previously, focussing on social and feminist issues, and many of these themes run through her novel.

For Maisie, signing up to fight in the second world war provides a way to escape poverty and violence at home. But she finds herself caught up in new tragedy, and her unresolved grief is played out in the lives of her own daughters. It’s only in the third generation that her granddaughter Skye is able to heal the wounds. Woven through the women’s lives is Hsiao Ling, a seamstress whose ancestor disappeared in wartime France.

It’s an emotional journey, from a Scottish tenement to an airbase in wartime Suffolk, through London’s fashion and finance industries, to a coffee cart by the south coast. Through each woman’s story, “She, You, I” holds up a mirror to the complexity of family relationships and answers the question, How many generations does it take to recover from abuse.

For the author, “She, You, I” is a chance to explore in fiction some of the issues that she campaigned on during her time in politics. It shows how women’s lives have changed, and the challenges we’ve faced. It also tells a story of hope and reconciliation that aims to make readers laugh as well as cry.

Review

I have to admit it wasn’t what I expected or presumed it would be, which was a story about women, their loves, their children and grandchildren. A Catherine Cookson with plenty of upheaval and a fulfilling ending to the heartbreak and sorrow. Not that it wouldn’t have been a good read, but this is so much more.

The author picks apart the generational trauma that simmers quietly underneath and becomes evident in different ways, as the torch is passed through the decades and the changes in the world. How the love between mother and daughter can be both an unbreakable twine that defines their relationship, and simultaneously be a precarious string burdened by guilt, anger and disbelief. 

Also the way these emotions and trauma are passed on via the relationships, despite younger generations being unaware of said burden. The experiences of a child with their parent/s define the person they become and how they navigate their own lives, expectations and relationships moving forward.

I enjoyed the lack of drama, the way each era and daughter is written as their own scene and story almost. A staccato experience of chapters – Kodak moments of personalities and key moments or events. The author has captured the nuances and complexities with a brusque accuracy and also the often forgotten element of six degrees of separation. 

I really enjoyed it. I think it spoke to me because it didn’t focus on the reason for the destruction and cause of the trauma, but rather on the denial, coping mechanisms, and the way women have been taught to make do with the cards we are dealt. You made your bed, now you must lay in it. As the women in the family move beyond that mentality the strength and determination lets them create their intended path. Blood and family doesn’t mean loyalty and blind acceptance, especially if doing so means your own downfall.

Buy She, You, I at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Eleanor Press, pub date 11 Jan. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Blogtour The Things That We Lost by Jyoti Patel

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Things That We Lost by Jyoti Patel. Winner of the Merky Books New Writers Prize.

About the Author

Jyoti Patel was born in Paris to British Indian parents and grew up in North West London. She is a graduate of the University of East Anglia’s Prose Fiction MA and winner of the 2021 #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize. Her writing has previously been published as part of We Present’s ‘Literally’ series and in the anthology for the 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize, for which she was shortlisted. The Things That We Lost is her debut novel. Follow @Jyoti__Patel on Twitter

About the book

This moving coming of age story explores what it means to be a person of colour in Britain today, discussing themes of identity and the stories that we tell ourselves to manage trauma.

Nik yearns to know more about his father, who died before he was born. His mother, Avani, held hostage by her guilt surrounding his death, refuses to share any information with her son. Nik is forced to create a fragmented image of his father, pulled together from hushed whispers at family gatherings and photos stolen from his mother’s bedroom.

When his grandfather dies, secrets are revealed, and everything Nik thinks he knows about his father is turned on its head. Nik makes it his mission to discover the truth about his father and the circumstances of his death, uncovering painful truths in the process.

The Things That We Lost is a beautifully tender exploration of family, loss, and the lengths we go to, to protect the ones we love.

Review

A story of coming-of-age, a discovery of self, identity and truth. Yes, but simultaneously there is the silent repression that walks alongside the story of Nik in the form of his mother and her own truth.

It’s interesting how the entire group of family, friends become enmeshed in the structure of the invisible fabric Avani weaves around her life and her emotional lability. A lability that shows itself outwardly as strength – a simmering cauldron of denial and seething emotions. Keeping her son safe from the truth. Or is she?

Is the truth just another word for grief? For me this is what is at the core of the story, not just an examination of culture, lack of acceptance, ingrained systemic racism and inter-cultural traditions that clash with society norms that don’t demand or expect certain things in relationships.

It’s a fascinating read, but also a compassionate and introspective one. Take note of this name, I’m guessing you’ll be hearing more from and by this author in the future. The kind of talent that creates an atmosphere thick with emotion, unspoken words and heavy tension, and lays it all on top of thin layer of ice. Throughout the read you are waiting for the first crack, as the weight of the aforementioned begins to cause irreparable damage or is it just simply a release from guilt and pain.

Buy The Things That We Lost at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Merky Books pub date 12th January 2023 – £16.99, Audio, HBK, EBK. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Simple Truth by James Buckler

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Simple Truth by James Buckler.

About the Author

James Buckler lives in London. He has worked in film and TV for many years, most notably for MTV and BBC Films. His first thriller, Last Stop Tokyo, published to critical acclaim. The Simple Truth is his second novel. Follow @jamesbuckwriter on Twitter

About the book

A young woman is dead. A very wealthy client needs a favour. You’re newly qualified as a lawyer and this could be your big break, so you jump at the chance.

The case is about to be closed. All you have to do is talk to a family, ask them to sign some papers. How difficult could it be? Their daughter was found dead at a beauty spot on the outskirts of London in what you’re told was a tragic suicide. 

Only you can uncover what really happened. But the truth is never that simple. And this case could cost you your life…

Review

What’s the difference between the crime organisations that deal with the street and the corporate world that cross the occasional boundary? None at all really other than the fact corporate believe they have the moral high ground, due to their education and the nepotism that gives them a helping hand on their paths. Criminal is criminal, right?

When Lewis is picked for distasteful job of getting an NDA signed, by the boss of his form of all people. He thinks it’s a foot in the door to the top, he also presumes it’s because the top tier can see the potential in him. It takes him a while to figure out he is the low-class patsy that belongs neither here nor there, because one set of people won’t accept him because he works for the enemy and the enemy think he will never be good enough to be considered an equal.

Lewis is the perfect man in the middle, and the kind of character that readers feel sympathy for, as he stumbles right into a wasps nest with the best of intentions. Well, perhaps his ambition allows him to ignore the obvious.

It’s a legal thriller, which has the potential to be a series, as Lewis grows and becomes more secure in his self, his nose for crime, and his inadvertent interest in the truth.

Buy The Simple Truth at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bantam Press, pub date 5th January 2023 / Hardback / £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Different, Not Less by Chloé Hayden

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Different, Not Less: A neurodivergent’s guide to embracing your true self and finding your happily ever after by Chloé Hayden.

About the Author

Chloé Hayden is an award-winning actor and disability advocate, motivational speaker and social media influencer. Whose story of being ‘different, not less’ has attracted a worldwide following. She is currently appearing in Heartbreak High, the Netflix remake of the iconic Australian series. Follow @chloeshayden on Twitter

About the book

Growing up, Chloé Hayden felt like she’d crash-landed on an alien planet where nothing made sense. Eye contact? Small talk? And why are you people so touchoriented? None of it made sense. 

Chloé desperately wished to be part of the fairytales she so dearly loved. A world in which the lead is considered a hero because of their differences, rather than excluded and pushed aside for them. 

She moved between 10 schools in 8 years, struggling to become a person she believed society would accept. After years of being ‘weird, quirky, Chloé’ she was eventually diagnosed with autism and ADHD. It was only after a life-changing group of allies showed her that different did not mean less that she learned to celebrate her true voice and find her happily ever after.

Different, Not Less is a moving, at times funny story of how it feels to be neurodivergent as well as a practical guide, with insights on how autism and ADHD present differently in females, advice for living with meltdowns and shutdowns, tips for finding supportive relationships, communities and workplaces and much more.

Whether you’re neurodivergent or supporting those who are, Different, Not Less will inspire you to create a more inclusive world where everyone feels like they belong.

Review

Books like these are important – we need more of them. The views, experiences, suggestions and even wisdom of neurodivergent people should be used to educate, to widen horizons, to clear up misconceptions, and most importantly used to enhance the ever evolving scientific and medical research into the world of neurodiversity.

It’s one thing to look at data, statistics, behaviour patterns, the way they experience the world and stimuli around them, it’s quite another to do so without extensive feedback from the very people who live the day-today experience. It isn’t about getting answers that will lead to healing or correcting them to suit societal norms and expectations – I think that is often the crux and drive behind the way educational institutes, medical experts, and even the loved ones and friends they are surrounded by act towards them.

Unable to fit into the norm? Sorry, unable to meet your needs. The expectation is that they take the route of ABC, when their path is perhaps more of a BADC. Also the realisation that neurodivergent children and adults experience life on a vast variety of levels and how nuanced and layered it can be. Just as the neurotypical person is allowed to be an individual, so should the neurodivergent person be allowed to do the same. As the author says – they should feel free and safe to unmask and live openly with the stims, and all aspects of their diversity. Instead of having to control their true selves in certain environments just because it might make someone else uncomfortable.

I love the fact the book has such a positive feel to it. Embracing the neurodiversity and finding power in acknowledging that it is part of who you are, so let’s make sure we have the right tools and knowledge to be more at peace with self and happy. It’s a book of empowerment of taking ownership of self, and taking care of oneself in the process.

I really enjoyed the read, perhaps more so because it also gave me a much better perspective on what some of my loved ones experience, need, and how I can make it easier for them to live a less stressful and happier live by being there when they need me and in the way that they need me. What and how they need and not how I think they need me. 

I was looking forward to reading this and have been mentioning this book to plenty of people around me – it certainly is a book I will continue to recommend to others. 

Buy Different, Not Less at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: ‎Murdoch Books; pub date 5 Jan. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde illustrated by Philippe Jullian

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde illustrated by Philippe Jullian.

‘The complete collection, first published in 1952 with exquisite illustrations by the celebrated artist Philippe Jullian, republished in a beautiful giftable edition.’  

About the Author

Born in Dublin in 1854, Oscar Wilde was an Irish wit, playwright and poet best remembered for his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and his social comedies including The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). He published two volumes of beloved fairy tales. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and his two sons were born in 1885 and 1886. Wilde died in Paris in 1900.

About the book

For nearly 150 years, the classic fairy stories of Oscar Wilde have been cherished by readers of all ages. Rediscover all nine of the stories first published in The Happy Prince and other stories (1888) and A House of Pomegranates (1891) in this beautiful new edition of Duckworth’s exquisite 1952 complete collection, featuring intricate illustrations by the celebrated twentieth-century artist and aesthete Phillippe Jullian, and an afterword by Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland.

Review

I’ve read Wilde’s fairy stories before, quite often actually. Personally, I think they are exquisite, although Dorian Gray tends to get more attention overall, these are such memorable and often emotional stories. They are drawn from the ingrained folklore and stories Oscar grew up with. This is the 1952 edition republished, it contains beautiful illustrations by Philippe Jullian.

There is an afterword – a critical note – written by Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland, which gives insight into the inspiration behind these fairy stories. It might have made more sense to put it in the front, however this way you experience the story and draw your own conclusions. Either way it’s a fascinating insight.

It’s evident in these stories how deeply Wilde was able to connect with the emotions of his fellow humans, especially with those they like to keep hidden away from the world. He lays bare the vulnerability, the harsh truth and just how disconnected we can all be from each other, ergo capable of hurting each other and creating wounds that never quite heal.

It’s gorgeous edition, one I wouldn’t hesitate to buy for others. Side note – I just love The Happy Prince.

Buy The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde at Amazon Uk or Buy via Duckworth Books.

#Blogtour The Cruise by Catherine Cooper

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Cruise by Catherine Cooper.

About the Author

Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist writing for many national newspapers and magazines, specialising in travel. She also makes regular appearances as a talking head on daytime TV. She lives in France with her husband and two teenage children. 

Her debut thriller The Chalet was a top five Sunday Times bestseller and spent three weeks in the Kindle top 100. The Cruise is her third novel. Follow @catherinecooper on Twitter

About the book

A glamorous ship. A mysterious cast of passengers. And a New Year’s Eve party that goes horribly wrong…

During a New Year’s Eve party on a large cruise ship in the Caribbean, the ship’s dancer, Lola, disappears. The ship is searched, and the coastguard is called, but there is no sign of her, either dead or alive.

Lola was popular on the ship but secretive about her background, and as the mystery around her deepens, everyone on board becomes a suspect. Who was she arguing with the night she vanished? 

Why did she come aboard the cruise in the first place? What was she running from?

Review

A floating city of pleasure and luxury becomes the scene of a tragic accident or was it intentional, either way someone is missing. The aftermath reveals secrets, people hiding secrets, people using secrets to threaten others – overall it seems as if the disappearance of one person starts of a type of unravelling in other people. Is it guilt? A killer, a blackmailer or is there a bigger picture?

It’s a psychological thriller, a mystery with a sort of dual storyline, and the way they seem unconnected. The cruise ship, which in itself is an extravaganza of expensive living, and yet it is also becoming the scene of too many accidents and crimes. Simultaneously the story of a missing child, who reappears under traumatic circumstances with no memory of her life before she was taken.

The author does an excellent job of keeping the two stories completely separate for the majority of the book, so much so that the reader forgets one when they delve into the other, and vice-versa. Both so engrossing that there is no thought of why, or if they could be linked.

It’s an engrossing read, and certainly one that makes me want to read more.

Buy The Cruise at Amazon Uk or got to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins | pub date 10th November 2022 | PBO EB AUDIO. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The People Before by Charlotte Northedge

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The People Before by Charlotte Northedge.

About the Author

Charlotte Northedge is the joint Head of Books for the Guardian. Charlotte has previously written for a range of newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, Psychologies and Cosmopolitan. A journalist, she has an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature from Birkbeck and is an alumni of the Curtis Brown Creative writing course. The House Guest was Charlotte’s greatly acclaimed debut novel, published in 2021 by Harper Collins. Follow @charnorth on Twitter

About the book

What if your dream house became your worst nightmare? Jess and her husband need a new start. So when the chance to buy a rambling old house in the Suffolk countryside comes up, they leap at it.

But not everyone in Suffolk is welcoming. The locals know a secret about the Maple House, and soon, Jess realises they’ve made a huge mistake. Something bad happened in that house. Something nobody wants to talk about. Something to do with the people before…

Review

When paranoia is deep in your bones and fear is a constant companion, then I wonder if the advantages of moving into an isolated house with little or no ability to get help when you need it, are really worth all the added anxiety?

I think Jess knows that subconsciously, although she does a great job of trying to convince herself and her family of the positive side of a new start in life. A start that is a little bumpy and uncomfortable at times as she gets to know the locals, and her children attempt to fit in too. Her husband isn’t much help – spending more hours than usual at work, which means Jess and her young children are alone a lot.

That probably makes the odd atmosphere, the mysterious feeling that there is someone watching her, trying to scare her family, all the more intense and frightening.

It’s a psychological domestic thriller that starts with an ominous feeling and ends with quite a few surprises. Even in the first few chapters I found myself telling Jess not to leave her daughter in a room that scared her – to listen more closely to her fears.

It’s a story that is a lot like a knitted blanket someone is slowly unstitching before our eyes, as this psychological mystery and dark domestic thriller takes the reader down rabbit holes they might not have expected in this smooth image of a perfect family.

Buy The People Before at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Collins; pub date 10th November 2022 Hardback | Ebook | Audio | £14.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Harper Collins.

#BlogTour One Woman’s War by Christine Wells

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour One Woman’s War by Christine Wells.

About the Author

Christine Wells writes historical fiction featuring strong, fascinating women. From early childhood, she drank in her father’s tales about the real kings and queens behind popular nursery rhymes and she has been a keen student of history ever since. She began her first novel while working as a corporate lawyer and has gone on to write about periods ranging from Georgian England to post World War II France.

Christine is passionate about helping other writers learn the craft and business of writing fiction and enjoys mentoring and teaching workshops whenever her schedule permits. She loves dogs, running, the beach and fossicking for antiques and lives with her family in Brisbane, Australia. Follow @ChristineWells0 on Twitter

About the book

From the author of Sisters of the Resistance comes the story of WWII British Naval Intelligence officer Victoire Bennett, the real-life inspiration for the James Bond character Miss Moneypenny, whose international covert operation is put in jeopardy when a volatile socialite and Austrian double agent threatens to expose the mission to German High Command.

World War II London: When Victoire “Paddy” Bennett first walks into the Admiralty’s Room 39, home to the Intelligence Division, all the bright and lively young woman expects is a secretarial position to the charismatic Commander Ian Fleming. But soon her job is so much more, and when Fleming proposes a daring plot to deceive the Germans about Allied invasion plans, he requests the newlywed Paddy’s help. She jumps at the chance to work as an agent in the field, even after the operation begins to affect her marriage. But could doing her duty for King and country come at too great a cost?

Socialite Friedl Stöttinger is a beautiful Austrian double agent determined to survive in wartime England, which means working for MI-5, investigating fifth column activity among the British elite at parties and nightclubs. But Friedl has a secret—some years before, she agreed to work for German Intelligence and spy on the British.

When her handler at MI-5 proposes that she work with Serbian agent, Duško Popov, Friedl falls hopelessly in love with the dashing spy. And when her intelligence work becomes fraught with danger, she must choose whether to remain loyal to the British and risk torture and execution by the Nazis or betray thousands of men to their deaths.

Soon, the lives of these two extraordinarily brave women will collide, as each travel down a road of deception and danger leading to one of the greatest battles of World War II

Review

I often wonder, especially after reading stories like this one, regardless of whether they are fictional or not, how many people are still bound by the Official Secrets Act and the operations they took part in during the war. How many secrets have died with brave people who risked everything for their country or did things in the name of patriotism.

How many men and women who just melded back into society as if nothing had ever happened, knowing that their stories who probably go untold forever. I think abiding by the rules of stumm is possibly even more impressive, than having a secret past as a spy, operative or an invisible face who steered events in a certain direction.

Paddy is used to a life of privilege and perhaps luckily also gifted with the talent of being able to improvise on the spot, which comes in handy when she is stranded on the other side of the channel on the cusp of France surrendering to the Nazi regime. A path that leads her into the inner sanctum of secret operatives fighting to keep the country and its people safe.

Simultaneously Friedl is being forced to choose between keeping her loved ones safe or betraying a country she knows little about. The women cross paths and are drawn into a dark world of suspicion, secrets and double bluffs.

It’s an interesting venture into historical war fiction. Fictional, and yet believable.

Buy One Woman’s War at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: William Morrow – Harper360, pub date 4 Oct 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside? by Max Lobe

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside? by Max Lobe, translated by Ros Schwartz.

About the Author

Max Lobe was born in Douala, Cameroon. At eighteen he moved to Switzerland, where he earned a BA in communication and journalism and a master’s in public policy and administration. In 2017, his novel Confidences won the Ahmadou Kourouma Prize. Other books by the author include 39 Rue de Berne and A Long Way From Douala published by Small Axes in 2021. Max Lobe lives in Geneva. Follow @maxlobe3 on Twitter

About the book

The narrator, Mwana, is a young man from Bantuland, living in Geneva. A graduate from a Swiss university, we first encounter Mwana waiting for a bus in the hills of Lugano gazing at a poster calling for “black sheep” to be sent home. 

Mwana’s efforts to find work are fruitless until he lands an internship in an NGO campaigning against racial discrimination. The team is busy organising a demonstration against the black sheep poster. Mwana has one foot in each culture. He sees Swiss society through African eyes, with all its contradictions: its moderation, stunning landscapes and its eccentricities, but also its intolerance and inflexibility. 

He also casts a critical eye on his native Africa, the weight of its traditions and beliefs. Is belonging nowhere the price Mwana has to pay for these insights?

Sad and playful Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside? is a moving reflection on the immigrant experience. 

Review

This is an interesting one, a little bit like a pulsing heart with a variety of arteries leading away from it in different directions. Mwana at the core – the heart, and the arteries represent origin country, new domicile, experiences of xenophobia and racism, experience of homophobia – there are so many nuances to the life of Mwana. 

In essence it is the story of immigration, which is often a difficult process in itself, but when the experience of the immigrant is seen through the lens of the racism, xenophobia and homophobia it’s an explosive situation that places a deep burden of fear, rejection and anger on the person involved.

It’s hard to explain the experience to someone who has never lived that kind upheaval before. Origin country is still home, despite both negative and positive connotations, new country is the unstable variant of home. Being surrounded by constant reminders of being unwanted and always being on high alert – it creates anger, depression and a sense of hopelessness.

Simultaneously it’s also a story about faith, hope, and unfortunately also sadly the snake eating its own tail when it comes to systems being in place to support those in need, including those who have an unintended stumble through no fault of their own. The brick walls they hit along the way, even from people who know what they are going through, it’s no wonder a certain cynicism develops after a while.

It’s definitely a read between the lines and a look closely at the real state of affairs kind of book. Good read. I think the most poignant point is that no matter where Mwana goes they feel as if adjusting will never be enough. No amount or how hard they try to assimilate to society will change the way the world reacts to him.

Buy Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside at Amazon Uk. Publisher: ‎Small Axes – Hope Road Publishing pub date 25 Aug. 2022. Buy via Hope Road.

#BlogTour Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Cat Lady by Dawn O’Porter.

About the Author

Dawn O’Porter lives in Los Angeles with her husband Chris, her two boys Art and Valentine, cats Myrtle and Boo.

Dawn is the bestselling author of the novels The Cows and the Richard and Judy Book Club pick So Lucky, and her non-fiction title Life in Pieces was also a Sunday Times bestseller.

Dawn started out in TV production but quickly landed in front of the camera, making numerous documentaries that included immersive investigations of Polygamy, Size Zero, Childbirth, Free Love, Breast Cancer and the movie Dirty Dancing.

Dawn’s journalism has appeared in multiple publications, and she was the monthly columnist for Glamour magazine. She is now a full-time writer of eight books, designs dresses for Joanie Clothing, loves Instagram, and has a large following on her Patreon blog. Follow @DawnOPorter on Twitter

About the book

Single – Independent – Aloof – Cunning – Agile – Cannot be tamed

We’ve all known a cat lady – and we’ve probably all judged her too. But behind the label – the one that only sticks to women – what if there’s a story worth nine lives?

Told with Dawn’s trademark warmth, wit and irreverence, CAT LADY is a story about defying labels and forging friendships. It’s for the cat lady in all of us – because a woman always lands on her feet . . .

Review

I remember reading Cows and being surprised by the insight and the depth, despite the joviality and grandstanding it created a complete picture of a woman or women – as does this story.

The multi-faceted nature of each individual, which is often hidden behind the mask our society demands. Day in and day out, just shifting the expected mask ever so slightly depending on who they are interacting with. There is this expectation that we adapt to every situation and person, which is something Mia is expected to do on a daily basis.

I can imagine this story will resonate differently depending on the reader, perhaps because some of us can see the tragedy, sadness and often this ingrained loneliness in her. Others will find her often eccentric (sorry, that is definitely patriarchal lingo for strong women) and even quite funny at times.

What’s wrong with having a great friend, who happens to be a cat, and not having many human friendships? Isn’t it much safer to rely on the disdain and lack of appreciation of the feline persuasion, than to open oneself up to the possibility of rejection? When you come second to your husband, his ex-wife, and the list goes on, then the reliability of an animal who wants nothing more than food and occasionally a little attention.

It’s interesting how this story can be a bit of a crossroads when it comes to the emotional sphere – classic stabs of reality mixed in with the fictional story. 

Buy Cat Lady at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Collins; pub date 27th October 2022 | HB | EB | Audio. Buy at Amazon com.