Let me introduce you to the Symthe household - there’s me Samantha, my husband, John the Second and our two children, Bennie and Jamie. And then there’s my eldest son Edward from my first marriage. I love my family to bits but I do sometimes wonder if a non-nuclear family can ever be a "real" family. Every now and then I lose my cool and start shouting like a mad woman until John has to take me upstairs and calm me down.
Being a mum is never easy and last summer it all got a whole lot more complicated when my ex-husband John the First, turned up at our house for the first time in three years. The real reason for his unexpected appearance was Edward. John wanted to get to know him better and Edward in turn thought it was marvellous that he now had two dads living with him. I on-the-other-hand, began to feel that I was slowly disappearing out sight.
Suddenly, our chaotic but loving home was teetering on the verge of collapse.
Kathryn - 5 Star
I picked this book up in the sale section at the bookstore and honestly had no idea what it was about but kind of liked the title and the cover. I actually do (frequently in fact) get sucked in by a cover- it’s true.
I didn’t know that the novel was English and for me this just added to the charm of the characters. The realities of living in a village with the ins and outs of everyone knowing everyone else’s business, from marital affairs to how many loaves of bread your family gets through in a week, were perfectly delivered.
The most interesting aspect though was seeing into the life of another family with some of the same challenges I’m sure many people face. I laughed so many times about things just because they were so familiar and it reminded me of the positive aspects of little ones instead of being bogged down in the daily monotony of trying to wrangle your little people into submission. Sometimes it’s just a much better idea to laugh and read a good book when your toddler prefers to sit in pee than use the potty!
Cavendish’s characters are flawlessly creative, kids and adults alike. I loved her blended family concept being seamlessly the norm and the way she brought back in father number one to throw a wrench into her main character’s daily chaos. I particularly loved that husband one and husband two had the same name! Samantha’s lists were hilariously accurate and her relationship with her husband mirrored my own in many ways. I giggled and felt better about myself all throughout the story!