Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Hole in the Middle by Kate Hilton

5 Star

Sophie Whelan is the epitome of the modern super woman. When she operates at peak performance, she can cajole balky employees, soothe her cranky children, trouble-shoot career disasters, throw a dinner party for 10, and draft an upbeat Christmas letter—all in the same day.

But as Sophie’s 40th birthday looms, her seamless life reveals disturbing web-like fractures. Conflict with her boss, blossoming jealousy of her husband’s femme fatale business partner, and her feelings of hopeless inadequacy as a mother and daughter, are cracking the edifice of her life.

Rescue may be at hand when Lillian Parker, a wealthy widow who befriended Sophie during her university days, makes Sophie an irresistible offer. Why, then, does Sophie hesitate? The answer is the reappearance of Lillian’s nephew, Will Shannon, the great unresolved love of Sophie’s life. As she remembers the vivid drama of their college romance, Sophie confronts the choices she has made in life and in love and looks for the one answer that has always eluded her: what does she really want?

Kathryn - 5 Star

Kate Hilton’s novel was completely engrossing and all consuming- I felt like she was talking directly to me. I won’t pretend that I’m half as busy with a career as Sophie and I don’t have to negotiate some of the things she had to with her husband. But even without an office to go to I do find that the negotiation of timing regards to child care with your spouse takes over your life even more than the children themselves invariably do. 

I loved that Sophie was a force to be reckoned with at her job and wished for her that she could take a little space to enjoy the amazing things in her life.  Her mother’s little probes into her taking care of herself rang so true with me too- every parent has to balance their responsibilities with their family time and The Hole In The Middle really explored every aspect of this while remaining incredibly funny.  Sophie’s internal rating system to prioritize an action was hysterical- I don’t think I have the head space (even on a good day) to add up those numbers and come up with an action plan!  It just goes to show how many things run through women’s heads!  The most intense stress is obviously with Sophie’s husband but it’s so far down on the totem pole of things to deal with that it doesn’t become clear until the end of the novel that they’re not even aware of the other’s stresses. That easily happens in my house so I’m sure we’re not the only ones getting buried beneath our own “stuff”.

I laughed out loud a lot reading about Sophie’s life (and then got worried about the stress we’re all under!) - I am so pleased I read it and should probably re-read it every year as a bench mark on how we’re all managing our loads in our house. With all the joy in the things we do there should be an equal moment to sit back and enjoy it.

Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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