Friday, November 23, 2018

Mum in the Middle by Jane Wenham-Jones

4 Star

Tess has downsized to a lively new town and is ready for “me” time. But her Zen-like calm is tested by her boomerang offspring, who keep fluttering back to the nest (usually with a full bag of dirty washing) and by her elderly mother’s struggle to hold on to her independence.
Tess is also surprised to discover that there are dark resentments simmering beneath the vintage charm of her new hometown and a spate of vandalism has exposed the rift between the townsfolk and new arrivals like Tess.
Tess enlists the help of gruff newspaper editor Malcolm to get to the bottom of the mystery but when her ex-husband pays an unexpected visit and her mother stages a disappearance, Tess starts to feel her new-found freedom wearing just a little thin…

Kathryn - 4 Star

I really enjoyed this story.  I have medium sized  children and though I'm not yet at the point of being needed by both the generation before and the one after me I could appreciate Tess' position as being sandwiched in the middle.  

The book is funny and poignant but also has some serious moments of frustration and realism.  Tess' juggling seemed frantic at times. The moments when she was constantly feeding an ever changing number of people and the people staying with her requiring constant sheet changing made me dizzy.  On the other hand I knew that she also loved having her children home with her.  But a little alone time and quiet to work could have been nice!

I was also pleased with her romantic liaisons-  while not the focus of the plot for me I still thought they brought something special to the story.  But particularly lovely for me were the bonds developed with Tess' new friends in her new town- she's such a friendly and accepting woman and it was nice to see that she made good friends with the right people and that they were each strong women in their own right.

Thank you to Harper Impulse for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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