Andy's wife is due to run a Perfect Parents course at the local school. But when she scarpers, he's left to look after their two teenage daughters - and face his own childhood demons.
Vanessa has found love, second-time round. But one night, six-year-old Sunshine is deposited on her doorstep with a message from Vanessa's estranged daughter, 'Please look after her'. This time she's determined to get it right.
Can Bobbie, Andy and Vanessa really learn the secret of raising a happy family?
At first glance the title of the book seems to be a bit misplaced as the three main families featured are anything but, they're completely disfunctional!
Bobbie may as well be a single parent from the amount of support she gets from her husband who's never at home leaving her with two very energetic and unruly children, Daisy and Jack, who are completely out of control. To make matters worse for Bobbie, her mother is embarrassed about her grandchildren's behaviour especially since she started dating child expert, Dr Know. Will Bobbie be able to get her children under control before the family dinner when she meets her mother's new boyfriend?
Her sister-in-law Pamela by comparison is the perfect mother, or so it would seem but as husband Andy soon finds out when Pamela goes away to look after her mother, appearances can be very deceptive. He's also shocked when he discovers that he'll need to step into her shoes and teach the perfect parent classes that she was due to run at the local school. After all with his own childhood history, what does Andy know about the perfect parent looks like?
Fifty-something Vanessa is finally starting to live her own life again, she runs a local second hand designer clothes shop and has recently started dating a nice guy Brian, so it comes as a total shock to her when a stranger turns up on her doorstep carrying her six-year-old granddaughter Sunshine. Will she be able to do a better job raising Sunshine than she did with her own daughter?
Although I'm not a parent myself I've been around many of my friends and their families over the years to realise that there is really no such thing as the perfect family, the world would be a boring place if that was the case. And as we see from the attendees of the two parenting classes featured in the book, not just the three main characters but the rest of the classmates too, everyone is in the same boat. It doesn't matter whether you're a parent on benefits or a millionaire, you're all here for the same reason to try and get some tips to help you bring up your children.
Despite there being quite a lot of different characters involved throughout the book, it's an easy enough storyline to follow although at over 500+ pages it's definitely not a quick read. Happy Families is now the third book I've read by the author under her new pen name Janey Fraser, all of which I've really enjoyed reading, so I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next.
I'd like to thank Arrow Publishing for sending me a copy of this book to review.