Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Guest Book Review: Rosie Fiore - Wonder Women

Reviewed by Lisa Bentley

Jo has always dreamed of starting her own business, but the arrival of her two gorgeous toddlers has put her ambition on the backburner. Then she hits on a brilliant idea – a kids’ clothing shop with a twist – and is thrilled when it really takes off. When husband Lee offers to quit his job to look after the family while her business grows, it seems a godsend – but will their marriage stand the test of reversing their roles? 

Jo soon recruits Holly and Mel to help her in the shop. Designer Holly’s high-flying career has come crashing down and she’s moved back home – but is she ready to manage a major family crisis? Meanwhile, Mel worries her teenage daughter Serena is going off the rails. Is finding out more worth risking her daughter’s trust?  

At the crossroads of their lives, friendship could be the only the thing keeping these wonder women strong.

What do you do when your life changes so dramatically that you stop being the person you once were? Sound cryptic? Let me put it to you a different way. What do you do when the prospect of being a stay at home mum leaves you feeling claustrophobic? And what do you do if you have a lot of wonderful creative ideas just bursting from you daily? Don’t know? Then meet Jo. 

Jo was in that position. Educated, talented and successful, Jo was very career minded before getting married and having kids got in the way. Sounds pretty harsh when you say it like that and some people may be happy with that choice but some aren’t. Jo feels like she has lost some of herself and her life is compartmentalised into categories of mum and wife. 

However, one night an idea comes to Jo that is far too good to not pursue. The opening of a 
children’s clothes store with a twist. She enlists the help of Mel and Holly (whose own strands of stories help flesh out the novel) and the shop becomes a roaring success.

But does her success come at a price? Is it true that you can’t have it all? These ‘Wonder Women’ certainly answer these questions.

I will admit it, from what I knew about Wonder Women beforehand I wasn’t super keep to read it. The lives of these characters were so far removed from my current situation I worried whether or not I would be able to relate to these mums and wives whose problems and worries I have never had to think about. Boy was I wrong to prejudge this story. 

Without a doubt the driving force in Wonder Women are the characters. This in no way should imply that the story is weak because it definitely isn’t. However, the characters are so perfectly fleshed out that even the secondary characters seem to jump off the page. Jo is driven, thoughtful and emotional suffering from feelings of guilt and worry that she can’t add successful business woman to her list of attributes without becoming a terrible wife and mother; Mel faces the ever challenging task of being a good parent to a sulky, sullen teenager and Holly is the single vibrant bohemian type who is essentially trying to piece her life back together after heartbreak and upheaval. 

This book is chock full of reality. Real life, real situation and real feelings. The energy and pace of the novel is helped by the ‘now/then’ time frame and you genuinely become involved in the characters’ lives; wanting them to do well and frowning upon them when you know that they are out of order. The cast are enchanting and easy to like. The charm in this novel is the overall idea of hope. Good things can happen when you set your mind on something, it is a book that I would recommend to anyone but in particular those who maybe feel trapped in their role as a stay at home parent, and especially those parents who feel guilty about having those thoughts. 

Overall, I would say that Wonder Women by Rosie Fiore is a very inspirational story.

I'd like to thank Margot at Quercus for sending us a copy of this book to review and Lisa for reviewing it for the blog.  Amazon links: Paperback or Kindle

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