Reviewed by Janine Cobain
Ever wish you could leave all your problems behind and make a fresh start somewhere else? Trade the stresses and strains of everyday life for your own slice of sun-kissed paradise on the other side of the world?
Jamie and Laura Newman certainly have.
When Jamie's spectacular meltdown at work results in him being handed his P45, and Laura finds her working days end up with her rugby tackling defenceless pensioners in the high street, a move ten thousand miles away sounds ideal. After all, it might mend some of the cracks that have appeared in their marriage over the past few months...
So when Laura is offered a new job in Australia, the Newman family think their dreams have come true. But as the old saying goes - be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. As the hapless couple soon find out, problems have a way of following you, no matter how far you go to avoid them.
Can love survive under different skies?
Love… Under Different Skies is the story of Jamie and Laura Newman, and their three year old daughter, Poppy. Written, alternately, from the point of view Jamie as a blog and Laura as a diary entry to her mum, it gives a realistic insight in to how situations are viewed differently from the male and female psyche.
Having moved to Australia the traditional roles are reversed and Laura becomes the breadwinner which, eventually, begins to irritate them both for different reasons. Their relationship is tested to breaking point and they strive to fix things before it is too late, for the sake of their daughter, if not themselves.
You would expect this kind of story to be dramatic, tense, and emotional, and it is; the climb up to Springbrook National Park was so terrifyingly realistic I had to put the book down and walk away as my nerves were shot! It was only after I reasoned with myself that I was only half way through the book and the chances of their survival were high that I could pick it back up.
However, due to Nick Spalding’s brilliant writing style, he manages to give every day happenings a rip-roaring, side-splitting, hilarious edge. These are situations we either have found, or easily imagine, ourselves in although the cling-film saga was a stroke of cringe-inducing genius… I’ll let the book tell you that story.
I had to apologise to my husband, after trying to read extracts to him, for screeching out lines in a voice so high-pitched only the dog could hear while tears of laughter streamed down my face. The book cover boasts that the novel is ‘Laugh Out Loud’ funny which I had viewed with some scepticism, I mean, how often do we actually LOL?? Well I LOL’d more than I have ever LOL’d before reading a novel.
When reviewing a book I often fold the page to mark a particularly good part; a snappy line, an excellent descriptive, or memorable moment, but I gave up doing that as every page contained something wonderful.I thoroughly enjoyed this book – it should possibly carry a warning for people on public transport ‘Do not be alarmed, this person is sane but the book is THAT funny’… I looked crazy in the privacy of my own front room.
A further delight is that this book is actually the third in a series following Jamie and Laura, and while reading this as a standalone book as perfectly fine, I will go back and read the others. My recommendation would be buy and read all three, if this one was any indication, you will not be disappointed. Just make sure you have waterproof mascara, plenty of tissues and, if required, tena ladies. You have been warned.
I'd like to thank Veronique at Hodder & Stoughton for sending us a copy of this book and Janine for reviewing it for me.