White Lies & Wishes by Cathy Bramley

White Lies & Wishes by Cathy Bramley

Author: Cathy Bramley
Publisher: Corgi/Transworld (kindle edition)
Release Date: 26 January 2017
Genre: Romance Comedy

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The Blurb: What happens when what you wish for is only half the story…?

Flirtatious, straight-talking Jo Gold says she’s got no time for love; she’s determined to save her family’s failing footwear business.

New mother Sarah Hudson has cut short her maternity leave to return to work. She says she’ll do whatever it takes to make partner at the accountancy firm.

Bored, over-eating housewife Carrie Radley says she just wants to shift the pounds – she’d love to finally wear a bikini in public.

The unlikely trio meet by chance one winter’s day, and in a moment of ‘Carpe Diem’ madness, embark on a mission to make their wishes come true by September.

Easy. At least it would be, if they hadn’t been just the teensiest bit stingy with the truth…

With hidden issues, hidden talents, and hidden demons to overcome, new friends Jo, Carrie and Sarah must admit to what they really, really want, if they are ever to get their happy endings.

The Review: 

Cathy Bramley has done it again. The author of Ivy Lane and The Plumberry School of Comfort Food has returned with a light and frothy, yet inspirational tale.

It takes no time at all to get attached to the three lead characters Jo, Sarah and Carrie. The trio are thrown together by fate when they meet at a funeral.

As they chat to each other it becomes apparent that they all want to get more out of life and they decide to set themselves goals to reach in just 9 months time. Business woman Jo wants to save her family business, accountant and new mum Sarah wants to be partner at her firm and bored housewife Carrie wants the bikini body of her dreams.

From the outset it is obvious that there is more to these women than what they are telling each other. Jo is a workaholic, who’s father told her that there is no space for love and business, just as Sarah cut short her maternity leave to return to work and leave husband Dave at home with baby Zac hates that she is missing out on a daily basis. Then there is Carrie, the character I related to straight away. On the surface she wants to lose weight, but underneath there is a hotbed of bottled up emotions of being hurt that she keeps locked away and finds herself pushing her husband Alex and anyone who even tries to be nice to her away.

Sarah is sure that everything will be better when she makes partner, is that what she really wants though? Aware of just how much she is missing out at home she begins to question her whole work ethic. A shadow of her real self she has a lot of questions to ask of herself before she can move forwards in her career and her marriage.

Jo blossoming from being a sharp and sarcastic singleton into a softer, humbler version of herself and opening her heart to the idea of love, and not just a ‘good’ time, she realises that life is too short to just work the whole time. Much of her growth comes from meeting Sarah and Carrie.

Watching Carrie grow from being a timid, unsure of herself housewife – using food for solace into a person willing to shed her dress and stand on top of the Empire State Building has been an honour and I truly wish that she was a real person I knew.

However, everything is not hunky dory. Along the way Jo almost loses her business, and her closest colleague. Sarah’s baby Zac is hospitalised when she’s at a meeting and while out shopping Carrie sees her husband with another woman, jumping to the conclusion that he’s having an affair.

At each event I could feel my heartbreak for these ladies. And as Carrie opened up about Alex my stomach flipped as I could feel her anguish.

This is where Cathy excels. Her talent in crafting characters that you feel could be your next door neighbour and giving them struggles and the opportunity to grow on the page. The way that the three every different women join together and help each other through thick and thin is a joyous thing to read.

The first of Cathy’s next series of novellas Lemon Tree Cafe lands in March. I can’t wait.

 

 

Flying by the Seat of My Knickers

Flying by the Seat of My Knickers

cover90589-mediumAuthor: Eliza Watson
Publisher: Elizabeth Watson
Published: 20 February 2016

The Blurb:  Why run from your troubles when you can fly instead?

When Caity Shaw is fired from her first job that doesn’t require an elf uniform, her older sister, Rachel, an event planner, hires her to work a meeting in Dublin. Caity jumps at the opportunity to travel abroad and escape her pathetic life. However, even four thousand miles from home, there’s no avoiding debt collectors, an overbearing mother, and haunting memories of a controlling ex.

While in Dublin, Caity suffers a series of humiliating mishaps, causing her to lose even more faith in herself. Caity struggles to earn Rachel’s respect – and to keep Declan, her hot Irish coworker, at arm’s length. Declan repeatedly saves Caity’s butt and helps boost her self-confidence, making it difficult to keep her distance from the charming womanizer. When Declan helps her research her Irish grandmother, Caity discovers the mysterious past of the courageous woman she barely knew might hold the answers to her future.

The Review: The cover of this novelette is just gorgeous, if I hadn’t been captured by the title this image would have pulled me in. Not necessarily linked to the bulk of the story, but I don’t think a conference room with a girl dressed as a bratwurst in a bun would have had quite the same effect!

My first impression of Caity is that she is a clutz. A true bafflement. She is intelligent, but has no real aim or reason for being. Caity is currently in Dublin, helping her sister Rachel with a promotion event. She’s not there through choice, and it wasn’t her sister’s idea either. Nope, this is down to her mother. Caity has recently had a bad breakup, and with one thing and another she managed to lose her job. Emotionally and financially low, and her only other work experience being that of Santa’s little helper in a mall the decision was made on her behalf to help her event-planning queen of a sister out on this occasion.

I think it is fair to say that Rachel is somewhat apprehensive about having her sister on the team. Unaware of the reasons for her losing her last job, she and her right-hand woman Gretchen sees her as a disadvantage and hindrance. Thankfully Caity finds an ally in Declan, an easy on the eye local with a silver tongue, obviously the by product of kissing the Blarney Stone when he was a nipper.As is par for the course these days Caity is off the market, past experiences have put her off men and rocked her trust and confidence for the foreseeable future. Declan, somehow, is able to see over her thorny wall and sees her potential. Slowly we see the true Caity reveal herself to those around her.

Flying by the Seat of my Knickers is a story of discovery. About finding yourself when your back is against the wall, about where you come from, also the importance of family – even when you are 4,000 miles away from home.

This was a lovely book, light but full of heart.

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