Always You – Erin Kaye

Back in their university days Sarah and Cahal were the Romeo and Juliet of their time, plotting to marry despite opposition from their very different families. Fast forward twenty years to the present day and we wonder why it never happened, why Sarah is a divorced mother of 2 and Cahal is a divorced father of 3 in Australia. When Cahal is seconded back to Northern Ireland for a few months the past is faced and family mysteries solved. Can Sarah trust again?

Kooks for your Kindle?– There are some lovely characterisations, it really seemed like the characters existed first and then determined the plot, rather than the other way around (not always the case!). Standouts include Sarah’s former mother-in-law, who is in a care home and still adored by Sarah. Her ex-husband Ian and his ill-chosen new wife are well done too, especially as Ian misconstrues Sarah’s caring for his mother as an indication of another chance for them. Sarah’s little sister is no longer so little but that doesn’t stop Sarah from mothering her, keeping a promise made years before.

Cahal has changed a lot since being the teen bad boy, he’s a loving Dad torn between his kids in Australia and the love of his life in Ballyfergus. The state of his parents and siblings is pretty horrifying, as is their desperation. It was good to have some parts of the story told from his point of view, as well as that of Ian.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Sarah struggled to rebel against the disapproval of her family back in the day, and old habits seem to die hard. It’s hard to see her bow down when faced with what seems to be unreasonable demands from her father and aunt, but as it turns out, there’s more to it. Thankfully she’s more assertive in her dealings with her ex-husband, while somehow remaining supportive.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– Geographically speaking, we are set in Ballyfergus, Northern Ireland, same as we were for Second Time Around, a pretty coastal town (and possibly fictional). We also have snippets in Australia, but the main image left having finished the book is that of modern families, how parents separate and join with other parents to make big combined families. The tale also touches on the logistics of such a set up, especially when spread across the world.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s something of a present day retelling of Austen’s classic Persuasion, with added step-families, emigration, substance abuse and other more timely issues. Ultimately though, the essential questions remain; are the couple still meant to be, and can they overcome their differences. The characters were very well done, with rich detail in the history of their relations with each other, and lots of development over the course of the book. Although the romantic outcome wasn’t a surprise, the details of it and the underlying mystery were unpredictable. Totally recommended for a gripping romance/mystery/family drama.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Currently 99p on Amazon, not sure how long for.

US: Amazon for $1.99.

The Sweetness Of Forgetting – Kristin Harmel

Back over the Atlantic for a fabulous modern American frothy read with a few historic aspects. Recently divorced Hope is struggling; her pre-teen daughter Annie hates her, her family bakery is in dire financial straights, and her beloved grandmother Rose is succumbing to alzheimers. On a rare lucid day Rose writes a list of names and sets Hope a task- go to Paris and find out what happened to the rest of Rose’s family when she escaped her native city in world war two at the age of 17. Hope could never have imagined the amazing details she uncovers, facts that have her questioning who she is, where she comes from and whether she believes in love. Hope is assisted on her quest by her daughter and her friend Gavin- who’d clearly like to be more than just a friend- but when Rose takes a turn for the worse they all have to hurry to put the pieces of the puzzle together before it’s too late.

Kooks for your Kindle?– The supporting characters here are not of the kooky variety, but are certainly memorable. Hope’s insensitive ex-husband has a thing or two to learn about parenting, and her high-school ex is sniffing around trying to use his position at the bank to wheedle himself into her affections. Gavin is a gem, although Hope thinks he is too young for her (he’s 29, she’s 36), his job as handy-man hides other talents and his ideas are invaluable to Hope’s quest. The characters Hope meets along the way are beautiful people; kind, full of wisdom and priceless memories. To say more would give away parts of the tale. Annie is as prickly as you might imagine a 12 year old to be having gone through her parents’ divorce, but things change as she learns more of her family history.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Hope is slightly defeatist in her attitude to saving the bakery, but then she did always imagine herself as an attorney. But her attitude to love is the main focus, whether there is such thing as a Great Love, and The One. Her future begins to hinge on whether she can prove it exists. Hope’s upbringing and her marriage have beaten her down on this subject, so it takes a lot to change her mind!

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– The setting is Cape Cod, Massachusetts, busy in the summers, but quiet, cold and windy out of season. New England feels like part of the story- but not as much as the baking! Many delights are created at the bakery, originally established by Rose, and the food becomes a part of the investigation giving vital clues to what happened in Paris. There are a few flashback chapters to Paris, not too many, just enough to get a feel for the tragedies that happened there in the war.

Evaluation of your eBook?– This is a definite 5-cocktail rated read as far as I’m concerned, amazingly plotted with well paced twists and turns, and characters that you’ll care about immediately. I had my usual dilemma of which level of frothiness to use to classify it (it didn’t seem as frothy as the cover), it’s as readable as absolute froth, but the substance won out! It has the feel of a Jojo Moyes, and a few themes in common with The Girl You Left Behind but this is possibly a little easier to read. It’s clear that an enormous amount of research has gone into this work, and it’s so fulfilling to come away from a book and realise that you’ve accidentally learned something while being entertained. The main theme of love is thoughtfully explored, and it says a lot for this book that it made me cry- doesn’t happen often! If you like modern fiction with a good mystery, a bit of history and a hint of romance then this is one for you, I certainly couldn’t put it down.

Frothy Ranking: 5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.39 at the moment.

US: Sometimes on Amazon, price fluctuates.

What Have I Done? – Amanda Prowse

This is where we stretch our definition of Frothy slightly- I’ve included it because it’s a quick easy read, gripping, and cheap- but the subject nature is not frothy at all! Kathryn Brooker appears to lead a blessed life; wife of the charming and popular headmaster of a prestigious private boys school, two well-behaved teenage children, and not having to work other than maintaining their beautiful home. So why does she calmly stab him in the stomach and leave him to die, and why is she so relieved to be in jail? This happens at the very beginning of the book, so I don’t think I’ve spoiled the plot there. Over the next ten years we see chapters of her life from serving time, to her release, to finding her path, becoming the Kate she used to be, and trying to reconnect with her traumatised children.

Kooks for your Kindle?– You can probably already tell this book isn’t the type to have wacky side-kicks, but her best friend Natasha is a breath of fresh air within the serious subject matter. Fellow former ex-con Janeece makes a good contrast too, and there are a few other sensitively drawn characters, but the focus is on Kate. Her children are brought to life vividly, by someone who clearly knows teenagers. Her husband Mark has to be read about to be believed, especially how someone could be so charming and likable to his children, friends, and the outside world while being such a monster to his wife. I suspect he might be a psychopath, certainly by the end of the book you’ll be extremely understanding of Kate’s actions.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– A tricky one here, for twenty years Kate was the very definition of self-sacrificing, and I didn’t fully understand why. From a practical point of view, if she left him and involved the police, she surely would have kept her children. But from a psychological point of view her husband had manipulated and broken her to such a point that leaving was unthinkable. I’m not sure how the children didn’t hear anything for all those years. Her sister put it best when, as young women, she accused Kate of being like a character in a Famous Five novel- her life at the private school did nothing to expose her to the real world. Her joy at the relative liberty of jail was thought provoking, and her continued appreciation of freedom didn’t abate long after she was released.


Painting a picture for your paperback?– We dip into Kate’s life at various points, from snippets of her life under Mark’s control, to becoming a valuable member of prison society, to an amazing discovery in the Caribbean, and finding her calling back in the UK. All of which were evocatively described, especially the colourful Saint Lucia. I was surprised someone could get out of jail and immediately leave the country, maybe she wasn’t under parole conditions.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It’s hard to read stories about someone who’s downtrodden for any period of time, but fortunately we immediately know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Kate’s journey to regain the lost pieces of herself is fitting and poignant. It was very well written, apart from a couple of odd point of view changes towards the end (within the same passage), and Kate’s changing mental states were all effectively conveyed. The conclusion was just right, overall well worth a read for something quick and darker than your average frothy read.

Frothy Ranking: 3.5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Currently Amazon have it for £1.59, althought it was a even cheaper not long ago, click the price for the latest.

US: Amazon for $7.28

The Girl You Left Behind – Jojo Moyes

If you’ve read any of the author’s previous books (especially Me Before You) then you’ll know you’re in for an epic emotional roller-coaster ride with this one. What’s more, you get two stories for the price of one; firstly, in a German occupied world war one French village, Sophie and her sister battle to survive and keep their family cafe running. Both their young husbands are away fighting and rarely heard from apart from occasional messages via the resistance. When the local Kommandant takes a shine to a portrait of Sophie painted by her husband, things take a turn for the worse for the whole family.

In the other story in the present day, Liv is a young widow living in a spectacular home she can’t afford that was designed by her late husband David. When she takes a chance on love again with American art investigator Paul, he sets in motion events that risk the other legacy she has from David- the painting of The Girl You Left Behind- which is claimed by the family of the artist as being taken from them by the Germans during the war. As Liv risks everything and fights to keep the painting she loves so much, she uncovers its passionate, surprising and tragic history.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Not kooks as such, as this not very frothy, but some fun originals, such as laid-back, slightly gothic Mo, who rescues Liv from a bad date before becoming her (non-paying) lodger. Paul’s brother Greg works at a gay bar and is a great supporting character. Marianne, the much-married American previous owner of the painting, is particularly colourful.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– I love strong women characters, even in frothy books, and here are two for the price of one. In fact both could be said to be overly so, their stubbornness in their efforts to keep the things they love lead them to crazy decisions that put them in danger of losing everything. Sophie was always bold and fearless, we get a revealing glimpse of her pre-war life in Paris where she caught the eye of Edouard. Her self-destructive behaviour during the occupation is fueled by her blind determination to be reunited with him, but it brings her whole family into disrepute. For Liv it’s the final straw, she’s already at risk of losing her house, the expensive fight to keep the painting that means so much to her all but guarantees she will lose everything else, including the only man she’s had a connection with since her husband died. She too is blindly determined which helps her uncover the mystery, but makes her less easy to empathise with.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– Our usual categories can sometimes be very apt! The cover and title gave the impression of chicklit, but it was a little more substantial than that, the modern day sections could be described as that, but not the wartime parts. The two stories are told very differently, Sophie is told in the first person, and her desperation is clear. Liv is told from third person perspective and reads much more like a contemporary novel (not just because it’s set in modern day). The world war one period has been well researched and is told with rich detail, the scarcity of food, the brutality of the occupation, the icy winters, the small triumphs of secretly defying the oppressors, the lengths people are prepared to go to for survival. Liv’s modern life has much less hardship but is still a struggle, but there is some fun; especially her friends’ attempts to match-make.

Evaluation of your eBook?– It doesn’t quite pack the emotional wallop of Me Before You, possibly because it’s not just focused on two people, but the story has a much wider scope and is all the more epic for it. Personally I preferred the 1916 sections, they were a vivid insight into an interesting time where everything was heightened and I found Sophie more likable. While the ending concludes the story perfectly, it could actually also pave the way for a sequel as there’s more to tell. Hope we get to find out!

Frothy Ranking: 5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £4.99

US: Not currently available new on Amazon US, but check for updates.

Missing You – Louise Douglas

Missing You is a poignant tale of two lonely souls finding each other and trying to get on with their lives after heartbreak. Fen is a young single mum making ends meet by working in a book shop. Every day she’s still haunted by tragic events in her teens for which she feels responsible, involving her drug addicted brother Tomas and their friend Joe.

Sean has just been asked to leave his wife Belle and their daughter Amy, Belle does not want him any more and has already replaced him. Sean becomes Fen’s lodger, and the two broken people eventually connect. This was hard to classify on the frothy scale, as it was quick, cheap and readable, and yet serious in tone; I went with ‘much more substantial’ in the end.

Kooks for your Kindle?– A great selection of complex characters here, even the children. Fen’s four year old son Connor has mild cerebral palsy which slightly affects his walking, he’s as good as gold. Fen’s sister Lucy is becoming a new parent and is in denial about the accident that troubles Fen so much. Sean’s estranged wife Belle is a little self-centred and justifies her callous actions by accusing Sean of being uncommunicative, but of course their six year old daughter is stuck in the middle. There are plenty of well thought out tertiary characters, including Vincent, Fen’s friend and employer at the book shop, and Mrs Rees, devastated mother of Joe.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Both the main characters are so damaged it’s hard for them to to have any hope at first. Sean was so in love with his wife and when she moved her new lover in Sean didn’t make as much of a fuss as I would have expected- in his house with his daughter, while he’s living in a tiny guest room! Fen is totally beaten down and has no confidence, except in one unexpected area- sex. Fortunately she does eventually confront her past.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– It’s a strange coincidence that this book and the one I read prior to it are both set in Bath, although they are at opposite ends of the frothy scale, and it’s a lovely setting even if the story could have taken place anywhere. More vividly portrayed is Fen’s simple existence which borders on self-punishment, also Sean’s tenderness for his daughter.

Nookie for your Nook?– Tasteful yet surprisingly steamy for such a sombre book.

Evaluation of your eBook?– I was surprised by the length of the book, fairly short, the pace is economical, moving along to a later time instead of dragging for the sake of it. The writing is elegant and graceful, beautifully descriptive. The initial sadness and fragility of both main characters is well conveyed, as is the gaining of strength. The mystery of Fen’s past is strung along for most of the book, and I admit to guessing part of it, but it works well. The conclusion is satisfying, with much character growth, not just for the leads. I’d definitely recommend for something a little different, and it’s an absolute bargain.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: only 74p from Amazon.

US: Amazon for $4.22.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson

And now for something completely different! I’m giving this a mini-review, for while this book can’t really be described as frothy, it’s light in tone and only cost 20p, so how could I resist. Allan Karlsson decides he’d rather not celebrate his centennial in a nursing home, run by Director Alice, so he makes a (slow) run for it. One thing leads to another, and he’s on the run from the police with a suitcase full of money and various accomplices eventually including an elephant named Sonya. The story is interspersed with tales from his incredible life up to that point, and once you read them you’ll understand why the nursing home is a little tame for Allan. It’s a big book; the author clearly never met a character, however minor, without an imaginative back-story that needed writing, and thankfully all are shared here. There are shades of Forest Gump in the way that Allan naively becomes involved with world leaders at key moments in history, but the gentle, dry, philosophical humour reminded me of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

The present day events are mostly set in Sweden, you might recognise some of the place names if you’ve read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but the stories are very different. Allan is a gentle soul with a talent for making explosives, which was the catalyst for his life of travel and adventure, as well as many periods of incarceration. It’s amazing that he remains such a sympathetic and likable character given the chaos he perpetuates. The author has an incredible imagination, making the far-fetched stories seem possible. Worth getting for readers of all ages, it’s a bargain for such a big read (even at the US price) and is hugely entertaining.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Only 20p from Amazon.

US: $8.63 from Amazon.

The Kashmir Shawl – Rosie Thomas

After our last very frothy review I felt the need for something from the ‘Much More Substantial’ category, and this certainly fits the bill. Mostly set in 1940s India, it tells the tale of Welsh missionary’s wife Nerys, who is sent packing for the winter by her husband away from the cold mountains to the relative warmth and civilisation of Srinagar. Nerys’s eyes are opened by her vivacious host Myrtle, and the gossipy world of military British expats. When their friend Caroline’s indiscretion makes her the subject of gossip, Myrtle and Nerys scheme to restore her good name, not realising how far things would go.

In the present day, Nerys’s granddaughter Mair has found a photo of 3 women by a lake, taken in the 1940s, and an exquisite kashmir shawl in her mother’s belongings. Having recently lost her father as well, she is a little adrift and decides to travel to Kashmir to learn more about her grandparents. Throw in a charismatic mountain climbing magician, a rabid dog, and an egocentric cousin of the Maharajah and you’ve got yourself an adventure.

Kooks for your Kindle?– In Mair’s present day story, she meets Bruno and Karen, who are Swiss and American, travelling with their two year old daughter Lotus. They make compelling travelling companions as they all embark on a dangerous crossing towards Kashmir in the snow. The old-fashioned expat Brits are not stereotyped but nuanced, each with their own quirks. The multitude of Indian characters are fascinating and strong.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Amid all the strong, vivid characters Mair was the hardest to fathom. She was strong, dignified and graceful (as Thomas’ heroines often are), and yet was able to perform circus tricks. Fortunately her journey is a page-turner and most of the tale is set in the past, where Nerys is the lead and grows into a strong woman as her experiences change her and her relationship with her husband.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– The author cranks it up to eleven in this respect, with vivid descriptions of the mountainous regions, the beauty of the lakes at Srinagar, the poverty of the villages, and the gin-soaked expat scene. In both time periods, all locations are brought to life and have clearly been impeccably researched. The terror of the war is experienced from afar, with radio the only immediate source of news, bringing home the advantages of today’s age of internet.

Evaluation of your eBook?– Rosie Thomas has a talent for taking even the most gentle tale and drawing the reader in with a firm grip. It did take a while for me to become enthralled, but then I couldn’t put it down. Alternating chapters between both eras helps keep the suspense, along with the ever deepening mystery of the shawl and its origins. It’s lovely to fall into a novel that takes you deep into another time and country, and this one is an education too, even though it doesn’t feel that way!

Frothy Ranking: 4.5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Available as ebook from Amazon and Waterstones for £3.99.

US: Only just released here, so Amazon have it for $12.99, lots cheaper on Kobobooks at $8.39
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Revenge Of The Middle-Aged Woman – Elizabeth Buchan

Regular viewers may notice that Frothy Reads is partial to a revenge tale, however this one is a very grown-up, low key affair. At forty-seven years of age, Rose loses both her husband of twenty-five years and her editing job to her assistant Minty. Nathan claims to need freedom, but it’s Rose who gains freedom while Nathan is bewitched into a greater trap. In the meantime, each of their grown-up children are entertaining thoughts of marriage while coming to terms with their parents’ breakup and their father’s betrayal of their mother.

Rose soon gets on with her life and discovers it’s not over yet, especially when a globe-trotting figure from her adventurous past reappears. All along Rose has to come to terms with the constant shadow of Minty, who realises she should have been careful what she wished for.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Some beautifully drawn characters, all flawed, and all layered. Rose’s widowed mother Ianthe disapproves of the split, and pressures her to fight for her marriage, not realising that Rose had tried, offering to forgive and forget. Rose’s two best friends leap into action, despite having grown apart, and Mazarine exerts her best french influence to smarten Rose up.

Rose’s son Sam and daughter Poppy are very different personalities; sheltered daddy’s girl Poppy comes crashing into adulthood, and sensitive Sam is headed for heartbreak with his seemingly commitment-phobic girlfriend. In their early twenties, both still rely on their mother’s gentle guidance. Twenty-nine year old Minty is probably the most interesting, her initial mysteriousness is duly exposed as ambition and cunning. Her fierce independence is a cover for loneliness as she sees and covets what Rose has. Nathan is a familiar character, he soon sees what he’s thrown away; the grass is always greener of course.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Rose is wise, with a maturity possibly more befitting someone in their fifties, but she had children at a young age. She copes calmly with Minty, with a few understandable exceptions, and is a even just a touch manipulative. She handles her separation well, and eases back into a revitalised career.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– The book is beautifully written, descriptive and thoughtful. It’s not light and frothy in tone, and is reminiscent of Thursdays in the Park, even more so with the London setting.

Evaluation of your eBook?– The title is possibly a misnomer as the revenge aspect is incidental; it’s more a case of karma, as the heroine goes about her life while things gradually fall apart for her estranged husband and his mistress. It’s a familiar tale, and not overly eventful, but it’s a compelling read, and it’s easy to keep turning the pages to see the aforementioned karma run it’s course. If you’re an aspiring writer, you’ll appreciate and be envious of the ease at which the author draws you in. The sharply observed dialogue contains much to be read between the lines- in keeping with the graceful subtlety of the book. I appreciated the ending- not neatly tied up, but open to possibilities. Some misplaced quotation marks in the ebook were a little distracting, but it wasn’t hard to decipher who said what. I’ts categorised as Much more Substantial on the Frothy scale, more for tone than length (it only took me about 4 or 5 hours).

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Currently £4.99 on Amazon, but keep an eye open for special offers, I got it for 99p on an Amazon one day offfer. WHSmith also have it for £4.99.

US: $11.99 on Amazon and $9.89 from Kobobooks.

The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton

This book falls firmly into the ‘Much more Substantial’ category here on Frothy Reads, both in size and tone. It’s nice to get your teeth into something with a bit more scope occasionally and this one kept me busy for a week over the holidays. As a teen in the 1960s, Lauren was sitting in her tree house dreaming of boys when she witnessed her mother murder a strange man in the garden. In the present day Lauren and her siblings are seeing their mother, Dorothy, begin to fade away and try to solve the mystery of that hot summer day. Gradually the story unfolds through flashbacks to the 1940s and Lauren’s present day sleuthing. Dorothy escaped her stifling upbringing and came to work in London during World War 2, joining her sweetheart Jimmy, where they planned their ideal future with a house in the country and lots of children. Photographer Jimmy struggled to keep Dorothy’s feet on the ground and make ends meet for him and his ailing father, while saving for his future with Dorothy and documenting the horrors of war-time London.

Kooks for your Kindle?– This book contains the kind of characters that stick with you even after you’ve finished the book. Lauren is an acclaimed actress whose early love of theatre is glimpsed in her 1960s flashback. Now in her sixties she has the time, means, and inclination to look into that fateful day and the identity of the man killed by her mother. I particularly enjoyed her differing relationships with each of her siblings; including generous Rose, academic Gerry, and self-absorbed Daphne. Dorothy is a complex woman, but to say more might spoil the ending! There are some gems, Dorothy’s father is a 1930s classic, the regimented annual week at the beach, pompously declaring “Father knows best”.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– There are none of those indecisive disaster-magnet types in this book, give it a try for a break from the usual chick-lit heroines.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– I like to think of historical fiction as the literary equivalent of sneaking vegetables into a kid’s diet; I can learn things without feeling like I’m studying. The flashback portions of the book are an insight into those times, the terror of living in London during the blitz is vividly depicted. The 1960s is only briefly visited at the beginning for the murder scene but so much is illustrated; the languid, hot, post-war English countryside in summer; the end of rationing but not the mind-set; the new age of pirate radio and the music to go with it; a girl becoming a teen, discovering boys and outgrowing her younger siblings.

Evaluation of your eBook?– The structure of this book was interesting. Mostly set in the present, it weaves together various points around 1930s-1940s, unfolding as Lauren discovers things in the present. This sounds disjointed and out of sequence but is not at all; it’s cleverly constructed to reveal the truth gradually and maintain the suspense. The central mystery is well fleshed out with many characters and their stories, creating an absorbing world to lose yourself in. Thoroughly recommended, a bargain price for the UK market, and even the US price is reasonable for the size and quality of the book.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for only £1.99, Waterstones for £8.79, or £6.98 at WHSmith.

US: Kobobooks for $10.89icon, Amazon for $12.99, and ebooks for
$14.49

The Half-life of Hannah – Nick Alexander

Hannah convinces her husband Cliff to take a holiday home in the south of France for two weeks, along with their eleven year old son Luke, Hannah’s free spirirted sister Jill and her teenaged daughter, and Jill’s friend Tristan. In this time long simmering tensions come to a head between Hannah and Jill, and then Hannah and Cliff when they receive a very unexpected visitor. The story is told in the third person but with a few first person (Hannah) flashbacks, this works really well for the story. The author apparently has his roots in gay literature, which makes this insightful look into a straight married woman’s life all the more impressive.

Kooks for your Kindle?– All the characters are strong and well fleshed out. Jill is a rather selfish sister to Hannah, but has her reasons and is a very different personality. Aisha, her teenaged daughter, makes a pleasant regression from sullen, Facebook-addicted teen to playful older cousin to Luke while on holiday. Tristan shares a few traits with the traditional ‘gay best friend’ trope, but is more than a flamboyant, outspoken, good friend. He’s a talented chef, translator, dedicated uncle to his friends’ kids and plays a discreet role in the final act.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– Hannah has been a passenger in her adult life up to this point, but the flashbacks reveal the reasons behind this. Cliff is outwardly affable, but under the veneer is a controlling, occasionally malevolent husband, so it’s satisfying to see his world begin to crumble.

Painting a picture for your paperback?– The drama takes place in the South of France, with the exception of the flashbacks. It’s a picturesque location for all these relationships to break down, with plenty of sunshine, good food, wine and mosquitos.

Evaluation of your eBook?– This exceeded my expectations, such a nuanced, well-written tale. All the characters are well thought out, and the surprises along the way (which I didn’t see coming) make it unputdownable once you’ve got into it. I’m a sucker for a tale of a long-manipulated woman finding her feet, and this is a good one which stuck with me for a while once I’d finished it- a sign of a thoughtful read. The low price is just a bonus! The ending is more ‘alluded to’ than ‘spelled out’, which left me wanting more- there’s definite sequel potential here. I’ve classed it as ‘much more substantial’ in the Frothy categories as it’s not a comedy, but it’s quite a short book, and light enough to read in a day if you have the time. Educational moment- I now know what Grindr is! It’s been a sheltered life…

Frothy Ranking: 5/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: WHSmith for 98p and Amazon for only 49p, although sometimes it’s even cheaper!

US: Kobobooks for $1.99 and Amazon for 99c.