Goodness, Grace and Me- Julie Houston

What to expect:
When Harriet’s husband, Nick, throws in his safe, but boring job in order to set up a new business during the current recession, Harriet is distraught. More so when she realises Amanda, her and best friend Grace’s old enemy from school is back in their lives. Amanda, it turns out, is Nick’s new boss’s wife and, because of her legal and language skills, will be accompanying Nick on his business trips to Italy. How will Nick not succumb to the ruthless charms of the utterly gorgeous Amanda once he’s away from Yorkshire and in glamorous Milan? Knowing Nick is being seduced is bad enough, but when Grace falls madly in love with Sebastian, Amanda’s precious, much younger son, it can only mean trouble ahead. Determined to fight for her man, Harriet’s seduction techniques go into overdrive. Unfortunately she is hampered in her attempts by two bolshy teenagers, an increasingly eccentric mother and a job teaching horrible children. Not to mention something very strange going on at the bottom of her garden! Can Harriet save her marriage, and also her friendship with Grace? And what will happen if Nick’s new venture fails, especially now that the one thing Harriet has not even considered in all this mess appears to be staring her right in the face…?

It might just be me, but the title and the cover immediately made me think it was fiction of an upstanding Christian nature and nearly ran a mile, but don’t fear, it’s quite the opposite. Many thanks to the author for the review copy.

Kooks for your Kindle?– Harriet’s husband Nick is yummy enough to keep things happening in the bedroom even 15 years or so (and 3 kids) into their relationship, and he clearly cares for her more than she realises. The eponymous Grace is Harriet’s bestie from school days, partner in crime and still her closest mate. She’s undergoing her own crises which, by coincidence and the nature of a small town, become entangled with Harriet’s. ‘Goodness’ is the old school days nickname the girls had for Amanda Goodners, former head girl, current wife of Nick’s business partner and translator for Nick on his business trips to Italy, much to Harriet’s horror. Throw in the dramas of Harriet’s parents, sister, kids and job, it’s quite a busy tale.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– An awful lot goes wrong for Harriet in the course of this book and for the most part she handles it with a sense of humour, strength and some wine. Which beats whining. She’s never spent any significant amount of time living on her own, pre-family, and just wants a little room to call her own to sit down for a read, but never really gets the chance. I’m not sure I’d handle it all so well, but then control freaks like me don’t thrive as well on chaos.

Evaluation of your eBook?– I wasn’t sure in the first couple of chapters, but once it gets into its stride it’s quite a ride. Harriet is a resourceful heroine, keeping things together with no sleep, money, husband or hours in the day. The ending was not predictable, which I always appreciate, fortunately all is not as it initially seems -this goes for most of the problems faced by Harriet- and the surprises make for a good ending. It’s quite over the top in the sheer scale of the calamities than happen to everyone concerned, and really quite funny, but with some real heartache and serious family issues at stake too.

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £1.99

US: Amazon for $2.99.