Wife On The Run by Fiona Higgins

wifeonrunHAVING really enjoyed Fiona Higgins’ first book, The Mother’s Group, I squealed when I saw she had a new book out.

Wife On The Run tells the story of a woman who decides to take on her long-desired Aussie adventure after discovering her husband’s infidelity.

I saw parallels between this and Kylie Ladd’s new book, Mothers and Daughters. Both stories take the tedium of motherhood out of suburbia and into the vast Australian landscape and both deal with the ramifications of social media on young people.

But unlike Ladd, this book isn’t based on arbitrary schoolground friendships, but family. It also dares to mix consummated desire into the confusion of marriage breakdown.

As with Higgins’ first book, there was an odd pace to it, though possibly because I was expecting the characters to lap our continent and they seemed to take too long getting to Darwin.

But the characters are where Higgins’ talent lies. I loved Paula (Pow-la – as I kept pronouncing it) and her ongoing vivisection of how her marriage and motherhood had bluntened her.

Paula’s shocking return to normality had me on the verge of tears – desperate for her to uncover further unpalatable truths and step away from domestic oblivion.

Great read!

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Being Jade by Kate Belle

beingjadeBEING Jade is Kate Belle’s second book. I fell in love with her writing in her debut, The Yearning, and while Being Jade has some challenging characters, I equally loved this book.

Explaining to one’s husband why you love a book about infidelity is fraught with complications, and without Belle’s way with words, I am at a loss to define just how she delves into the parameters of love and commitment with such aplomb.

It is the story of a married couple – loyal, dependable Banjo and his “wild” wife, Jade – who is ripped apart after Banjo dies tragically after an argument. But mystery surrounds their last encounter, one that his daughters will try to untangle as their mother sinks into a coma-like depression.

Some will determine this as erotica and others will undoubtedly read it as a feminist work. But despite there being much more sex in this, it was less about mind-blowing sex and more about how much of ourselves we forfeit to meet other people’s expectations.

What I took away from Being Jade, aside from the sad truth about what happened that fateful day, was a message about relationships.

Belle laments our tendency to believe people owe us certain things simply because they are our mother, brother, sister, father. Whoever. As if we have some claim on who they are because of a blood relationship or marriage certificate.

Being Jade will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book. Bring on the next one, Kate!

 

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

bllTHIS book had me gripped from start to finish, had me break out in goosebumps more  than once and gasp so loud (hello awesome plot twist!) my son asked me what had happened.

Big Little Lies is my first read of Liane Moriarty and to say I’m impressed is somewhat of an understatement.

It tells the story of three women thrown together in a school playground – similar to The Mother’s Group – it portrays very distinct pools of socio-economic circumstances forced to mingle in the rough and tumble of the schoolground.

But unlike The Mother’s Group, where tensions escalate into an insurmountable tragedy, there is a crime committed at the very beginning and we’re left wondering what happened and whodunnit as she deftly reveals tiny increments of the people’s lives and inches us inevitably towards the incident and the culprit.

The police investigation, which starts out sounding quite glib and humourous, gradually becomes less funny and plucks at your heartstrings.

In fact, it’s Moriarty’s empathetic portrayal of marriage and family that is so spot on. Without giving too much away, she shines a light on something that one day might save a reader’s life.

I only hope that the movie (starring Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon) does it justice.

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