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    Hope and Friendship

    This was such a warm read and I felt that it managed to steer away from tried and tested stereotypes. Jo, Sarah and Carrie read as though they are real people, they make the same snap judgements as the rest of us and they can be fun and larky and then miserable and argumentative the next and not just because they are women, but, because they are people. They struggle with the same things we all do at various times in our lives and despite their disparate personalities their friendship does not feel forced on to the page but like it has evolved naturally with time. I loved how they lied to themselves about what they really wanted from life, afraid to even admit to themselves what it was that would make them feel happy and fulfilled - I am sure that no matter whether you are male or female once you get to a certain age you realise that you have been lieing to yourself and then have the crisis of admitting your real heart's desire to yourself even if it does not fit in with family, friends or even societal expectations. This book gives you "permission" to be true to yourself. I thought it could have been tough going as I started reading this only 4 days after my Mother-In-Law passed away and this book starts with a funeral tea. Fortunately, even this minefield was navigated with a warm humour that steered me through the rather dodgy territory and made me interested in the three women that were so different and yet each equally alone and floundering in their own way. I didn't so much read this book as completely absorb it whilst playing chicken with my e-reader battery and the clock. I am pleased to report the battery managed to last until the end of the book or we could have seen a decidedly matronly middle-aged woman throwing a tantrum fit only for Zac. The three main characters are Jo - Single business woman who is desperately trying to find a way to keep the family business going to the expense of her social and romatic life. Sarah - Married with a young baby (the aforementioned Zac) and desperately trying to achieve partnership at work and balance her home life with her husband who is reluctantly providing the child care. Carrie - Homemaker extraordinaire who can only find comfort in vast quantities of junk food and refuses to believe her husband when he says he finds her attractive. They don't sound like much summed up like that do they. However, they are rich characters that meld together well and have genuinely multi-faceted personalities. Admittedly, some of the situations they find themselves in are a little far fetched but this is fiction after all and we do read for a little bit of a vicarious thrill. It is a very cosy book with each character realising things about herself that help her move on to happiness but it is handled in such a way that you do keep wanting to read just the next chapter until suddenly you have completed the book and feel a little bereft. Please do not read this book on your daily commute, you are going to miss your stop and likely find yourself at the terminus by accident!
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    White lies and Wishes.

    I really enjoyed this book, as I have enjoyed each one of Cathy's books. In her easy-to-read style she builds such vivid characters that it is always sad to say goodbye to them at the end of the book. Hope there are more to come!
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