This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kay Brooks
Jonathan and Rosie are the envy of their responsibility-laden friends. Being childfree, unmarried and still living in the apartment they began in as optimistic students certainly has its advantages. When – after 15 years – Jonathan proposes and asks Rosie to move across the country to support him in following one of his dreams, however, everything starts to come apart. Rosie starts to consider her own dreams and what she wants from life. On a whim, she sends Jonathan on his way alone and moves back in with her reluctantly aging grandma, Soapie, the woman who raised her after her mother’s untimely death. She is met with the surprise that Soapie not only has a rather unconventional caregiver, but also a boyfriend. Attempting to rebuild her life without Jonathan becomes more difficult when Rosie finds that she is pregnant and single at the age of 44, but support is about to come from the most unlikely of places.
It is clear from chapter one, which had me open-mouthed in shock and childishly giggling alternately, that Rosie is far from satisfied with her lot. Jonathan immediately comes across as being incredibly selfish and wrapped up in his own world of teacup collecting. It’s difficult to like Jonathan as he seems to dodge responsibility and put Rosie’s needs beneath those of his precious teacups. The couple are the butt of their friends’ 'how Rosie and Jonathan do…’ jokes and Rosie seems to accept that her long-term boyfriend is a hopeless case. The blurb informs the reader that she is going to fall pregnant so, expecting this to happen from chapter one, lots of the seemingly out-of-character decisions made by Rosie could have been due to hormone changes. At times, I worried whether she had made the right decision. While this is a story full of emotional ups and downs, Rosie is an easy character to become attached to.The plot really picked up pace when Soapie and her married lover, George, come into the story, reminding Rosie that everyone has a life to live and she may have been missing out. Soapie’s choice of caregiver is Tony, who not only allows but encourages her to smoke, drink martinis, dance and cheat at Scrabble. Tony is a wonderfully unique character; full of personality and enthusiasm for life that, like Rosie, I felt was contagious. His own life is a confused mess, bringing in more wonderfully eccentric characters, and he finds himself immersing himself in Rosie’s pregnancy as an escape, developing strong feelings for her in the process. The foursome form a delightfully dysfunctional family, providing support for one another when needed, causing tears with revelations and smiles when everything seems to be falling apart.
The characters are flawed, complicated and realistic. The plot is unusual, unpredictable and proves that some mistakes are the best things that can happen. This is a novel that has been written with love and warmth.