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
Maia Etxeleku is used to struggling to keep on top of the household bills. With two young children, Bronte and Harley, and a useless layabout of a husband to support, clothe and feed, Maia is resigned to working every hour possible and still not quite having enough. When one of her clients passes away, leaving her a rather unusual inheritance, Maia and her children are thrust into the highbrow world of Stirling Hall School. In her holey tracksuit bottoms, with her common ST1 accent, Maia doesn’t fit in with the impeccably dressed mothers who believe in feeding their children organic foods only, extra tutoring and devoting their time to fundraising. Luckily, Maia meets Clover, a rich woman without a superiority complex in desperate need of a good friend. Then there’s the rather delicious deputy head, Mr Peters, who also seems to have taken an interest in Maia’s family. Maia feels out of her depth but could this be the world she belongs in?
The unexpected inheritance seems like a blessing for Maia until she realises the money can only be spent on paying for her children to have an education at Stirling Hall School. Her true financial plight is highlighted when she realises the money only covers the school fees and she’ll struggle to buy the children their uniforms, books and pay for school trips. She also worries about exposing them to a lifestyle where they might see themselves as under-privileged and which may not be sustainable. Her husband, Colin, is a waste of space, always assuring her that he will get work but spending his time eating and smoking instead. From the start, it is easy to see that he’s not good enough for a smart, hard-working woman like Maia. He does provide a great villain though!Jen1 is also a great love-to-hate character with her snotty attitude towards Maia despite her own modest start in life. There are plenty of brilliant revenge moments with Jen1 and Colin as the victims. Maia is a perfect heroine, with her strength, witty repartee and sensible outlook on life. She wants the best for her children but when she’s suddenly socialising with the same class of people she cleans for, a multitude of problems arise. While the novel deals with serious issues such as class inequality, domestic violence and cheating spouses, the tone is light-hearted. There were many moments when I laughed out loud as the classes clashed.
A well written, witty reminder that money cannot buy self-worth and confidence.