This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Marianne Baker is happy. Well, kind of. She is happiest when she’s jetting off around the world exploring foreign countries, but at the moment she’s living with her mum and stepdad, sleeping in her childhood single bed and working as a hairdresser until she scrapes together enough money for her next adventure. One night, out of the blue, everything changes when the father who abandoned her as a child turns up (in quite hilarious circumstances) with a secret. Suddenly Marianne’s comfortable world is thrown into a whirlwind.
This book has all of the ingredients required to make it chick-lit perfection – a likeable protagonist, a funny family, each with their own problems and personalities, and a situation that seems ready to disrupt their quiet life. If you love the genre (and you wouldn’t be reading this review if you didn’t) then this is a book that would satisfy any women’s fiction fan.
Marianne is easy to like. I did find her lack of drive a bit irritating at times – sometimes I just wanted to shake her and tell her to sort her life out – but after speaking to a friend who lives for travelling and exploring the world, like Marianne, she told me that Marianne’s life when she isn’t travelling is very much like her own. The one thing that I did overwhelmingly love about her was her talent for playing the violin. The way that she describes her love of music is beautiful and this proves to be a major plot point.
The following banner is an affiliate one. That means Writing Tips Oasis receive a small % of the sale if you purchase The Novel Factory, but at no extra cost to you:
The Baker family are just as enjoyable as Marianne. There’s her mother, who is convinced that sister, Hayley, is a star in the making even though everyone – including Hayley herself – knows that she can barely sing a note. There’s Martin, too, the long suffering stepdad who is a calming influence on Marianne’s mother. Gary, her sister’s lecherous husband, who cares more about what weight he manages to bench at the gym than looking after his wife. And Hayley, who appears to be the together, slightly judgemental older sister on the surface, but who actually goes through a personal heartache that makes her quite endearing. Ray is the big character, the story changer; he’s Marianne and Hayley’s dad, who turns up after 25 years with something to tell the girls and the need to get to know them both.Essentially this is a story about family, about coming together despite your differences and developing a relationship where there hasn’t been one. Ray’s arrival forces the family to look at their choices, especially Marianne, who learns that she cannot continue to coast through life because life’s for living. She grows to understand that she needs to embrace her talents and have faith in herself.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the book to be quite so poignant and emotional. While some parts will make you smile and giggle, others will make you consider how important your own family are and maybe shed a tear or two! It does take a little while to get going – something that put me off initially – but this book is an enjoyable read about discovery and embracing life.