At 21, Vicky prods her best friend, Mikey, into agreeing to be her back-up man in the event neither are married by the time they’re thirty. She then takes off to see the world with her other best friend, Kat, but their friendship comes unstuck during their time abroad. Years later, Vicky heads back home when her relationship with an artist falls apart. She decides to look up her former friends again. Mikey has become successful in the tech world, while Kat may be getting married but still hasn’t escaped the clutches of her controlling mother. Told with short flashbacks to earlier periods in their lives, this is an engrossing story – albeit with predictable twists - with a raft of interesting characters. As the trio deal with disappointments, troubled family matters and life-changing secrets, are their ties strong enough to bring them back together again?
Lisa Stratton has been a mother for about six years and she never expected the big changes she has had to get used to. Somehow, she has found herself in a marriage where it is solely her responsibility to keep the house clean, to make sure the kids get to and from birthday parties, and everyone has enough clean clothes to last them through the week. Before the arrival of the children, Lisa and her husband used to take it all on together, as a couple, and she sees no reason why it shouldn't go back to the way it was. So, Lisa decides there's only thing for her to do if she wants things to change: a strike. Mums on Strike has an original idea at its core which I thoroughly enjoyed; you often hear about mums who feel there is still a rather old-fashioned idea out there in the world that it is the woman who has to do the ironing and keep the house clean, instead of this being a team effort. Laura Kemp used this idea and managed to turn it into a funny and captivating read that focuses on a mum going on strike and forcing her husband to rethink the task division in their home, including the troubles and difficult moments that come with this decision. Lisa is a lovely heroine and a true example to many female readers. She is strong, ambitious (I really liked how she wants to be a great mother and a wonderful wife, but also an independent woman who has her own dreams and ambitions) and she stands up for her beliefs. Laura Kemp shows both sides of Lisa's strike; the pros and cons and how it influences everyone around her, including her young children, which is part of what makes this novel good. Mums on Strike is an entertaining, funny and feminist read and I wouldn't be surprised if this puts ideas in the heads of wives and mothers all around the world! (JoH)