Chicklit Club
 

MIKE GAYLE

 

The Hope Family Calendar (2016)

 

After losing his wife Laura in a tragic accident, Tom focuses on his job, leaving the care of his two young daughters to his mother-in-law Linda. But one year later, Tom still hasn’t got over his grief and is spending less and less time with his daughters. To get him to react, Linda decides to take a long holiday to Australia to visit a friend, so Tom is forced to face up to his own responsibilities and start taking care of his own children. While in Australia Linda deals with a new love and a love from her past, Tom learns to handle playdates, making costumes, and meeting his teenage daughter’s first boyfriend. Told from the perspective of both Tom and Linda, the story explores how people react differently to losing someone they love. A well-written, moving, and realistic story about family, love, grief, secrets, and friendship. (NP) 7/10


 

Turning Forty (2013)

 

In this sequel to Turning Thirty, Matt had a plan to have his life sorted before he turned 40. He wanted to have a good job, be settled down with a wife and have money in the bank. But when his wife unexpectedly leaves him, he finds himself heading towards the big 4-0 broke, homeless and without a job. This thought-provoking story makes you question your own life and what you would change or keep the same. Matt starts working in a charity shop and I enjoyed this aspect as I volunteer in one too. I think anyone whose life changes quickly will be able to relate to this. (KD) 8/10


 

The Stag and Hen Weekend (2012)

 

Phil's finally going to marry his long-term girlfriend Helen, and all that stands in their way is the stag and hen dos. Phil wants a quiet stag do in his home town, yet his friends - eager to be let off the leash - want to let their hair down and go all out for a weekend in Amsterdam. His fiancee Helen's hen do couldn't be more different from the guys' event - she picks a luxury country hotel and spa for her friends. But both Phil and Helen encounter people on their weekends that dredge up their past and have the ability to stop them from living happily ever after. The book is split into half and written separately, leaving readers to choose whether they read the hen or stag section first. While this worked really well in that there are clues in each story that make sense when you read the second half, it also meant that the book didn't really properly end. Both stories ended a little ambiguously, and this was probably due to the fact that you could read either story first, and maybe it would have ruined it for the second section if you already knew how it ended. Putting the ending aside, it was a fun read, and it was great to be able to follow the stags on their stag do, which for a chick lit book we don't often get to do! (AB) 6/10


 

Turning Thirty (2005)

 

This is a story that most people will be able to relate to if they are dreading any kind of milestone birthday. Matt Beckford is facing his 30th birthday alone. With him and his girlfriend, Elaine, coming to the realisation that their relationship isn't working, Matt heads home to Birmingham and moves back in with his parents. He gets back in touch with his old crowd, including Ginny, a friend he used to snog, and begins to fall for her all over again. I read this book for a second time to refresh my memory before reading the sequel, Turning Forty, and enjoyed it even more this time around. It was certainly very funny. (KD) 7/10


 

His 'N' Hers (2005)

 

Jim and Alison meet at university, they get together and start dating, he gives her a kitten and they all move in together. All very simple and straightforward, until they break up and have to divide their belongings between themselves, including the cat. Jim and Alison move on and make new lives for themselves, however an event throws them back together and forces them to question why they broke up in the first place and if it is too late for them to try again. The story begins in the present day, but flashes back to the past to follow the path of how they got together. I thought that the break-up itself was a little rushed and rather weak after the build-up of the relationship, but it didn't impact on my enjoyment of the story. The book is written in the style of a diary from both characters' points of view which I thought worked well. This is a sweet, heart-warming novel which will keep the reader entertained. (EH) 7/10


 

My Legendary Girlfriend (2003)

 

Hapless English teacher Will Kenny, a self-confessed romantic, is still coming to terms with being dumped by his ex Aggi (three years ago!) He describes her as his legendary girlfriend and is desperate to find out if he can find true love again. The story takes place over a weekend where we learn about Will's depressing life, his grotty flat and his agony over Aggi. Over the course of events, the reader is introduced to Will's best friend Alice, his stalking one-night-stand Martina, his best friend Simon, and Kate, the ex-tenant who he strikes up a quasi relationship with via the telephone. The book is by turns a love story and a coming-of-age story. The writing was refreshing as it reminded me of a male version of Bridget Jones; in that it gave a man's perspective on the singleton life. Will is desperate to meet someone and settle down; feeling that at the age of 26, life is passing him by. He is constantly examining the failure of his relationship with Aggi and what it means to be a man in the 21st century. He's lost his way in life, however, the events which occur over the weekend act as a catalyst, making him question and reassess his approach to life and ultimately, enable him to realise what he has been missing. The author makes some very acute observations on what it means to live and love in the modern world, which made for some humorous scenes. The writing was well paced and the author cleverly uses the chapters in the book as a time frame so that the reader can follow the events both past and present in Will's life. (LP) 7/10

Interview


Also by author


Seeing Other People



The Importance of Being a Bachelor



The To-Do List



The Life and Soul of the Party



Wish You Were Here



Brand New Friend



Dinner for Two



Mr Commitment


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