Chicklit Club
 

SALLY HEPWORTH

 

The Family Next Door (2018)

 

Pleasant Court is a nice neighbourhood in the Melbourne suburbs - the sort of place families congregrate. So when single woman Isabelle moves in, she attracts some attention. Essie has just had her second baby and her personal trainer husband and her mother Barbara, who lives next door, are watching her carefully to see if she succumbs to postnatal depression again. Ange, the mother of two boys, has some doubts about her photographer husband Lucas, while Fran can’t seem to stop running – even in the midst of a heatwave. Amid all these secrets behind closed doors, Essie finds herself drawn to Isabelle but maybe it wasn’t coincidental at all that she chose this address.
This has all the ingredients of what makes women’s fiction great. Told from different viewpoints, it’s a compelling pageturner from a masterful storyteller. I basically read in an one sitting it’s that good! 8/10


 

The Things We Keep (2016)

 

Thirty-eight-year-old paramedic Anna has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, like her mother, and is having to move into an assisted-living facility. Her twin brother, Jack, chose Rosalind House because another young man, Luke, lives there – he has dementia and speech problems. Otherwise all the other residents are elderly. But when Anna and Luke forge a relationship, not everyone welcomes this last chance at happiness. Meanwhile Eve becomes the cook at Rosalind House after her well-to-do family falls on hard times. When she finds Anna’s note reminding herself that she wanted to see out her days with Luke, she risks losing even more.
This is a poignant, thought-provoking story about whether love can transcend memory loss. Told from the viewpoint of Anna, Eve and her daughter Clementine who share that common bond of having their lives destroyed by events beyond their control, there’s also a wonderful supporting cast at the care home. Definitely one for your book club. 8/10


 

The Secrets of Midwives (2015)

 

Neva Bradley is a third-generation midwife, daughter to Grace, and granddaughter to Floss. Twenty-nine and single, Neva finally reveals her pregnancy at seven months but is determined to keep the identify of the baby's father a secret. Neva is surprised when a doctor friend wants to start a relationship with her and hints at the idea of starting a family with her and her future baby. Grace is an anxious mother and determined to identify the birth father of her daughter's baby. She feels betrayed by her daughter's secret and is confused why her daughter is shutting her out. In the midst of her daughter's drama, Grace is reported to the Board of Nursing and has her licence suspended. After Neva's revelation of her pregnancy, Floss can't help but be reminded of her past and a secret she has kept over sixty years. Floss' story provides flashbacks of her past and a delivery that she performed years ago that changed her life.
The story alternates between the three generations of midwives and their struggles with their careers and personal lives. This is a wonderful story about the bond between mothers and daughters. (AO) 7/10

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