This story – dubbed a divorce comedy by the author - focuses on the extended family of feminist icon Lydia Hennessey. The next generation of women all have their issues. There’s Zoe, whose marriage is ending; Mariana, whose journalism career is looking increasingly shaky; Beata, a single mum whose teenage son has just discovered his father; and Nina, who has returned from medical duties in Syria. And then there’s the lone male, Zack, who created waves when he based a TV series on their family.
There is quite a cast of characters to keep track of but the book opens with a helpful list of the whole clan. The entertaining story unfolds over a year from Christmas and is told from different viewpoints, although it felt like Zoe was the central character. The tension between family members was superb.
Sophie Whelan is having a bit of a mid-life crisis. In addition to dealing with the normal issues facing working mothers, Sophie is also struggling with the reappearance of her former flame, Will. When he offers her the job of a lifetime, she begins to question the life she has chosen since moving on from Will and tries to figure out what really happened between them all those years ago.
It took a while to get to the point of the book but once there, it was easy to become invested in what choices Sophie was going to make for her life. The Hole in the Middle will resonate with working mothers and anyone who's ever tried to figure out if she's on the right life path. (LEK)