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The Goddess Village

A new eco-village in Ireland is attracting an eclectic mix of people to the town of Cloonsheeda. India has arrived with her Australian lover but things don't seem as rosy between them now that they've left the sun behind. Rita wants to reinvent herself but her traditional farmer husband thinks she's losing her mind. Anna has come to Little Cloonsheeda following a very public break-up, and Rebecca is finding life difficult juggling college and a pair of toddlers, so she enlists the help of au pair Liesel. As things go wrong for them, they are all drawn to seek help from the eccentric Demelza, who has opened the Goddess Sex Therapy clinic. As she guides them through their troubles, she changes them all in some way. But is it for the better? This was an interesting plot, focusing around the empowerment of women. I enjoyed Demelza and her eccentric ways, and Mossy the farmer added a splash of humour. As there were quite a few central characters there was always something interesting going on, and I found it hard to put down! Overall an enjoyable, feel-good read. (LO)

Two to Tango (2010)

Mum of three Jennifer O'Malley is struggling to work out who she is. The wild days of her 20s seem far behind her as she struggles with a marriage in the doldrums, where her libido with her husband Dan is low but her erotic fantasies about other men lead her to crave the excitement of an affair. In between fretting about her frumpy looks and finding time to fit in French lessons at her daughter's snobby French school, Jennifer dreams of her husband being promoted so that they can buy an enormous trophy house - but she hadn't factored on the recession butting in and ruining her ambitions. Meanwhile, secret pole-dancing Rebecca Gleeson's life seems a world away from Jennifer's, yet she too is bored - of her beautician's career, her marriage to Mark and the sheer predictability of her country life. When Mark issues an ultimatum that will decide her future, Rebecca finds herself trying all manner of different activities in an attempt to work out what exactly it is she wants for life. When the two very different women with similar problems are forced into each other's lives, they find themselves trying everything from Latin dancing, playing rugby, attending sexy lingerie parties and even test driving toy boys in their bid to leave the past behind and start living more spontaneously. Will Jennifer and Rebecca rediscover their sense of fun, find the meaning of happiness and save their marriages? The writer's style in Two to Tango is sometimes reminiscent of the narrator in Desperate Housewives, and you can imagine seeing some of the more zany scenes in the book in that show - albeit with a distinctly Irish slant. The women's back stories are explored in an unusual, non-linear format, although the strong focus on other areas of their lives somewhat dissipates the impact of the back story revelations when they do appear in the book. While the book explores the serious themes of low libido in post-pregnancy women, redundancy, men's mid-life crises and marital difficulties, it also discusses things you might never have read about before in a chick lit book - such as grown-up women catching worms from children! And if you're looking for a book with an abundance of raunchy scenes, this is the one for you (although you may find there are a few too many if intimate scenes aren't high on your chick lit reading criteria). (SBB)

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