About the book
For all fans of Motherland, Allison Pearson and Hurrah for Gin.
Amanda Wilkie unexpectedly finds herself alone with three children under five in a rambling Victorian house in London, after her husband walks leaves them claiming he’s just ‘lost the love’, like one might carelessly lose a glove.
A few months later, Amanda’s heavily pregnant friend, Ali, crashes into her kitchen announcing her partner is also about to abscond. Once Ali’s baby Grace is born, Amanda encourages them to move in. When Jacqui, a long-lost friend and fellow single mum, starts dropping by daily, the household is complete.
Getting divorced is no walk in the park, but the three friends refuse to be defined by it. And, as they slowly emerge out of the wreckage like a trio of sequin-clad Gloria Gaynors singing ‘I Will Survive’, they realise that anything is possible. Even loving again…
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Google Play: http://bit.ly/2IZOcxg
What is family? Is it a thing you are born into or a cosy patchwork blanket woven from people who have come in from the cold at a time when you need them the most? I happen to think it is a bit of both. You are born into a blood family, but you gather people along the way, some of whom will feel like jigsaw-piece soulmates that click into a gap in the puzzle for a brief while, maybe even years. Then one day, in the blink of an eye, they’re gone, missing down the back of the sofa.
And then there are the permanent ones that have been wedged in the centre of the puzzle for years. These are the people that squeeze you tight when your mind scatters on the winds of change after some dreadful trauma. They hold your hair back while you vomit after a bottle of wine too many. They carry you home from the chip shop when you fall down drunk, sobbing that your life is a mess and your children will be irretrievably damaged by your slovenly parenting. They arrive at your door when you ask them, no matter what time of day or night because they know you need them. And in turn, you fit snugly into the heart of their own pictures.
I’d always hoped my jigsaw was complete. That the husband, three children, friends, family, ramshackle half-finished house, accoutrements of married life, was it. Yet deep down, I could feel a gaping hole in the centre of that picture. A piece was missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it – did I need another baby? Why wasn’t my husband making me happy? Plagued by bad dreams soon after my perfect wedding at which I was cloaked in a white tulle froth of a dress, my sleeping brain would throw up terrifying scenarios of my husband leaving, carelessly tossing the words: ‘I’ve lost the love,’ over his shoulder like a crumpled tissue into the waste-paper bin. And I would wake, the words snagging a jagged hole through my heart as I clawed my way back into the real world where he would, of course, be asleep next to me in our marital bed, assuring me on waking that I was being ridiculous. However, my third eye was positively throbbing – it knew something I didn’t. But there was no way I wanted my marriage to end. I loved him completely, didn’t I? So why did I dream about it most weeks? It felt like I made it happen.
And happen it did. A pivotal jigsaw piece fell down the back of the sofa, in exactly the way I had expected it to. In the aftermath of ‘I’ve lost the love’ (yes, he did indeed use that very insult), I think I mislaid what was left of my baby-addled mind. Then, as luck would have it, two jigsaw pieces that happened to be freewheeling along life’s superhighway at that exact moment collided with me and out of the ashes of my marriage, a phoenix arose.
Welcome to the Single Mums’ Mansion. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
About the author
Janet Hoggarth has worked on a chicken farm, as a bookseller, children’s book editor and DJ with her best friend (under the name of Whitney and Britney). She has published several children’s books, the most recent ones written under the pseudonym of Jess Bright. Her first adult novel, The Single Mums’ Mansion is based on her experiences of living communally as a single parent.