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A former teacher, Kate Long born in 1964 grew up in Blackrod, Lancashire. She wrote her first novel, The Bad Mother's Handbook, after her children had gone to bed and "if there was nothing good on the telly." She currently lives with her husband and two young children in the small village in Shropshire.
Jen is a trainee journalist working on Chester's local paper, dreaming of something bigger. Her sister, Helen, is beautiful but damaged, and hides a secret that has affected the whole family, one they cannot escape but one she is trying to move on from. As Helen learns to become a whole person once again, her family struggles with the past, and how they will move forward together. And Jen realises that the one person she needs to help her through is the one person she cannot have - Helen's boyfriend, Ned...
Freya is torn between her two mothers. Liv, her adoptive mother who nurtured and raised her, is earthy, no-nonsense. The total opposite to Melody: with her vibrant, explosive personality and extensive, brightly coloured wardrobe, Freya's birth mother is still apt to find herself thrown out of Top Shop for bad behaviour. Hard as it has been for Freya to try to reconcile her two families, it has been harder for her mothers. Proud of her mature and sensible adoptive daughter, Liv fears Melody's restless influence. Meanwhile, forced to give up her baby when she was just a teenager herself, Melody now craves Freya's love and acceptance - but only really knows how to have fun. Then tragedy strikes, and the bonds of love that tie these three women together will be tested to the max. Can they finally let go of the past, and pull together in order to withstand the toughest challenge life could throw them?
Carol married young -- to philandering Phil; and became a mother young -- to highly-strung Jaz. Carol put up with Phil's infidelities: suffer in silence and keep the family together was her mantra. Not so Jaz. The moment she discovers her own husband Ian's errant ways -- with a woman he barely knew -- she throws him out of the house, changes the locks and bans him from seeing their toddler son Matty. In so many ways independent and strong, where her daughter is concerned Carol is a coward. When Jaz finds out that her mother has enlisted the support of Ian's father David to try to get her back together with Ian, Jaz is beyond furious and disappears with Matty. With a deft lightness of touch -- and a dash of unexpected romance -- Kate Long takes us into the heart of this mixed-up but utterly recognisable family who fight for what they believe in, even if it puts the closest members on opposing sides.
March 2010 Good Housekeeping selection. The Bad Mother’s Handbook was a hit for Kate Long and now she’s back with A Mother’s Guide To Cheating, an intelligent, well-observed and poignant portrayal of a mother and daughter navigating their way through a family crisis.
This is quite a sad tale of one woman’s need to have a child, in a marriage where the husband does not. Anna’s maternal instincts are expressed through the extra mile she will go to help the pupils she teaches but it is not enough, until one particular student seems to be someone who needs the maternal love she can provide. It is a story about choices made and regretted and moving on.
Two very different mothers swap lives for two weeks of reality TV. It is strange how one’s sympathies chop and change in this sensitive, compulsive and astute read, her best since her brilliant The Bad Mother’s Handbook, which you must read too.Similar this month: Katie Fforde.Comparison: Kate Atkinson, Marika Cobbold, Marcia Willett.
This is a book about families and friendships and how, so often, everything is not what it seems. It is told by Ally whose best friend and next door neighbour, Juno, signs up for a reality-TV show, â€˜Queen Mumâ€™. Juno does a 2 week wife swap with another family and we see behind the scenes before, during and after the filming. On the surface, Juno is the perfect wife and mother, who seems to have an adoring half French husband, a beautiful house, home prepared food and children who do their music practice. Ally is quite envious of her and Juno is confident of winning the â€˜Queen Mumâ€™ title at the end of her 2 week stint but things do not turn out quite as she planned. We also see in Allyâ€™s telling of the story how a past tragedy has affected her relationships with her family and her best friend. This is a well observed novel about love and friendship and how â€˜realityâ€™ is sometimes not as real as we think.
The Bad Mother’s Handbook, Kate Long’s first novel, was one of my favourite books of last year, do seek it out. This too is a delight. We meet Katherine aged 18, she has been brought up by her poisonous Grandmother Poll and the relationship between these two is brilliantly portrayed in a tale with many twists and turns. We know father is dead but where is mother and what happened to her? How will Katherine get a life of her own and who is Callum? It is all very tantalising, Kate Long is a tremendous find, highly recommended. I love her.Comparison: Kate Atkinson, Sara Banerji, Mavis Cheek.Similar this month: None but try Shane Watson.
I had the same feeling reading this as I did Kate Atkinson’s Behind the Scenes at the Museum. It is very special. Related in the different voices of the three generations of women living together through one momentous year, it has a north country lilt and an infectious style that really captures the period, for although we only travel a contemporary year, in reflection and flashbacks we travel some three-quarters of a century. Life, circumstances, attitudes and issues change but the spirit of family remains across the generations. I cannot praise it highly enough.Comparisons: Kate Atkinson, Anita Shreve, Marika Cobbold.