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Alison Penton Harper was born in London in 1964 to an English father and an Indian mother. After a convent education she stumbled into advertising, later setting up her own business. Alison lives in Northamptonshire with her husband and two daughters.
One of the aspiring writers picked out in the Richard & Judy 'How to get published' competition, Alison Penton Harper proves that she isn't a one-trick pony and that Richard and Judy do indeed know their stuff. Housewife Up picks up where Housewife Down left off. Helen is getting on with her life as best she can, getting used to living on her own and preparing for the arrival of her fortieth birthday. Just when everything seems to be going well for her, disaster strikes. Desperate to get back on her feet Helen needs to get a job and there aren't many jobs suitable for a housewife who has been out of employment for well over a decade. It's a good read and nice to see some female fiction not obsessing on the 'girl meets boy' story.
A finalist in Richard & Judy's How to Get Published competition 2005, Housewife Down is a hilarious debut novel about a married woman finding herself unexpectedly single again . . .
The days I had previously filled with the duties of chief cook and bottle-washer now lay strangely empty and stretched out before me like a blank canvas. I kept looking at it, but couldn't think of anything to paint . . . Preparing dinner for her husband's colleagues, nervous, and listening to a woman complain about domestic slavery on the radio, Helen Robbins hits the bottle hard. For thirteen years she has lived a life of suburban predictability with Robert, bending to his boorish demands and allowing her once vital, independent spirit to retreat into the safety cage of mundane, dutiful routine. Over supper that evening she decides to throw off her role of domestic angel and hit him where it hurts: she dares to criticise his driving Riled by his wife's comments over dinner an irate Robert sets out the next morning to prove himself and is killed in a freak accident. Helen's life is about to transform. As she rekindles relationships with old friends and close family, Helen rediscovers the excitement of her former world. Tentatively stepping back into the fold, imbued with a new sense of power and adventure, she discovers for the first time the possibility of a relationship on her own terms - as well as certain thrill she never quite believed possible . . . and the surprises are only just beginning . . .
Heaven save us from ourselves. And if you can't manage that, I'd settle for saving me from me. Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water, here I am again, drowning for all to see. Not waving, as the troubled swimmer once famously said. I busied myself with any household task I could find . . . Recently widowed but putting a brave face on it all (thanks to a not insignificant windfall) Helen's only problem, it seems, is the imminent arrival of her fortieth birthday. Not something she can possibly avoid, ignore or sulk about - not with friends like Leoni and sisters like Julia around . . . And there is much to celebrate. A beautiful new flat, gorgeous hospitable neighbours and a delicious sense of freedom that only money can buy. Until, that is, money becomes the one big fat problem in Helen's life and she becomes part of the unwilling army of the employed. But it is no ordinary job that Helen is qualified for, in fact she is qualified for precious little, which leads to her first ever encounter with 'the boss from hell' . . .
'I've left you a list on my desk,' Rick said . . . The house fell silent and I wandered into the study to collect my instructions. There was only one scrawled piece of paper on the desk so there was no mistaking the single command. It said: organize Christmas. Helen is finally finding her feet just in time for the looming festive season. Surrounded by family, friends and the finer things in life, Helen's generous offer to organize Christmas for the neurotic Leoni soon snowballs into an unmanageable avalanche of tasks when her chaotic boss dumps his seasonal arrangements on her too. And with Julia heading towards a mind-boggling midlife crisis of her own, it looks as though Helen is well and truly stuffed! And so it begins, the season of good grief to all women . . . Praise for Alison Penton Harper: 'Laugh-a-minute, frothy fun' Sunday Express