19 May 2009

Book Review: The Model Wife by Julia Llewellyn

themodelwifejuliallewellynPoppy Norton is a bit of a cliché, even she admits it. She was unlucky in love until she met News Presenter, father of 3 Luke Norton. The two begin a relationship on the sly, and accidentally Poppy falls pregnant.

Luke decides to leave his wife Hannah to set up home with Poppy but soon finds out life with a young model and their newborn daughter doesn't quite match up to his twenty-year marriage. Fast forward 2 years, and Poppy's fed up of being ignored and left at home with daughter Clara so looks for a job herself.

Things are not rosy in the Norton garden, but are they going to get better or worse?

I was quite surprised with this book to tell you the truth, it really didn't pan out as I had expected it to. From the start, it seemed like it was going to be a run-of-the-mill chick lit book about Poppy's life as a stay at home mum and perhaps getting her relationship to work again with Luke. But the book wasn't quite that at all, it was much more focused on Poppy as a person, and the effects that the affair and consequent marriage and baby had on everyone around them, including their friends and families.

I did like the character of Poppy at first, but for some unknown reason I found myself disliking her as I got further into the book. I did feel sympathy for her being married to a man who worked all hours God sent, and was often alone with her baby, but lets face it, that is life for a lot of families! I don't know why the author made such a big deal of that when it's a normal occurence. Daddy2harry works all day, comes home and Harry goes to bed, and I don't sit feeling sorry for myself like Poppy does!

But everything else in the book was enjoyable and fun to read. Luke's ex-wife Hannah has a column in a national paper in which she routinely slags off her ex-husband and his new wife, whom she fondly names 'the Bimbo'. These columns, which are dotted throughout the book are very funny to read, and provide a welcome relief from Poppy's moaning and whinging! Cleverly, the author has written this in the first person like a real newspaper article, with the main story being written in the third person so more like a story and made it easy to differentiate as you were reading.

I did enjoy the turns that the book took throughout which mirrored how things do indeed change in real life for people. Poppy managed to get her own job, and the story changed from there and I felt it was much more enjoyable. Poppy became much more edgy and interesting, and the way this affected not only her but Luke as well was good, and to be honest he deserved it! It was nice to see both sides of Poppy; the loving wife and mother, and also the party girl and model. The change of pace was a good feature of the book, and kept me very interested as you could tell something was brewing and I was desperate to know what it was! Cleverely done by the author, and a nice twist too.

The other characters throughout the book were also brilliant and added a lot to the story. Thea was Luke's colleague at the news station who has had a lifelong crush on him which has been unrequited. She's a strong career woman but when it comes to her private life, she's a mess. I wish she had been featured more in the book as I loved her scenes, and think she would have been good as a main character. Luke, Poppy's hubby, was just awful and God knows why any woman would be attracted to him to be frank! Hannah only appeared via the columns but was fantastic and it was nice to see her getting on with life.

At just under 500 pages, this is a bit longethe average chick-lit books I read, but the author has managed to fill all of those pages with a fantastic story which kept me interested all the way through. The way she changed the characters throughout was very good, and I liked this as it totally changed the book. Also, I liked how she set the scene of the book, and then went 2 years into the future to really explore how the relationship has changed, rather than trying to do it all in a matter of months. Good characters, a well written story and a very entertaining read. Recommended to chick-lit fans.

Rating: 4/5

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