6 May 2009

Book Review: The Yorkshire Pudding Club by Milly Johnson

The Yorkshire Pudding Club is the debut novel by Milly Johnson, and what a stonker of a debut it is too. Elizabeth, Helen and Janey are all in their late thirties, and happily settled in their careers and in their relationships.

However, their lives are thrown into madness when after a visit to an ancient fertility symbol, all 3 women find themselves 'with child'!

Helen is thrilled to be pregnant after trying for a while, Janey is in shock as the baby will reck all plans of furthering her career, and Elizabeth is completely thrown, scared she won't love her baby and scared of being alone.

What I enjoyed most abut the novel was the easy way in which the author has weaved the stories of the three women with that of the other women. It reads so easily and wonderfully, you just can just lose yourself in the story, it is so absorbing and a simple joy to read! Throughout the book, the story switches regularly from focussing on one of the women then to another, and often with chapters containing them all together. This is a great technique in the book and makes it veryenjoyable for the reader.

Each of the characters are well written and you feel as if you know all of the women. You are given a history on all of them, and we fully go into their lives and feelings about being pregnant, from discovering they are expecting right up to the birth of one of the children. Helen's character started as being the one I disliked the most, but by the end I had the most respect for her and was willing it all to work out for her! Elizabeth was a very hard character to like, a woman who didn't like anyone getting close to her, and this is how the author has written her as well. And finally Janey is the comic relief throughout the book, and probably my favourite character. Each of the women are very different, yet all are fundamentally the same, experiencing everything together, and have a wonderful friendship which is lovely to read.

I also liked the human aspect of the story, watching each woman cope with the pregnancy and reading about how their feelings changed towards the baby by the end of the book. As well as the main 3 characters, there are several supporting characters too. John is the one Elizabeth let go, but he's moved back to town and befriends her once more. George is Janey's husband, a man so desperate to be a father he'd do anything to have a baby with his wife. Simon is Helen's slime-ball of a husband, and someone I absolutely detested. I found the scenes between these 2 particularly hard to read. There were also the work colleagues of the characters but they don't really need a mention! The male characters in the book were also well written and their feelings weren't left out which is a sign of a great writer.

For a debut novel, I think this one is amazing. I was hooked right from the start and just couldn't put it down. The story is a wonderful one to read and just reads so incredibly well. You are taken right into the lives of these women and so many emotions and secrets are revealed throughout the book, you are left guessing about certain things right up until the end. The author has a wonderful writing style which makes for easy and simple reading, yet managing to keep you hooked as well. The book is written in the third person which allows for easy switching between the characters. Simply superb, I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone. A pure joy to read.

Rating: 5/5

Read an exclusive interview with the author Milly Johnson here.

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