9 January 2013

eBook Review: Divorce for Beginners by Sophie King

"As Lizzie juggles running a failing women's magazine with bringing up a young family she ponders on whether you really can “have it all”. The answer comes sooner than she expects when her husband's actions turn her world upside down...

Alison should be looking forward to a quieter life with David now that their youngest has flown the nest. But David has other ideas and his increasingly bizarre behaviour leaves Alison wondering if she really knows her husband at all...

Karen has managed to hold her family together since leaving her husband Paul many years before. That makes her the perfect person to start The "How to Survive Divorce" Club, to help others on their own. But as the burden of past secrets unravels, Karen realises she needs help too.

Ed really believes in marriage. So much so that he's done it three times already. But as his work and home life get ever more complicated, will he ever be able to find “The One”...?

Add in mysterious diary entries, an overbearing sister, a troublesome stepbrother, the surprise return of faces from the past, grown up kids with their own problems, and ageing parents who've discovered the ups (and downs) of internet dating and you have a gripping and entertaining tale of modern life as our foursome struggle with... Divorce for Beginners."

Rating: 4/5

Before I'd read anything published her own name of Janey Fraser, I'd read and enjoyed several books that were published under the pseudonym Sophie King, and hoped that publication under a new name didn't spell the end of her books as Sophie King, as I'd always found them to be really enjoyable and fun reads that centre around believable people. Her latest book, Divorce for Beginners is only being released through the eBook format, but I was lucky enough to be sent a copy to review on my Kindle, and I couldn't resist getting stuck in as soon as it appeared on my device.

This book sticks to a format tried and tested by Sophie before, and I found it really worked for the purpose of this book and the many stories that it has going on within. There's young mum and journalist Lizzie who is left devastated when she finds out a shocking secret her husband has been hiding from her despite their outwardly happy marriage; Alison is looking forward to having some quiet alone time with her husband David now that their youngest has left for University but her plans and world are about to be shattered in two...; Ed, a man who wants more than anything to settle down and get married, but none of his marriages so far have worked out. He's starting to lose hope, will he ever find the one? Holding these lonely hearts together is Karen, a woman who has survived a marriage separation and now enjoys a close relationship with her son and young grandson, but when her former husband Paul makes a comeback in her life, Karen is unsure of her feelings after so many years, what advice will the divorce agony aunt give herself?!

I've seen a couple of comments that say there was too much going on in this book and that it was hard to keep up, but I have to say I didn't find that to be the case at all. Yes, there are lots of different families and characters, but once you have them all in your mind, it's easy to follow and I enjoyed how the book chopped and changed between all of the stories, it keeps you updated as a reader and keeps your interest in all of the stories as well. Each of the characters was believable and likeable enough in their own way, and you have to feel pity for them all for what they are put through by their ex husbands/wives/partners. My favourites were Alison and Lizzie, there was something really likeable about these women, and I could relate a bit to the things that happened to them, and the feelings of abandonment and sadness they felt.

I liked that there was a male perspective in the story too from the character of Ed, although he does feel a bit out of place in a group full of women! I liked his story very much and really wanted a happy ending for Ed, although there was an element of secrecy hanging over him throughout the story and I was really curious to find out what it was as I was reading. I enjoyed the writing style very much, the third person narrative allows King to flit between the stories and focus characters with ease, I especially liked the group meetings that the characters held, funny yet tinged with emotion and sadness. King writes the many emotions of the characters so well, I have to confess I found myself in floods of tears at one very unexpected scene that for me was a little close to home at this time, her writing really puts across the sadness and loss for one of these characters and I applaud King for her realism when writing that scene.

I am sure there will be a lot of women (and men!) out there who will be able to relate to things that any of these characters go through in the book, but even though the subject matter isn't always an easy read, I enjoyed the story that King weaves and found the book to be very compulsive - I wanted to read it at every opportunity and find out the next part of the story, as well as who was writing the mysterious diary entries that kept cropping up throughout the book. With real emotion written throughout, Divorce for Beginners is a poignant read that will have you rooting for its characters, and admiring them for their resilience in the face of adversity in their lives - they represent what a lot of people go through in their day to day lives, and I found I could really sympathize and feel sorry for them. Sophie King (Janey Fraser) is a fantastic storyteller, and I urge everyone to give this one some space on your Kindle!

You can buy Divorce for Beginners as an eBook now.

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