8 April 2013

Book Review: Wonder Women by Rosie Fiore

"Jo has always dreamed of starting her own business, but the arrival of her two gorgeous toddlers has put her ambition on the backburner. Then she hits on a brilliant idea – a kids’ clothing shop with a twist – and is thrilled when it really takes off. When husband Lee offers to quit his job to look after the family while her business grows, it seems a godsend – but will their marriage stand the test of reversing their roles?

Jo soon recruits Holly and Mel to help her in the shop. Designer Holly’s high-flying career has come crashing down and she’s moved back home – but is she ready to manage a major family crisis? Meanwhile, Mel worries her teenage daughter Serena is going off the rails. Is finding out more worth risking her daughter’s trust? 

At the crossroads of their lives, friendship could be the only the thing keeping these wonder women strong."

Rating: 4/5

You can pre-order Wonder Women as a paperback or an eBook now.

I very much enjoyed reading Rosie Fiore's 2012 release Babies in Waiting which was published through Quercus, so I was really pleased when they offered me a copy of her new book to review as a Kindle edition (the paperback is being released a few months after the eBook). I eagerly downloaded it to my Kindle and began reading... no mean feat since I would rather read a paperback anyday, but I was so keen to read this one, I didn't mind the Kindle for once and got stuck in. The cover has been through a bit of a change since it's original, and is now a blue hue instead of the more garish green, and I actually prefer the blue, far more suited to the idea of the book now I have read it!

The book is based around a group of women who run a children's clothing shop together. The main character is Jo, married to Lee and mum to two young children. Jo's career didn't really take off as she planned, but she is sure when she has the idea for the clothes shop that she can make it work. Husband Lee is really supportive, and decides to take on the bulk of childcare while his wife works on her new career. Also working at the shop are new friends Holly and Mel. Holly has just returned from living in South Africa for 10 years, and is getting over her own betrayal and heartache. Mel is a single mum to daughter Serena, but is worried about the state of their relationship. She's sure Serena is hiding things and is worried about her daughter but is unsure of how to broach it with the volatile teen. Will the three women be able to make a success of the shop against the odds?

The story begins mainly with Jo and Lee, and jumps about in their life story, from when they were just friends, to getting together and eventually getting married and having children together. I liked that Fiore took to the time to introduce these characters properly because it allows the reader to really like them as a couple and want things to work out for them. I really liked Jo, and could relate to her feelings of guilt as a working mum. Fiore makes her seem very real, and she doesn't make the journey too plain-sailing either, you can feel when Jo is up against it, and her uncertainty about her success endears you to her. Her relationship with husband Lee is also very realistic too, and he is a great character, struggling to cope with the demands of suddenly becoming a stay-at-home father and a wife who isn't around as much as before.

The other women too were great to read about, and I think a lot of women reading will be able to relate to them in some way, however small. Holly's story was fascinating to read, and I especially enjoyed the parts set in South Africa. It is Fiore's native country, and she writes it and its people so brilliantly, you feel like you are in the thick of it with them! Holly's South African friends in particular were brilliant, and I really did enjoy these parts of the story. Holly's tale in the more present day is at the same both excellent and heart-breaking. The storyline involving her mother had me in tears, it's so emotionally written and Fiore handles it so well, I think I cared more about this story than Jo and Lee in parts, it was so moving. Mel, the single mum's story was less compulsive, but you want things to work out okay for the mother and daughter duo, she's a likeable character and works hard in the shop for Jo.

The idea of opening a shop isn't a new one for a book, it's a subject which has been written about many times in chick lit and women's fiction, but I really did enjoy Fiore's take on it. She doesn't shy away from letting the reader know all aspects of opening a shop and how hard it was for Jo, and I enjoyed reading about the progression of the shop, and how that changed the lives of its workers. The relationships of all those in the book are good to read about, and the women in it really are wonder women, going up against the odds to try and make a success of their new venture. The shop they create sounds fantastic, it's certainly something that I could imagine would be do-able and a welcome idea to many parents out there! I definitely recommend this book, it's a brilliant read and I was engrossed in the story of Jo, Mel and Holly from start to finish, and it certainly brings Rosie Fiore up into the ranks of a must-read author for me, I can't wait for her next book!

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad I found this, I've been trying to build up my summer book list and Wonder Women seems like the PERFECT vacation read. I just finished The Publicist (thepublicistnovel.com) and it was fantastic, another great story about a strong, career-focused woman whose friendships help keep her together while dealing with crazy clients, her romantic life and just the day-to-day stuff so many women face. I highly recommend it. Would love to hear what else people are adding to their summer lists! And thanks again Chloe for another great review/recommendation!!!