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I'm sure most of you readers out there have been in a situation at one time or another, where you are away from your many books, all sitting there on your bookshelf, and the book you have chosen to take away with you turns out to be complete and utter rubbish. No matter how much you try to persevere with it, you just can't bring yourself to read any more. So what do you do? Well if you are anything like me you head off to the nearest cheap bookstore that offers books at discounted prices in the hope that something will catch your eye.
The bookstore in question for me was in Bridlington - can't quite remember the name, but it is near Priceless Shoes and across the street from Woolworths. Someone out there will be able to help me out with this, I'm sure. Anyway, this gorgeous little store had an offer of a good selection of paperbacks, all for £1.99 or 3 for £5. This book was one of 3 that I chose in the hope that at least one of them would provide me with a good light read with a bit of comedy.
Sue Welfare has written many books including some erotic novels but this is her second novel of this type, the first being A Few Little Lies. This was written back in 1999 and is a romantic comedy where the women take control.
Harry Bourne has everything he could possibly want, a wife who irons his shirts and cooks his meals, a mistress to take away at the weekends whilst he is on business meetings and a job that lets him get away with it all.
It all comes tumbling down, however, when suddenly his wife says enough is enough and decides she wants a life of her own. She kicks him out and he runs straight to his mistress of ten years, who is shocked, to say the least, when he tells her that he has finally left his wife. Little does he realise that she doesn't really want him either and puts a plan in action to get rid of him.
When the wife and mistress meet up in a business venture, they have no idea who the other is and what part they have played in Harry's life. Eventually they realise what he has been up to all those years and plot a dish of revenge, which is of course, best served cold. Both women then embark on a journey of discovery, of life without Harry but is he already looking in another direction for his home comforts.
Harry Bourne - This two-timing, lazy, sleazebag is every woman's worst nightmare. He swans around having his cake and eating it in large chunks. Needless to say he is distraught when his wife throws him out, as he can't see that he's done anything wrong, after all, she doesn't know about his mistress that he's got tucked away. He is shocked when his mistress doesn't exactly welcome him with open arms but thinks that his wife will change her mind when she realises that she can't live without him. Poor deluded fool that he is, you almost feel sorry for him, ok maybe you don't but it is a shame that all this comes at the same time as redundancy and he is forced to re-examine his life.
Katherine Bourne - The long-standing wife, mother and general dogsbody finally decides that enough is enough when she meets a woman interested in filming her house to use as a front for a TV series. She realises that this could be her opportunity to escape and have an exciting life of her own at last, away from the dishes and waiting patiently for her husband. Meeting the photographer, who takes the initial shots of the house, spurts her into taking action and kicking Harry out. A whirlwind romance makes her look at her life in a whole new way especially when she realises that her husband has been cheating on her for the last 10 years.
Carol Ackerman - Harry's mistress once would have had sweet dreams of the moment when he came to her saying he was leaving his wife but after 10 years it all seems a bit late in the day. She has already started to map out a future without him as her good friends and neighbours try to set her up with a man they approve of with no strings. When he turns up it's all a bit of a nightmare and she decides to get revenge when she realises that he has lied to her about the reasons for his sudden arrival at her door.
I really enjoyed this light-hearted story of revenge and the courage of two women who wanted to re-start their lives without a man they had both come to rely on in totally different ways. It was the perfect getaway read that I had been looking for and at a price that I found very acceptable.
The humour was gentle but I found myself chuckling out loud a few times as the irony of the situation developed. The unlikely bond of friendship between wife and mistress was one that I did find a little difficult to believe at first, but when you look deeper into the past relationship and how much Harry has changed since he and Katherine first met, I realised that she had just formed an indifference about him that I suppose happens when a lot of long term relationships are past their sell by date. It's a bit like how I feel towards my ex too.
One of my favourite bits of the book is actually on the first page when Katherine wishes it would be as easy to plan the perfect murder.
"Murder, thought Katherine Bourne, picking at her teeth with the vegetable knife, was a possible solution. It wasn't the first time she'd considered it. Of course, there was no such thing as the perfect murder. The only certain way of avoiding prison was suicide, though Katherine considered being married to Harry Bourne for twenty-five years just about as much suicide as one woman could take in a lifetime."
This sets the stage perfectly and I bet there are quite a few long-term wives out there who have had thoughts similar to this in the past.
There are lovely extra characters included too who don't just appear as padding but offer something genuine to the story. Ray and Geoff, the gay neighbours and friends of Carol, add a lovely element of humour and compassion to the story as they do everything they can to assist her with the problem that is known as Harry, as well as trying to set her up with a new man. These are friends, I'm sure, any woman would want to have.
My one complaint of this book was that the ending did seem to be a little bit rushed. It is difficult to elaborate on this without giving the story away but the last part of the revenge happens very quickly and the book seems to be over very suddenly. Although storylines are tied up I still felt a little bit cheated with this outcome.
That being said though, it was a thoroughly enjoyable piece of chick-lit with plenty of funny bits, emotional bits and downright nasty bits, in it to keep me enthralled to the end. I am definitely going to be trying to track down some this author's other books.
***Price and Availability***
Although this doesn't appear to be available in the main bookstores either on the high street or online, you can pick up a copy in various ways. Obviously it is available in some of the bargain bookstores, but you can also find it easily on ebay or Amazon marketplace, where you can pick it up reasonably cheaply. I got this as a deal of 3 books for £5. The price on the back of the book was £6.99.
ISBN No. 0007724543
Katherine has been a full-time housewife for 20 years, but it's all turning sour. Why can't Harry have an affair and leave? Harry's mistress is also finding that pleasure grows stale. The women decide that revenge is a dish best eaten cold - and concoct a denouement that serves Harry right.