Quinn 'Q' Boothroyd has just become a mother to Samuel, and both she and her husband Tom are enjoying parenthood despite it being harder than either of them realised. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Jeanie, Q's little sister, is getting cold feet about the seriousness of her relationship with eco-warrior Dave so she decides to up to New York to visit her sister and new nephew. But life isn't going to be plain sailing for either of the sisters - Q has to decide if she really wants to return to her corporate job or settle for less, and Jeanie has to make a decision about Dave, and do a bit of growing up along the way. What will the sisters decide, and will it be the right choice?
I haven't read a Sarah Bilston novel, so when I realised that this book was a sequel to her previous novel Bed Rest, I was slightly concerned that I would have missed something vital to this story. Luckily for me, it seemed that this book was pretty stand alone; the characters were introduced so that readers new to her work could get to know them properly and back story was referred to throughout the novel. Of course, it would be better if you could read Bed Rest first, but if you haven't don't worry because you really will enjoy this book anyway, just as I did!
Bilston's novel is set primarily in America, and mainly in Connecticut where Q is holidaying, although the very English characters allow the book to keep in the British humour and sense throughout the book. The book is told in the first person from two different people, and when I realised this I was worried I'd get confused about the narrator as I have done in the past with this style of writing! However, Bilston made it clear for her readers by having both Q and Jeanie narrate alternating chapters, and their name appears alongside the chapter number as well. Despite my initial worries, the two writing styles used by the author were different for both Q and Jeanie and therefore it's an easy and enjoyable read into which you can just immerse yourself.
I found myself liking the characters immediately and I didn't feel I'd missed out on anything by not reading Bed Rest. I will admit that I felt the book did start a bit slowly for me, with Q attending her first party since becoming a mum and not getting on very well, but after this slow start the pace did pick up and the book dove straight into the lives of Q, Tom and Baby Samuel, and then we were introduced to Jeanie. She was very different to Q, much more quick-tempered and actually more fun to read for me! She was quite unpredictable, very funny and I just warmed to her straight away even though there were times she did seem a little immature! There was a sweet sub-story involving Jeanie and an old people's home in the book, and I found it quite touching. I think its good the author has deviated slightly from the main story and done something a bit different here, it made a nice change of pace and I think readers will like how it changed Jeanie too.
I really did enjoy reading this book, and I found that once I was well and truly into the story, I just couldn't put it down. The characters are all really likeable, and the change of story every now and then kept it all fresh and exciting to read. Mothers will sympathise with Q's exasperation at being up all night with her son and the love that she feels for him despite the tough nights, but it won't just appeal to mums! It really is a very well written and enjoyable story, which benefits from some great first person narration from its two main characters, and lovely description of small American towns, as well as big bold New York City too. It was a great read, and I would definitely recommend that fans of the Women's Fiction genre read this, and I think I'm going to read its predecessor Bed Rest too simply because I enjoy the authors writing! Recommended.
ISBN: 978-0751538342. Published by Sphere in December 2008. The paperback copy contains 320 pages and is available on Amazon for £5.99.
Author Website: http://sarahbilston.typepad.com/
This review has previously appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk
Thank you for reading.