This is a review of the 2005 book "The Accidental Mother" by Rowan Coleman. It's a book I swapped on readitswapit website as I thought it sounded like an interesting read. I have read another book by the same author "The Baby Group" a few years ago so it seems that there is a similar theme running through the genre of her books.
What's it about?
The book follows events organiser Sophie Mills who is in her late 20s and likes her clothes designer and her life is busy and social but all connected to working hard and getting the ultimate promotion, her boss's job. Imagine her surprise when her god mother-ly duties are called upon. Her best friend, since their school days has died in a car crash and wants Sophie to look after her two children in her will. Various other options are explored; the ex husband; the grandmother; but Social Services feel Sophie is best suited to the role so it's goodbye designer shoes and hello full time childcare. Izzy and Bella, aged three and six are a challenge but really quite sweet kids and while Sophie is working out what to do with them she ends up feeling quite attached to them.
I enjoyed reading this book, in fact it passed in a blur and the reading time seemed really quick. OK so it's not challenging by any means and some of the outcomes are a bit predictable but it made for nice relaxing bath time reading! I liked the fact that the kids were on the scene all the time and didn't magically disappear when the story line got a bit difficult juggling work and child care for example. Sophie stuck to her duties in a motherly manner and didn't lose her rag when her sofa and posh cushions got wrecked or the youngest peed on the rug. All in a day's work hey!
There are a couple of love interests in the book but they are really just in the background of the story line and don't take over the main theme of the book. Sophie is obviously a bit of a man magnet but is unaware of her charms probably because she works too hard.
It really did make me think about people who really do step in and look after other people's kids when there has been a terrible accident and how harrowing it must be for the children losing their parent(s). It does happen in real life thought and I thought this made for a potentially good story line.
Sophie's work were very understanding over the amount of time she needed to take off work to look after the girls. I am not sure all workplaces would be so flexible but she manages to juggle both committments admirably. She has put in a lot of work towards promotion and fears this may all be lost while she is away from the office but luckily she has a good PA who covers for her a lot and keeps up the activity in the office.
This book was a good read for me and a bit different to other chick lit out there. It wasn't too in depth or deep and whilst it touched on potentially upsetting themes there was always a nice side to it and a lot of people who cared for the girls in their sad situation.
Sophie Mills has worked her Manolo Blahniks off to reach the near-top of her profession. And she's very happy with her priorities in life - her job, her neurotic cat Artemis and her passion for shoes.
After all, relationships only get in the way. And as for children - She hasn't even begun to think about them yet. Until one day an unexpected visitor brings news of a strange inheritance and Sophie is suddenly, out of the blue, in sole charge of two children under the age of six. But motherhood can't be all that hard, can it?
Within twenty-four hours, her make-up smeared all over the bathroom, Artemis has taken up residence on top of her wardrobe, and Sophie is in despair. And all her unconventional mother can suggest is "Dr. Roberts' Complete Dog Training and Care Manual". Determined to rise to the challenge, Sophie soon realises that she'll need more than a business plan to cope with all this ...
I first read The Accidental Mother a few months ago but I managed to find The Accidental Family, which is the sequel, a few days ago and so decided to read The Accidental Mother again. I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time around.
The story is a unique one, a woman, Sophie, who made a pact with her best friend, Carrie, that if anything happened to her (Carrie) then Sophie would be the legal guardian of Carrie's 2 children. Having made that promise when she was a bit drunk she forgot all about it until the unexpected happened and she found herself with two kids under 6 to look after.
It was a great read and I just had to read one more chapter. The whole cast of characters were brilliant but the story belonged to Bella and Izzy, the two children. Sophie and Louis were important and a huge part of the story, as with all the minor characters, Cal, Jake, Sophie's mum, Carrie's mum and Tess the social worker but it was all about the children. They carried the story along and made it what it was.
I enjoyed how Sophie got to know the children and how her maternal instincts kicked in eventually. I loved that even though she came around the idea of having kids and really didn't want them to go with their father, Louis, she helped Bella like her father again. Louis was well-written - started out the villain but once you heard his side of the story it all became clear just what went on in his and Carrie's marriage.
Izzy and Bella were hilarious. I've got no idea how three-year-olds (Izzy) and six-year-olds (Bella) really act but I thought Rowan wrote the children really well. Izzy was hilarious and how I would expect a three-year-old to be. Bella was a different story, she was far more mature than six.
I liked Sophie's mother, her advice was to give Sophie a dog training manual. Cal, Lisa and all at Sophie's work were great particularly Cal with his fake language skills.
Overall it was a well-written story that I really enjoyed. Who knew a chick-lit book could involve death and still be amusing but also sad, too? I also enjoyed the romantic element between Louis and Sophie and cannot wait to read The Accidental Family. A brilliant read and I can add Rowan Coleman to my growing list of favourite authors.
First reviewed at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com
This is the fourth book I have read by Rowan Coleman and they have all been equally good.
In this book the 'accidental mother' is Sophie, the heroine of the story! When we first meet her she is a single minded career girl intent on gaining promotion and only caring about material things such as her Manolo Blahnik shoes!
The title of the book might imply that through her own carelessness or some one night stand Sophie accidentally becomes pregnant and has to change her life accordngly. This, in fact, is not the case at all. Sophie becomes mother to her best friend's dhildren, after she is tragically killed. This is all due to a drunken promise made a few years before and we discover that Sophie is certainly a girl who keeps her word.
The book is really about Sophie's emotional journey as she struggles to come to terms with instant motherhood and the loss of her freedom. Also, mixed up in all this, is her troubled feelings about her old friend. This is particularly so after she discovers that the happy ever after she had imagined for her friend is far from the truth seeing as she had been left by her husband when she was expecting her second child.
Sophie deals with her new found predicament by believing that it is only temporary and sets off on a mission to find the girls' father and to reunite them. Although she succeeds, she also finds out that nothing is plain sailing and she still has a strong role to play in all their lives.
I don't want to say too much in case of ruining what is a really good read but there are certainly a few twists and traumatic events as the book heads towards an emotional climax.
The characterisation in this book is excellent. At the beginning, I didn't think I was going to like Sophie as she seems the typical material career girl. However, as the story unfolds, I found myself feeling more sympathetic towards her as Rowan Coleman develops the more loving aspect of her character well. My feelings towards the girls' father also changed throughout the book. Expecting him to be the typical villain, it was not long before I started to emphasis with his situation, and of course, realised that there are two sides to every story.
The real stars of the story are the two little girls. I feel that Rowan Coleman captures the essence of childhood really well. Fun loving and mischevious one moment, scared, fragile and insecure the next! The girls are lovely and anyone who has young children will at least partly recogmise elements of their own!
The story is well paced although it did take me a while to get into it. However, towards the end I found I couldn't put it down and there were pages which actually had me in tears whereas others had me laughing out loud! I really wanted to find out what happened at the end!
At just under 400 pages, and published by Arrow for £6.99, it is a reasonable length read as well!
This is obviously not a book for everyone but if you are into slightly less lighweight chick lit I would really recommend this book.
I had no preconception about the work of Rowan Coleman when I bought this book, and I suppose was tempted by its' light hearted cover, and the short description that gave the main plot of the story. I wanted something light to read, but something that wasn't trashy or too over-stated, and the book seemed to hit the right cord with me.
The story revolves around the life of Sophie, a career woman almost at the peak of her career. She cares passionately about how she looks. She is neat and articulate, and lives with a cat called Artemis. Unable to sustain relationships that get in the way of order, Sophie would seem the least likely of people to tolerate children, though things are going to change, and change drastically, when she inherits the care of her two Godchildren, after a promise made flippantly to a friend.
It's the kind of story that has been done in movies, and probably done to death in that form, although the book is refreshingly funny and appealing, dealing with so many issues that I believe it merits both the price of the book at a modest 6.99 GBP and the time spent reading it. The children within the book are well portrayed and the feelings that they have adjusting to a new home environment rather real but rather disturbing at the same time. Insecurity, loss of familiar surroundings, and perhaps loss of trust in life make them vulnerable, and after all, Sophie is only supposed to look after them for a short period, so the involvement was supposed to have been a surface involvement, though matures with the written word being superbly apt, and very well structured.
The other characters within the book are also believable and quite real in both their approach and reaction to circumstances, and I sailed through this book in a week of evening reading, looking forward to the next installment and actually feeling empathy for the characters on all sides of the tale told. Izzy and Bella, the children are complex little characters, though even here, the author has managed to paint a wonderful picture of how a youngster deals with trauma, and how her older sister takes on the role of responsibility, though how each remember things from their past in very different ways.
I like the style of writing very much, and believe that the writer, who has also written Growing up Twice, After Ever After and Woman Walks into a Bar is well worth reading. It's probably chic lit at its' best although there are many words of wisdom within the pages, in the ways in which Sophie deals with situations that she has never had to face before, with little or no experience of what real caring relationships are about, with a clueless mother who suggests Dr. Roberts Complete Dog Training and Care Manual as a guide to how Sophie should deal with crisis after crisis.
Not wishing to give a lot of the story away, it's a modern day tale, and a very valid one, and I believe it serves more use than just a work of fiction, in that many of the ideas demonstrated by the character of Sophie were ones that I feel could be used in real life situations, in order to help both children and adults respect each others' feelings in a period of adjustment.
It also dealt with work relationships, routines that are changed, the importance of having support of those around you, but most of all, learning self awareness and capability by hazard, rather than in a designed way. It's warm, it's friendly, and groundbreaking in that I came out of the other side of the story seriously thinking about how adaptable a person should be in order to enhance an otherwise routine existence, and avoid the safety of success, and feeling that the wealth Sophie found was something that money cannot buy but that experience can.
A super book and one that I would thoroughly recommend. I shall read it again, as it's a good story. Will Sophie cope ? Will Social Services find the children's errant father ?
You will have to read it to find out.
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Arrow (16 Mar 2006)
Also available in hardback from Amazon and here I would actually recommend the paperback version, since the hardback is a pricey alternative at 18.06 GBP
You'll love it.
Sophie Mills has worked her Manolo Blahniks off to reach the near-top of her profession. And she's very happy with her priorities in life - her job, her neurotic cat Artemis and her passion for shoes. After all, relationships only get in the way. And as for children - She hasn't even begun to think about them yet. Until one day an unexpected visitor brings news of a strange inheritance and Sophie is suddenly, out of the blue, in sole charge of two children under the age of six. But motherhood can't be all that hard, can it? Within twenty-four hours, her make-up smeared all over the bathroom, Artemis has taken up residence on top of her wardrobe, and Sophie is in despair. And all her unconventional mother can suggest is Dr. Roberts' Complete Dog Training and Care Manual. Determined to rise to the challenge, Sophie soon realises that she'll need more than a business plan to cope with all this.