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After enjoying a couple of Tess Stimson's other books I couldn't wait to get stuck into another one! This book I bought at the same time as her book 'The Infidelity chain' but, I had saved this one to take away with me and read on the plane as that way I knew I would have an author I liked to keep me company on the long flight!
Tess Stimson is an English author who now lives in Vermont, USA with her husband and three children. She has written 6 fiction books and two none fiction and also writes for the Daily Mail. She also sometimes writes for women's magazines and was once a producer for ITN.
Clare Elias was happy to have children with her toy boy husband Marc. When she has twins though, it turns out to be much harder than she thought. Desperate to regain some control, she enlists the help of a nanny, Jenna, who helps brings a sense of order to the household again. However, Marc has traditional values on rearing children and hates that Clare has employed a nanny and not to mention it is already difficult for him as the man of the household, that she earns more than him.
Things soon start to spiral out of control and Clare realises that life is not always as easy as it seems when it comes to motherhood and loyalties.
Clare is our main character and we meet her at the beginning when she is having the twins in an unexpected location! In a very short space of time we learn how she normally has a very organized life and how she has built up a business of her own that she loves. Considering Clare has such a stuck up mother and was brought up somebody who didn't really care for her children, Clare is actually a pretty nice person and a good mother but, she constantly struggles and believes she is doing a bad job because her husband makes out that her main priority should be to stay at home with the children.
Marc I never really liked as he just seemed angry all the time that his wife would want a career still after having the babies. He had it in his head that once she had them, she would stop working and cannot understand why should would feel the need to still work. I felt this was probably due to miscommunication between the characters really as surely these things should have been spoken about before they decided to have children but, generally I hated the way he acted with her even though if it were not for the amount of money Clare has, then they wouldn't have half the things they own anyway!
Lastly our other main character is Jenna, the nanny. I really liked her as she was down to earth and said things how they were. Plus she wasn't somebody who was out to cause trouble but, just somebody who had her own problems to deal with too.
This book was purchased as part of the popular buy one, get one free offer in Tesco. Even though the offer is now two for £8, I bought this quite some time ago when it was £7 for two. This was bought at the same time as another one of Tess Stimson's books actually as I spotted two that I didn't have so bought them both together making them £3.50 each as the RRP on them both was £6.99. A bargain for a new book in my eyes! Second hand copies can be picked up on various sites for varying prices.
I really enjoyed this book and this was one of the reasons it took me so long to read is because sometimes, I like to keep the books by authors I have really enjoyed previously aside, so that when I can't decide which book to start next from my huge pile, I know I can pick one of my favourite authors up and I will enjoy it!
I was immediately swept into the story as the book opens with a bit of action taking place and so you are thrown right into the plot. I think it helped that the characters were so interesting and another major factor is that Tess Stimson writes with such frankness that it really gives the book an edge. She makes the characters more real with thoughts and feelings that most normal people are thinking but, would usually keep to themselves and this is what makes reading her books such an enjoyable experience.
I think it would probably be easy for many people to relate to this book whether you're the parent struggling to look after your children or not coping with being a new parent or if you're the person who is struggling to keep on top of money problems or maybe even in a relationship that has gone wrong or is falling apart. I think the thing is there are many different elements to this book that will keep many different people interested. I liked that the author sneakily had a couple of people in the book that were featured in her other book. They weren't used so that you would need to know their previous stories but, just dropped in and for those who have read the other books it is a nice little addition to see a familiar name or two! I would highly recommend this book and think you should give this author a go whether it is with this book or one of her others.
At first glance The Cradle Snatcher looks like a standard chick lit offering with its metallic pink cover, but having read and really enjoyed The Adultery Club and The Infidelity Chain I was expecting more than fluffy fiction in Tess Stimson's latest offering. As her previous titles suggest, Stimson tends to tackle the grittier side of relationships and The Cradle Snatcher is no different. For every women who ever wished they had a handsome, rich toy boy she book will certainly tell you that the grass is not always greener.
Although there is some overlap of minor characters from the two previous novels, this is a stand alone novel, so no reading of the previous titles required, and is written in the first person through the eyes of several of the characters. This throws and interesting perspective on the novel as you will often see an event through several eyes, which can often change your perspective on the story. It reminded me of the way the film déjà vu plays out, but in book format! The chapters are also intermittently split up with letters and emails, some of which seem out of place as you read them, but all is revealed as you go along.
The main character is Clare Elias, owner of an upmarket florist chain and new mother to twins. The story, without gicing away the plot, looks at her relationship with handsome toyboy husband Marc, and how their relationship changes following the birth of there children. I think the character development of Clare is written brilliantly, as to start with our found her cold and hard to relate to but you find her opening up as the book progresses, and the struggle to have it all will be a theme that is familiar to most mums. She is still trying to get over her traumatic birth, one of her twins was kept in special care and she is finding it hard to form a bond with him Despite her determination to raise her children herself, and the disapproval from her husband Marc, she hires Jenna, a capable nanny trapped in a nightmare relationship, and in debt up to her eyeballs. As Clare forges an unlikely friendship with Jenna, the gulf between her and Marc widens.
Other Characters in the book include Clare's brother Xan, a complex commitment-phoebe and their mother Davina, an unemotional widower who cannot understand how her children have turned out the way they have.
The book drags you along on a rollercoaster of events, exploring themes normally left well alone in chick lit novels - including domesic violence and features several scenes which are quite disturbing, although they are very well written and fit the context of the novel. Although I am a chick lit fan I often get annoyed at the predictability of the genre, but I can honestly say this one gave me plenty of jaw dropping surprises and kept me guessing until the last page
I picked this book up for £3.74 (or 2 for £7) in Tesco.
I have a lot of pre-release books on my reservations list at the library so when they get them in stock, I get them first! I do like a new book so its always nice to be the first to read it, even if it isn't mine to keep. A while ago, the new novel from Tess Stimson was due out so I popped it on my list and I soon got the message it was ready for collection. I hadn't read Stimson's work before, despite having 2 of her books on my shelf so I was intrigued to see whether this one would be any good, and if I should read her earlier stuff or not! It turned out that it was a fantastic read, and I just couldn't put it down until I'd turned the last page.
Clare Elias is happily married to Marc, a banker. She runs a successful chain of florists across London and loves their luxury lifestyle. However, their lives change dramatically when Clare gets pregnant and gives birth to twins, Rowan and Poppy. Clare struggles to cope with her babies and employs nanny Jenna to help out at home. The two strike up an unlikely friendship which Clare's husband begins to resent. Clare realises that something is awry with her family life, and soon relies on Jenna more than she can imagine when things take a serious and shocking turn.
The book has a nice purple cover which really does scream 'chick-lit' at you but this book is a lot deeper and more serious than its cover or indeed its blurb suggests. From the title, I expected this book to be about adultery and more focussed on Clare's marriage, but its clear that Stimson has chosen this title carefully so as not to give a clue to her readers about the story within. The writing style in the book is brilliant and immediately draws you in, so much so that you can't put it down because you just want to find out what happens next. Everything about this book makes it very readable, and the two main female characters were one of the main reasons.
I wasn't keen on Clare at the beginning. She seemed to be so set on her career and her children were a bit of an inconvenience to her. But Stimson really turned around that character for me very quickly and I soon began to sympathise with her. Clare had a traumatic birth and this is further shown when Stimson writes about Clare's different feelings to her 2 children because one was able to stay with Clare and the other was miles away in a Special Care Baby Unit. As a mum of a SCBU baby myself, I could relate to the feeling in the book and thought this was so well done. More serious elements of motherhood are covered, and they can become quite disturbing but its all done well in the context of the book. It certainly isn't light reading but that is what made it so compulsive to me. Clare is a lot more complicated than we first realise and that boded well for the development of the story.
Jenna is the other lead female, and is Clare's nanny. She's a very likeable person, bubbly and fun to read but its clear there is something going on behind the scenes which is hinted at throughout but takes a while to come to fruition.
It was bubbling under the main story during the book and this was great because it kept me guessing about Jenna all the way through. The depths of the female characters were very good, and so well written, its clear the author has really thought about these women before writing a story around them. Other characters include Clare's brother Xan, a character with a shocking secret, her mother Davina and Cooper, a customer at Clare's shop who knows as much about flowers as Clare does, and intrigues Clare from the off.
The thing I really loved about this book is the way Stimson has written it. She has used the first person to tell the story, but the narrator alternates at each chapter and the tone and pace changes accordingly. It wasn't hard to tell who was narrating and this really allowed me to get fully involved in the story. One thing I loved about this was the over-lapping Stimson uses. For example, she showed an argument between Clare and Marc from Clare's narration, and at the next chapter, the same thing is told from Jenna's viewpoint and carries the story on another tangent. It made it fun to read and keeps you updated on all areas of the story. Letters and emails etc were also used between the chapters to hint at things to come and these were fun to read and decipher as well.
This is intelligent chick-lit and totally absorbing. The book covers lots of issues from marital woes to post natal depression to domestic violence, so it isn't one for the light-hearted reader. But Stimson weaves a wonderful story which is very deep, extremely interesting and just a brilliant read. There is a lot of information about flowers and their meanings dotted throughout, and it was interesting to learn the origins of flower names and their real meanings. Clare and Jenna are fascinating characters, but the supporting characters are just as good; Xan in particularl had me hooked. Apparently several characters from this book appeared in her earlier stories, so I am quite eager to read those now and find out more about those people... a good idea of Stimson's! Lots of twists, turn and shocks...a brilliant read, and highly recommended.
ISBN: 978-0330458528. Published by Pan Books in January 2009. Paperback: 400 pages. RRP: £6.99.
Author website: www.tessstimson.com
Thank you for reading!
I finished reading this book yesterday after several days of being unable to put it down as it was a real page-turner, and I couldn't wait to find out how it all ended.
The main character is Clare, who is a businesswoman with her own chain of flower shops in London. Despite being hugely successful in her career, she finds it impossible to cope after giving birth to twins. Much to the dismay and anger of her younger husband, Marc, she hires a nanny (Jenna) so that she can get back to work. The book charts the relationships between these three characters, as well as with the slightly more minor characters such as Xan (Clare's brother), Davina (Clare and Xan's mother) and Cooper (a mysterious American who regularly buys flowers from Clare's shop and will prove indispensable as the book progresses). I won't give away any important spoilers, but the events that unfold are more interesting and dramatic than the blurb on the back of the book would suggest.
I found the characters very believable, especially the female characters as both Clare and Jenna are struggling with personal issues in their lives. The book is divided into chapters that tell events from the perspective of the main characters. Some events will be told twice or more but from different perspectives, so you can get a good idea of where each of the characters is coming from.
For me, this was a really gripping read and I was desperate to get to the end as quickly as possible to discover the ending. If you have read any of Tess Stimson's other books, you may be vaguely familiar with some of the peripheral characters. In this book, Cooper and Ella were prominent characters in her book "The Infidelity Chain", and Nicholas (a lawyer employed by Clare) features strongly in "The Adultery Club", although they are only really background characters here so you do not need to have read it or any of her other books to able to follow this one.