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The Difference a Day Makes - Carole Matthews

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6 Reviews

Genre: Fiction / Author: Carole Matthews / Paperback / 416 Pages / Book is published 2009-09-03 by Headline Review

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    6 Reviews
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      09.01.2011 11:29
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      another shining book by Carole Mathews

      I have recently read a number of Carole Mathew's books which I have thoroughly enjoyed. The latest one I have found is The Difference a Day Makes.


      ***PLOT***

      We meet hardworking business couple Amy and William. They have a very busy life working in T.V and have the perfect nanny who looks after their children. Life couldn't be any better for this city couple until one day on the way to work together Will collapses on the train. This event makes Will assess his life and decides to up root his family to start a fresh with their lives in the country.
      The problem is this is Williams dream and both Amy and the children are finding it hard to adapt. When things feel as if they couldn't get any worse for Amy when she goes to wake Will in the garden she realises her husband has died. Question is now does Amy and the children manage to carry on living Williams dream with the help of the local vet Guy or do they just pack up and go back to their old life?



      ***Characters***
      This is going to be a first for me but I have to say I loved each and every individual character in this book. Unfortunately due to Will passing away early on in the book we didn't get to enjoy his character for long. We find that we just want to reach out to our main character Amy and just let her know that everything will be ok! My favourite character in this book has to be the local vet Guy who does all he can to help Amy after Will sadly passes away. His character is just so loving and caring we all need a Guy in our lives!


      ***My Opinion***
      This storyline has everything thrown into it. A large part was emotional due to the loss of William but there was also a romance element, and some humour when it come to the antics that the dog had been up to! There is just a generally warm feel to this book. I was addicted to this book and actually finished it in under a day. I just couldn't wait to see what happens next. We as the reader just want to see what Amy is doing to help build their lives back after this tragedy and is she going to make the right decision. In no part of this book could you say that it was predictable, even down to the last chapter you could not anticipate what was going to happen which I feel was the reason the reader is kept hooked the whole way through this book. It does help that the chapters in this book are not long either so if you were going to read the book over a few days you are able to just read a chapter here and there as most chapters were only 3-4 pages long.

      All Carole Mathews fans would love this book as it is as good as her other books I have read. It has got more of the country theme to this book which I haven't read a Carole Mathews book which has been based in the country. I cannot find any bad points to this book it was enjoyable from beginning to end.

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        16.07.2010 22:00
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        A carole Matthews book

        This book I have had for some time and is another I have had on my shelf for ages before I had time to actually start reading it! I have now read a fair few of Carole Matthews books and have enjoyed all of them so I started this one with quite high expectations.


        The author:
        Carole Matthews is an English author who has written 13 books. A couple of her books have been sold to Hollywood apparently although I am not sure which ones and she has also done a bit of TV presenting and is also on the radio too.


        The plot:
        William and Amy have a good life in London until the day William collapses on the way into work from chest pains. After being told he should now take it easier and reduce his stress levels, William decides the best move is the big kind and before long him, Amy and their children, Jessica and Tom, have upped sticks and are living in the countryside with a house falling to pieces and more farm animals than they know what to do with!
        Before long it seems that they are in deep with looking after the animals, trying to do up the house and generally stay on top of things and Amy starts to realise that this maybe Williams dream life but, it certainly isn't hers!


        Characters:
        Amy I our main character in this book even though it is Will that instigates the move to the countryside. The story follows her more as she tries to deal with a new way of life, constantly worrying about her husband and trying to keep on top of everything - the author has managed to make Amy seem quiet vulnerable in a way even though at first she comes across as very confident. However when she moves to the countryside we see how she changes and at first she is determined to try and not like the place they are living so her husband will want to go back to city living!
        William I found came across as quite care free - I guess this was how the author wanted him to be portrayed as he is the whole reason the books story comes about but, I actually did feel like he took it a bit too extremely by the way he just decides he wants to move and how he starts collecting animals without really thinking about how he and his family will cope!
        We also see much of the local vet once William starts to obtain more and more animals and he is portrayed as true country man! He seems so down to earth and really helps out the family as they try to adjust to their new life and of course it is very easy to see that this is exactly how the author wanted him to come across in the book.


        Price:
        I cannot remember how much I paid for this book as I bought it that long ago but, you can pick up many new copies for around the £3 up mark and of course you can always rent a copy from the library!


        Overall opinion:
        I once again enjoyed another book by Carole Matthews - it was really easy to get into and from the very first chapter the action starts, kicking off with William collapsing on the tube. So for me this meant I wanted to know what happened to him and of course this makes the book more interesting. I like how well the author has managed to bring to life the area they move to and make the home and other people we meet enjoyable to read about. In fact it was even nice for me to have so many animals taking centre stage in the book being an animal lover!
        I thought the book was believable too as even though I could never imagine myself being that drastic, it is something that many people do all the time and decide to start new lives after having a health scare or deciding they just want a new way of life because they have become sick of their old one and I like how the author managed to gets the fears of Amy and her children across as they were feeling very lost and wondering when William was going to start acting normal again.
        For me this was a another very enjoyable book and another I would recommend.

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          08.06.2010 07:37
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          A refreshing change from the norm

          Almost ten years ago I was living in a poky five room flat just off the North Circular Road on the outskirts of central London within ear shot of the over ground and the underground and a ceaseless stream of never ending traffic with a newborn baby, a husband and a lodger. Call it post natal depression or a sudden glimpse of the lunacy to which I was subjected on a daily basis but I'd had enough. It wasn't a gradual process but a sudden snap that's it we're off decision that uprooted my family moving us 300 miles to a cottage in the wilds of North Wales with a leaky roof, no central heating and several large holes where doubled glazed windows should have been. There was no rationale behind my selection of property nor a job to go to or any family or friends. Just pure gut instinct and a determination to make it work.

          In this particularly funny book by Carole Matthews the central character William reaches a similar conclusion and drags his unsuspecting family along with him to the hills and dales of a small Yorkshire village where he attempts to make the transition from townie to small holder making almost as many mistakes as we did along the way. I had tears of laughter streaming down my face at times. Whether this is because the book is genuinely funny or because I've been there, done that and screwed it up almost as badly was at times debatable. Clearly no one moves seamlessly from the life of a city dweller to one where everyone knows everything about you and anything you do becomes a source of amusement in the village tea rooms. It's also a very odd feeling to instantly be a part of a small community who become more like family than your actual family are.

          Each time William ventures forth into what counts for civilisation in a village with circa 100 residents, mostly four legged ones, he returns with another addition to the family ranging from blind chickens, geriatric ewes and insane goats to Hamish the hound from hell.

          This story follows in Wills shoes as he attempts to live his first year in the country although things unexpectedly change and his wife Amy is left trying to hold things together as her worst nightmare unfolds before her eyes. She might be living the dream but its not her dream and things go rapidly downhill.

          Its not James Herriot but its not bad either.

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          24.01.2010 02:28
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          A good way to break away from the usual chic lit without leaving your comfort zone.

          After enjoying some of Matthews recent books, I was surprised to see this discounted in Waterstones, and quickly snapped it up.
          This is promoted as being 'different' to Matthews usual books, and to a certain extent, it is. Instead of being being a happy, feel good chic lit type of book, this one dares to elicit feelings of sadness and mixes them with happiness...it's a rollercoaster of emotion!

          Amy and Will both work in television, and have two lovely little children, and a house in the city that they both love. It's Amy's dream come true...until Will has a heart attack, and decides he is quitting work. Amy thinks he'll change his mind, until he shows her his dream property in Yorkshire, with miles of land and surrounded by farms. Amy's a City girl, but gives up her dream life, mainly due to being concerned about Will's health, and they move to the huge house.

          This bit wasn't the most enjoyable, but did serve the important purpose of making you bond with the characters, and I don't believe the book would be as interesting without it. Amy doesn't ever really come to terms with country life, and some of her antics are hysterical...and while the plot twist wasn't exactly unpredictable, it was well written, and you'll find yourself crying and laughing at the same time.

          Matthews does well in writing sadder elements into the story, but making sure that the overall tone is happy, and the book remains enjoyable. It isn't as catchy or readable as some of her others, but it is a good book, and something a bit different.

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          22.11.2009 18:47
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          I quite enjoyed it

          I'd previously read 'The Chocolate Lovers' Diet' by the same author, so I was keen to read this when I spotted it on the shelves of my local library.

          High-flying television producers Amy and Will are forced to reassess their stressful jobs when Will collapses on the commute to work. Freaked out by his brush with death, Will decides to quit his job and relocate the family to the countryside. Amy is horrified, especially when he buys a country house and fills it with farm animals. When a family tragedy strikes, Amy is acutely aware that she's living in one of her nightmares but is she trapped in it?

          The plot does sound basic and as a lot of the above descriptions happens within the first quarter of the book, it did leave me wondering at that point how the rest of the book would be filled as it was quite a long and thick book for a chick lit novel.

          Will seemed a likeable character, but Amy's atttitude annoyed me at times. After Will's collapse, I would have expected her to be more sympathetic to his dream of country living - after all, he did nearly die - but she seems more concerned about having to leave her job behind and living in the middle of nowhere than the fact that it's making him happy. She becomes less self-centred after the tragedy strikes, but still comes across as a bit 'me me me' at times. It's clear that she loves Will but she doesn't seem to particularly consider the fact that the stresses of his job must have played a role in the collapse and that life in the country would go a long way towards eliminating that stress. Just before this, we are introduced to local vet, Guy, who becomes a key part of the story after the tragedy strikes. He is a more likeable character than Amy than me as I liked him from the off and he didn't have to grow on me.

          The book is divided into lots of chapters, but most of these are very short (three or four pages, on average) so they are easily digestable if you're like me and end up dipping in and out of books. The majority of the chapters are written from Amy's viewpoint and in the first person, but there are quite a few from Guy's viewpoint and these are in the third person.

          The book is very well-written at times, with some heart-tugging scenes. Although Amy's character annoyed me no end at the start, I had lots of sympathy for the difficult position that she found herself in. I didn't find myself rushing towards the end to find out how the story ended as I had a sneaking suspicion of how things would unfold, and it is quite predictable despite a few minor twists and turns that seemed to be designed to prolong the drama. All in all, it was a good book at over 400 pages long but a bit too long for me given the quite basic plot.

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            18.11.2009 10:22
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            A lovely read

            William and Amy are happily married, have 2 lovely children and both have great career in the world of television as well. Life is treating them well, but when Will suffers a heart attack on the underground, he makes the momentous decision not to go back to work... ever. Amy can't believe he'll stick to it, and so is horrified when Will decides to buy a delapidated old country house and move the family halfway across England to live there. Amy isn't cut out for farming or the slow pace of country life, but she wants to adapt to make her husband happy. But when tragedy strikes, can Amy hold it altogether for the sake of their 2 young children? Will young vet Guy be able to help Amy not only with her animals but with rebuilding herself too? This is a tale of living the dream... but what happens when it's not your dream but someone elses?

            Even though she has a very large catalogue of books, Carole Matthews' isn't actually a chick lit author I have read all that many books by! My first of her books, It's A Kind of Magic, was good but not really my cup of tea. So when I was sent this by the publishers for review, I hoped it was a little more down to earth as the plot sounded exactly like something I would like to read. Amazingly, this is Carole's 13th novel, and her latest (book 15!) is due out early next year entitled It's Now or Never. The pretty orange cover of this book gives an impression of summer but I actually found it to be a great winter read as there are some touching Christmas scenes in here!

            Our main character is Amy, and she works in the world of television. She's a career woman at heart, leaving her 2 young children at home all day with nanny but happy because family life is what she always wanted. I quite liked Amy from the off, even though I am the complete opposite of her, but you can sense through the early scenes she does yearn to be at home with her children more. She's a very normal character, struggling with the guilt of leaving her children all day but also the guilt of really loving her job. The relationship that is written between her and Will, her husband, is very sweet and Matthews portrays the strong love between the two very quickly and effortlessly.

            I was wondering how long it would take for the "tragedy" to take place, and it's pretty easy to guess what it's going to be. Luckily, it isn't the actual tragedy itself which is the main thread of this story, it's how Amy and her family get over it and start to make a new life for themselves in Yorkshire away from the hustle and bustle of London. Matthews portrays a young woman deep in grief, stuck somewhere she doesn't care to be and out of her depth so well you feel every emotion along with Amy and you can't help but sympathise with her. You can feel her despair, but also her "must soldier on" attitude because of her children.

            One of my favourite characters in the whole book was that of the local vet Guy. He's everything that the hero of a love story should be, and Matthews makes it so that you want it all to work out for Guy in the end! He's got a bit of a tragic story himself, and this makes a nice little side story to Amy's own. I really enjoyed the little detours into the third person narrative following Guy at his veterinary practice, and one scene in particular towards the end at the vets had me in tears, it was so well written and emotional! Hamish the dog provides the comic relief and Matthews almost writes him like a real person, he's so well characterised and makes you laugh despite all the sadness!

            The old house, Helmshill Grange is well written, and I do wonder if Matthews has based the old place on anywhere she has been herself. She writes authoritively on farming and things related to veterinary practices so she must have done her research when writing this book! Everything about this book is charming; the story, the characters, but also the message it sends too. As I mentioned, there is some lovely Christmas scenes in the book that are heart-warming, but also some scenes that will make you sob and others that leave your heart beating... that's what a talented writer Carole Matthews is. My only niggle with this is that there is a whopping 113 chapters, as they're only a few pages long each which did make the book seem to go quicker than I wanted, but it's only a small thing! Highly recommended - a charming, delightful, heart-warming and emotional read to tug at your heartstrings. Delightful.

            Thank you to the publishers Headline Review for sending me a copy to review.

            ISBN: 978-0755345816. Published by Headline Review in September 2009. The paperback has 416 pages and an RRP of £6.99.

            Appears on my blog: http://chicklitreviews.com

            Thank you for reading.

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