* Prices may differ from that shown
I bought Time for a Change from a charity shop when I was looking for new books. I'd never read anything by Erica James before but I'd heard the name and thought this sounded alright from the blurb on the back, so decided to give it a go.
Hilary Parker lives in the small village of Hulme Welford with her husband David, and two children, Philip, and Becky, a boisterous young girl. She has a busy life, being a member of the PTA and taking French lessons in the evening, but she is happy with her life.
Everything changes for Hilary when one morning she finds a receipt for dinner for two in her husbands pocket. Not only that, but he has been muttering another woman's name in his sleep.
Realising he is having an affair, Hilary turns to neighbour Cindy, who's husband has cheated on her many times. Cindy advises Hilary to ignore it and carry on as normal, which is what she does.
Elsewhere, Hilary's friend Georgina and local battleaxe Iris are waging a war on a local newsagent who is selling saucy underwear and Hilary's sister is getting married. Will any of them get their happy ending?
~What I thought~
The book opens with Hilary discovering her husbands infidelity, and confiding in neighbour Cindy. I didn't think that Cindy's advice to ignore the problem and hope it would go away was necessarily the right way to go about things, and I was surprised that Hilary, an ex schoolteacher and obviously intelligent woman, would go along with this. If it was me, personally, I would have confronted David straight away, and the fact that Hilary didn't say anything to him, whilst obviously being torn up inside, made me frustrated with the character right from the beginning.
Although Hilary's distress at finding out her husband is having an affair is conveyed well, on the whole I did not really like the character. Again, it just seemed incredible to me, that she would be so distraught, but not confront her husband - yet whine to several friends, and her sister about her marital problems.
I found this book incredibly difficult to read. It took me a couple of weeks to get through it, because although I would pick it up several times a day (in a bid to get it over and done with more than anything else), I found I could only read a few pages at a time before becoming bored.
The more I read the more silly and unbelievable this story got. The sub-plot with Georgina and Iris waging war against the local news agent was especially stupid. I think it was supposed to be an attempt at humour, but I actually found myself cringing when reading it, as it was so pathetically childish, I felt almost embarrassed for the author!
The ending, without giving it away, was also very predictable, and I pretty much got the general gist of what was going on from the start.
Needless to say, I would not recommend this book. The story was flat and boring, the characters were not particularly interesting and I struggled to get through it.
If you find proof of your husbands infidelity, what would you do?
Thats the question that Hilary is faced with when she finds a restaurant receipt in her husband Davids pocket for an evening he was supposed to be at the Rotary Club. And he'd been talking in his sleep.
The story takes us on the journey as she comes to terms with the fact that her life isn't the perfect happy ones she thought it was, and comes to a decision about her marriage.
With well meaning friends, Cindy and Georgia, and her sister Charlotte giving her advice and tissues, it takes a newcomer to the village, Nick, to point out that it's her life and her decision. But then he's a gorgeous counsellor.
There are a few laugh-out-loud moments in the book, and a couple of twists you didn't see coming.
The writing is fluid, and smoothly moves you from one page to the next. The characters are fully matured, so you do connect with them easily.
I enjoyed this book. I'm not sure I'd have bought it (a friend lent it to me) as the main character is that bit older than the stories I normally opt for, but it has broadened my horizons. I will definitely look twice at stories like this in future, and this author of course
Review of Time For A Change, a novel by Erica James.
I am reviewing the paperback version of the book.
Genre:- Modern Fiction - ISBN: 752843400, 333 pages, jacket price £6.99.
First Published by Orion in 1997, reissued in 1998.
The story is set in an English village, in the late 1990's. The novel is written in a very fast moving style, the characters are well drawn and believable and the plot has several twists and turns to keep you turning the pages!
Hilary Parker lives in a small village with her husband David and her children, Phillip and Becky. Hilary is a happy, organised lady, her husband is kind, caring and works very hard as an estate agent. They have a lovely home and their son is a pleasant bright boy who has just started secondary school, their daughter is a handful, a mischievous, willful child.
Hilary has immersed herself in village and family life, her mother and father live nearby and they run an antique shop. Her sister Charlotte runs the village florist and Hilary has many friends and acquaintances in the village of Hulme Welford, her home since childhood. An active member of the PTA of the village school that Becky attends, Hilary has her finger on the pulse of everything going on in Hulme Welford.
One fateful Monday morning, Hilary's comfortable world is faced with disaster when she discovers that all is not well in her marriage. She hears David muttering in his sleep. He says "Catherine, Hilary must never find out!". Hilary realises that her husband is having an affair with a woman called Catherine. Hilary is aware that her husband's secretary is called Catherine. Hilary then finds a restaurant receipt for a meal for two people, the receipt is dated for the previous evening. David had claimed to be attending a Rotary club dinner, this seems to be completely damning evidence of David's infidelity.
Hilary confides in a few friends and receives conflicting advice, one friend, an ardent feminist called Georgia advocates kicking David out, whilst her neighbour, Cindy, advises Hilary to do nothing and wait and see. Hilary is torn between wanting to scream and shout and needing to retain her composure.
Amid all the drama and crisis going on around her, Hilary continues to carry on her normal day to day life, attends her French language evening classes, PTA meetings, Church functions and other village commitments. She decided that she will confront David after Christmas.
Whilst Hilary is in turmoil, other events are building up, a war against pornography in the village newsagents, Charlotte's Christmas Eve wedding to Alex, an exploding boiler in the church during the wedding ceremony and a very traumatic Christmas visit from David's parents are all added to the mix of humour, village life and daily routines.
I won't reveal anymore of the plot here for fear of spoiling the novel for other readers.
~~The Author and Publisher~~
Erica James has penned several bestselling novels. She was born in 1960 and grew up in Hampshire, England. Erica James now lives in Cheshire with her two sons. For her latest novel Gardens of Delight she won from the Romantic Novelists Association the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2006.
More information and a bibliography can be found on Erica James' website, the source of my research about the author.
Published by Orion Books Ltd
5 Upper Saint Martin's Lane
~~Availability and Price~~
I purchased my copy for the knock down bargain price of £1 in Asda. They were having a stock clearance of novels and this one caught my eye. The jacket price is £6.99 and the book can be ordered used or new from www.amazon.co.uk A used copy starts at 0.01p.
~~My Thoughts and Conclusion~~
I have to be honest here and say that I have read other novels by this author that I wasn't too impressed with, but this one is a winner. A good plot with a strong storyline, enhanced by an eclectic range of characters, melded together with a very readable writing style have produced a modern novel which packs a light hearted, yet gutsy punch.
I enjoyed this novel and whilst it is definitely female fiction, would recommend to others wanting an absorbing yet 'easy reading' novel. .
Thank you for reading.
Also posted on ciao.co.uk
**** Time for a change by Erica James ****
** About the author **
She has written several other books including Paradise house,a breath of fresh air and a sense of belonging. Her short stories have won prizes in different competitions and she has been short listed for the parker romantic novel of the year award three times.
Hilary Parker.At the start of the book she is really happy with the way her life is until she discovers her husband is cheating on her.(i wont say how she finds out,read the book!)
This leaves her with a dilemma ,what should she do next? What ever she decides her life is never going to be the same again that's for sure.Can things go back to the way they were before?
Hilary Parkers husband David. Well i think that it is kind of obvious what i am going to say about him , what a d**k,He has a perfect life and he jepordises it for what?
Cindy-i think she is a bit of a pushover i mean her husband has cheated on her and she ignores it.i would want to chop his bits off.
To be honest i wasn't sure what expect when i got this book as my gran picked it up for me and her usual books are mills and boon, not something i particularly like.With this novel i was pleasantly surprised. Very funny in places this book draws you into the lives of the characters.