Review of Woman to Woman, a novel by Cathy Kelly.
I am reviewing the paperback version of this novel, published by Headline (2 April 1998), ISBN 978-0747260523, 480 pages, cover price £7.99. Genre:- Modern Fiction.
Woman to Woman is set in Ireland and is the story of best friends, Aisling Moran and Jo Ryan. The woman have been friends since their teenage college years, they are now in their thirties.
Aisling has been happily married for twelve years to Michael, they have 10 year old twin sons. She is a stay at home Mum who has made a career out of being a wife and mother. Her life revolves around her family and her home.
As far as Aisling is concerned, they are the typical happy family, with a nice home and comfortable lifestyle, the only blot on Aisling's horizon is the fact that she has put on a bit of weight and is having difficulty shifting it.
Jo is a career woman, she is a successful journalist with a glossy woman's magazine and prides herself on her fashion sense and her happy relationship with a professional photographer, Max. Max is a handsome, charismatic man, he is a free spirit which suits the independent Jo down to the ground.
Jo has a busy work life and this also leads to a hectic social life, as the world of journalism is very much geared to social networking. Jo needs to be seen at the right venues, wearing the right clothes, in order to appear the cutting edge, successful journalist.
One Friday morning, life changes for both women. Aisling finds a receipt for luxurious, expensive lingerie in her husband's suit pocket as she readies it for the dry cleaners. Jo finds a blue line on her 'blue for positive' pregnancy testing kit.
By Friday evening, life as they knew it is all but over and the future for the two friends looks decidedly bleak and intimidating.
==~About the Author~==
*Cathy Kelly was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but brought up in Dublin. She started her working life as a journalist for an Irish national newspaper. She worked as both a news and feature reporter, and worked as the paper's film critic for five years, as well as being the agony aunt for seven years.
Her first book, Woman To Woman, was published in 1997 and was an instant best seller, the novel spent eight weeks at number one on the Irish best-seller charts. Her subsequent novels have been number ones all around the world and are published in many different languages. Cathy has a total of 13 novels under her belt.
Cathy lives in Wicklow in Ireland with her partner, John, and their twin sons, Murray and Dylan.
In 2005, she was appointed as a UNICEF Ireland Ambassador. She's since visited Mozambique and Rwanda as part of her work with UNICEF. Global Parenting which involves caring for children orphaned or affected by HIV/AIDS, is the main focus of her work with UNICEF.
*My research source for information about the author was her web site which can be found at:-
==~Availability and Price~==
My copy of Woman to Woman carried the cover price of £7.99, but was actually purchased at a car boot fair for 25p.
The novel can be sourced from various on-line retailers. A quick web search conducted today brought up the following prices and stockists:-
www.amazon.co.uk £6.99 new - from 0.01p used
www.ebay.co.uk from £0.99
www.play.com from £1.91
==~My Thoughts and Conclusion~==
I purchased this novel as I had read a previous Cathy Kelly novel and thoroughly enjoyed it (see my review on this at http://members.dooyoo.co.uk/printed-books/never-too-late-cathy-kelly/1462066/).
Woman to Woman is written in a very warm and flowing fashion. The central characters, whilst very different personalities, are forced to confront similar issues and problems in as much as they both face becoming single parents through the circumstances they find themselves in. The two women's story lines ran concurrently and melded together seamlessly to create an eminently readable novel.
I found this book very hard to put down, and I very quickly became absorbed in the lives of Jo and Aisling. I felt that they were likeable and believable characters, and both the story lines were interesting, if a little predictable in places.
All in all, I consider this novel to be an enjoyable, relaxing read, it is light but not trashy, perfect escapism reading!
I recommend Woman to Woman to others who enjoy a chick-lit type novel with great characterisation.
Thank you for reading
© brittle1906 September 2010.
N.B. My review may be found on other review sites under the same user name.
Having already read one of Cathy Kelly's books previously (She's The One), I was pleased when I came across this in the local library.
Aisling is a contented Irish housewife who loves taking care of her house and family. One day, she finds a receipt for expensive lingerie in her husband's pocket, and her carefully constructed world falls apart. Left to take care of the house and their twin boys, Aisling vows to transform herself into a glamorous career woman. Can the dowdy housewife change her entire life? Jo is a deputy editor at an Irish fashion magazine, and is blissfully happy with her handsome boyfriend Richard. On the same day that her friend Aisling finds the ominous receipt, Jo discovers that she is pregnant. Thrilled at the prospect of having a baby and becoming a family, she is stunned to find that Richard is horrified at the idea of impending fatherhood and takes off. As Jo struggles to juggle her pregnancy and her career - not to mention her confusing feelings for a colleague - how will both of the women cope with her changing lives?
Both Aisling and Jo are likeable characters that immediately gained my sympathy. I felt sorry for the situation that both women find themselves in courtesy of their respective men, and admired the strength that both women draw on as the book progresses. I won't say much more than that as it gives too much away regarding the plot.
Aside from Aisling and Jo, the other prominent characters are their friends. Aisling's best friend, Fiona, is a constant source of encouragement for Aisling and is very enthusiastic about her new life sans her husband. It is she who helps Aisling to embark on her working woman persona. Jo's best friend, Rhona, is equally supportive in a professional capacity as well as a person one (she is the editor to Jo's deputy editor role).
There are some annoying peripheral characters, such as Emma, who works in Jo's office and is a complete spoilt brat who frequently tries to undermine Jo's authority and cause a rift between Jo and her (Emma's) uncle, who is higher up in the magazine. Other irritating characters include the solicitor who Aisling works under to begin with and who makes her life a big misery. To a lesser extent, Michael and Richard - the two causes of Aisling and Jo's situations - are also less than likeable for me.
***The Writing Style***
The book is written in the third person and flicks between Aisling and Jo in terms of perspective and viewpoint. It is informal in tone for the most part, but not as 'chatty' as some chick lit books.