Fran lives in North Wales, ‘the most beautiful place in the world’, is married and has a teenage daughter, Rosie, at university. But her marriage is not going well, she has nothing in common with her husband, Mal, and he doesn’t want to spend any time with her. She wants to potter around in her garden growing roses and drawing cartoons in her studio at the bottom of the garden. He works with computers and is often away for long periods. Rosie wants to finally know exactly who her father is, but Fran doesn’t want to say; or maybe her silence is because she isn’t exactly sure. This book takes you through a few months in Fran’s life when her world is turned upside down by the men in her life, both past and present – her first serious boyfriend, her rebound one night stand, and her husband.
The book is centred on Fran’s love of roses and gardening, and with ‘the one night stand’ being a gardener, there are lots of references to all things horticultural which I enjoyed immensely, given my own love of gardening. What’s I liked most about this book, though, is its readability. It is like a chat with a friend over a cup of tea. The author’s uncomplicated way of writing draws you in – comforting and humorous, often making you smile:
‘Cleaning’s rightful place is as a displacement activity while you are psyching yourself up for something more interesting.’
‘One good shove and all my troubles would have been over. The thought might have shown on my face, because he stopped smiling and carried on down the stairs.’
Unusual for this chicklit genre, Fran is approaching middle-age, is already married, has a grown-up daughter from outside of the marriage and is a technophobe. But she is warm and funny, and endearingly likeable, if not a little potty at times – she often unconsciously sings or hums inappropriately timed songs. She has some charmingly funny moments, as well as some cringeworthy ‘can’t believe she said/did that’ ones. She is desperately trying to save her failing marriage, and it seems to be an impossible task. But there is a happy ending for Fran and some unexpected elements that leave a nice warm feeling when you close the book.
A warm, funny, romantic and uncomplicated read; perfect to take to the beach or get lost in on a park bench on a summer’s afternoon.
Sowing Secrets is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.