Be Careful Who You Marry by Lizzy Mumfrey

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Be Careful Who You Marry by Lizzy Mumfrey

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Another page-turner from the talented Lizzy Mumfrey. Great characters and some neat plot twists. Be prepared to finish the book in one sitting.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 327 Date: July 2019
Publisher: IAS Publishing
ISBN: 978-1913036904

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It was coming up to Halloween in 1987 and a group of sixth-form schoolgirls wondered what they would be doing when they were fifty. When you're only seventeen that seems positively ancient, but Liz was convinced that your entire life depends on who you marry. The only eligible boys were the Young Farmers and the idea of living in a farmhouse and having a couple of children called Will and Olly appealed to Charlotte, or perhaps William and Oliver if you were Elizabeth who was determined to marry the rather superior Patrick Shepley-Botham. The place to start their search was obviously the Young Farmers' Halloween disco that weekend. There was just one problem - there were too many Elizabeths in the class.

The first of them, better known as Lilli (as in short for Lillibet) had spent part of disco wrapped around James Arbuthnott and the fruits of that union were divulged to Lilli's mother when she announced her pregnancy. Lilli's mother preferred the termination option and when this was turned down Lilli was unceremoniously turfed out of the household. Living with - and then marriage to - James followed in short order. So, how did that one work out?

And then there was Mouse. She was pregnant too, but she abided by her mother's decision about a termination. It made her very wary of men and she concentrated all her efforts firstly on her school work and then on getting her degree. It was a long time before she could trust any man but someone did come along and Mouse felt that she had to be honest about what had happened when she was a teenager. Was it a wise move?

Finally, we have Lizzy - she who was determined that she was going to marry Patrick Shepley-Botham. She was prepared to reinvent herself so that she appealed to him, but she should have thought of the old saying about being careful about what you wish for.

Bookbag first met Lizzy Mumfrey when we were sent her first book to review. It was a cracker and two years on it would have been difficult to resist Be Careful Who You Marry. Mumfrey has the ability to tell a tale which grips you on the first page and doesn't let go until you get to the end of the book. There were too many Elizabeths in the book and it would have been difficult to follow in the hands of a lesser writer. I liked that we followed the story of each girl in turn, but the stories all knitted together in the most surprising of ways, with a couple of twists which took me completely by surprise. I turned the final page with a very satisfied sigh.

This was helped, of course, by the fact that the characters are well-drawn, initially as teenagers and then as the women they become, tested and shaped by what happens to them. The questions of alcoholism, domestic abuse and mental problems are dealt with sensitively, but you're left in no doubt about how they affect people. I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag. And does your life depend on who you marry? Well, I'll leave you to decide that one!

If this book appeals then you'll probably also enjoy Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks. You might also enjoy You're the One that I Want by Giovanna Fletcher and Why DO We Have to Live with Men? by Bernadette Strachan.

You can read more about Lizzy Mumfrey here.

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Buy Be Careful Who You Marry by Lizzy Mumfrey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Be Careful Who You Marry by Lizzy Mumfrey at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Be Careful Who You Marry by Lizzy Mumfrey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Be Careful Who You Marry by Lizzy Mumfrey at


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