Keeping Mum by Kate Lawson
|Keeping Mum by Kate Lawson|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: A funny, fleeting tale of the many relationships in our lives and the habit many have of becoming a wee bit messy if you're not careful.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: March 2009|
Could you handle it if your loveable but overbearing mother (and her lover!) moved into your house with you? How about if your somewhat bad-news friend was also back in town, and trying to drag you into her relationship drama? Or if your latest blind date wouldn't take 'no' for an answer? Welcome to Cass's life.
Cass is a widowed mother of two who owns an antiques shop, sings in a choir, and knows people with dubious names like Welsh Alf and Allan and Mrs Allan. That's not your typical profile for the lead in a flitty, flirty chick-lit tome, but Cass is the woman who puts the (sort of) cool in choral singing, and has a warm personality that wins you over immediately however similar or dissimilar your life is to hers.
The book focuses a lot of different relationships; mother-daughter, partners, friends, even pets. Cass and Fee fall into the broad category of grown-ups older than me but below retirement age. Though we know Cass has two 20-something children (who we never see), and we do find out the women's ages at one point, it's not something you tend to remember as you read, though they are clearly both at a stage where they think Archers is a drink and not a radio soap. Similarly, Cass's mother must be old-ish, but isn't the frail, decrepit kind of grandmother (nor the typical Edwina-from-AbFab-type character you might be expecting from the blurb on the back). Depending on your age, I suppose you could see either Cass or her mother as you yourself, your own mother, or even your grandmother.
Then there's the choir's week abroad about half way through. With delicious descriptions of the Mediterranean jaunt to rival those in your typical Kate Cann novel this is a wonderful book to lose yourself in, and whatever the weather outside, you'll feel like you're there in the sizzling Cyprus heat enjoying the soap opera storyline lives of Cass and the gang. And what a gang it is – the book has a surprisingly large cast of supporting characters, from hotel managers to choir members to long lost daughters, but they're all sufficiently developed, and you can easily keep track of who's who.
For the most part, the book is good. It's funny most of the time, slipping to mildly amusing or reaching downright hilarious in parts. It's realistic without being mundane, exciting without being far-fetched. Something you can relate to, but not predict. In fact, this is one of the least predictable books I've read recently, with some brilliant twists to make you gasp and/or giggle. The author's continued obsession with who pays for what leaves a little to be desired, but otherwise it's a winner. It's one you'll whizz through, but that's hardly a bad thing.
Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.
If you like a nice bit of Mediterranean fiction with a slightly younger heroine, why not also consider Hippy Chick or you could satisfy your cravings for friendship tales with Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber.
You can read more book reviews or buy Keeping Mum by Kate Lawson at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Keeping Mum by Kate Lawson at Amazon.com.
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