The Only Way Is Up by Carole Matthews

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The Only Way Is Up by Carole Matthews

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A heart-warming tale about horrendous debts which force a family to face up to what is important in their lives. A good holiday read.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Headline Review
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0755373789

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Lily and Laurence Lamont-Jones were on holiday in Tuscany with their friends. Lily had enjoyed it but she had a nagging suspicion that Laurence's mind was elsewhere. Quite how bad his worries were didn't become apparent until they flew home to find that their house and car had been repossessed along with all their worldly goods. They were left with the contents of their suitcases, the clothes they stood up in and a mountain of debts. After a night in the cheapest motel they can find the family of four is moved into the only available accommodation – a very scruffy council house on a sink estate.

OK – so you have to suspend disbelieve about how Lily could not have realised that the family was in such dreadful financial difficulties and how Laurence could have thought that he could carry off not telling her anything about losing his job. You're going to have to accept that most of the neighbours on this run-down estate are wonderful, generous people who think nothing of giving a fair share of their worldly good to people they've never met before. And you've still got to nod when Lily and Laurence come to realise that this is where they want to be when there's a chance that they could get at least some way back to their old lifestyle. Because if you do there's a really good story in here.

OK – it does all work out a little too neatly and life isn't usually like that, but there is at least a germ of truth in the fact that if people have only been friends with you because you had money then the chances are that they'll disappear very quickly along with the cash. It's also true that a job which doesn't pay very much can be a lot more rewarding than one that pays a more but means that you're hardly ever at home. Kids too will quickly adapt to new circumstances and you might be quite surprised about what they didn't like about the old life.

It's a heart-warming story, well told and with some characters which you'll warm to. There's a message in there about debt which isn't delivered too preachily and I found that I really wanted to know how things turned out for the family. Particularly towards the end the pages started turning themselves and if you're looking for a good holiday read then this could be just the book for you.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista by Amy Silver.

Buy The Only Way Is Up by Carole Matthews at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Only Way Is Up by Carole Matthews at

Buy The Only Way Is Up by Carole Matthews at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Only Way Is Up by Carole Matthews at


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