Today I’m in a collaborating with The Reading Ladies blog to help readers find their One Must Read Book of Summer 2022!! Click this link to go to The Reading Ladies blog and see all the great book suggestions!
So much to love–let’s see: In the UK, but not in London; someone who works a normal job and has a normal life but rises to a challenge that helps reach a goal she maybe thought was now unreachable. I’m in! That she isn’t a 20-something, but a 40-something married with two young adult kids is just gravy.
Liv Green married and became a Mom young. She’s taken jobs to make money for her family–not gone after a career and certainly not a career as a writer. A while back Liv wrote to ask for a job with a favorite writer, local celebrity Essie Starling. as a cleaner (not a “maid” as the blurb says! Someone who comes in just to clean is not a “maid”) and was surprised to be hired. As their relationship, never a “friendship,” just a working relationship grows, Essie discovers that Liv knows her Georgia Rory books well–has the details down cold, details that the author herself sometimes has to stop and think about. When the author dies her last wishes insist that Liv finish her work in progress. A handsome, but somewhat stuffy, attorney shares the news with her–news that could change her life in more ways than one. But is the attorney hiding something?
Meanwhile, Liv’s husband, Jake, and young adult sons Mack and Johnny, are at home wondering what’s up with Mum. Jake’s business is struggling and he is being evasive about it–often taking calls from his sister about the family firm while hidden away in the coat cupboard. Understandably, their marriage now is not all that it could, or should be, due to the secrets being kept.
As Liv works to finish the book she gets to know folks who knew Essie. She also learns about writing and about herself. As she “gets into character” to write more of Georgia Rory’s adventure, she experiences new adventures that were denied her as young mother on a tight budget. She grows and changes in ways she never expected.
Like in all such books you must accept a few amazing coincidences, but that’s part of the fun. Yes, I figured out the big secret, but like the coincidences, that’s just how such books work. None of it detracts from a good story.
I loved Liv, Essie, Jake, and Anthony–they were so real and believable. Liv and Jake truly cared for each other and for their boys. Anthony’s emotion was real and raw. Liv was sincere and hardworking and for once that was handsomely rewarded. While she was only around 40 or 42, (says I from the lofty perch of “only” 60) I loved that an “older” writer got a break in a story–that was so encouraging to me even if she is fictional.
I loved the image the author painted describing tears as having “waterfalled down her face.” (On the flip side of creativity, if she’d written “socked foot“–as in sock-clad foot, one more time I’d have screamed. Someone should have caught the repetitive use of that phrase. Picky, picky, picky me!). Hank’s bar theme was perfect for a crime writer–very creative idea to toss in there. He was perfectly dressed in his jean jacket and t-shirt. Finally, I liked that the story mentions Liv listening to Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and a few other books that I’ve liked (sorry–I lost my note with the titles). Those were fun additions to the story and made me relate even more to Liv.
I’ve enjoyed each book by this author that I’ve read so far–so much so that she has become a “must-read” author for me. I don’t understand though, why her publishers seem to think the UK and US markets need such different titles and covers for her books. Either title, either cover, this is a wonderful story.
I listened to the audio version.
4 Big Stars
(If you are new here, I have rarely given a 5 star rating. This is a great rating for me).
The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick
aka The Book Share (A play on the best selling book The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary, eh Marketing Department?) in UK is currently on sale for £1.99.
My Reviews of Other Books by Phaedra Patrick
Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
The Library of Lost and Found: A Novel by Phaedra Patrick