I am delighted to share my review today for Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor. My huge thanks Heather at Bloodhound Books and Jennie for my copy and also spot on the BLog Tour.
Let’s see what the book is all about…
Neuroscientist Bea Hudson fears she is a bad mother and that her career will be thwarted by family life. When her husband suspects Bea of having an affair with her best friend, a chain of events is triggered, leading to a crisis in Bea’s life.
Bea Hudson, a neuropsychologist living in Godalming, is struggling to cope with the challenging behaviour of her obsessive husband Kurt and their disruptive four-year-old daughter Fran. On top of this, her boss is pressuring her to get results from her research. Bea has her work cut out.
Things come to a head when Kurt goes away on an extended business assignment. While sacking staff and drinking heavily, Kurt’s insecurities run amok and he becomes convinced that Bea’s close friend Madeleine is seducing his wife and unduly influencing his daughter.
Meanwhile, childless artist Madeleine sees her friend torn between the demands of work and offers to help with Fran. But when she reveals a startling desire to her unsympathetic therapist Mr Rowley, he advises her to focus on the attention of Colin, a man she met in a lift.
Can Bea survive the demands of her career and the turmoil in her marriage without having a breakdown? Can Madeleine survive Kurt’s anger and find happiness with Colin? And can love survive marriage, middle-age, alcohol and ambition?
Not Having It All is about a scientist torn between her stalling career and the demands of her family. With themes of trust, deception and obsession, it is a mercilessly playful take on modern friendships, relationships and family life.
How on earth does Bae Hudson juggle being a neuropsychologist on the brink of a breakthrough with being a wife, mum and friend? Well, I soon found that it isn’t easy for her as I read Not Having It All!
Bea is fraught and struggling. A serious career and research means she has to spend time at work to be seen as someone serious about her career. If she reduces her hours she could very easily be side-lined and her funding may disappear. Her husband also has a demanding job, often working away from home for periods. This time he is in Turkey because “he is the best man for the job”. With both of them in full time careers the housekeeping and looking after Fran, their daughter falls to Polish au pair Katie.
Along the way, I also met Madelaine, Colin, Nigel and Allie. They all have roles to play in one form or another. It seems they are also having some sort of crisis in their lives. This is at times a hilarious read as it includes such a cross-section of people. Whether they are having a midlife crisis, feeling guilty about working too much or feeling downright unappreciated, they all seem to be having problems of some sort. Life can be a pain sometimes as pressures easily mount, making mountains out of molehills and often just needed to be looked at from a different perspective or to have recognise the struggles of others. The author has taken everyday worries and wrapped them into a fabulous story that held my attention.
I liked the format or this book as it is told in journal entries, notes or emails from each of the respective characters. It felt that it added to the busy lives of those concerned. Yes, it is unusual but, it worked very well as I got to see different sides to each of the characters. It also meant that the story moved along at a good pace but also that it didn’t feel rushed.
I really enjoyed Not Having It All. I liked how it reflected today’s modern and fast world and also was upbeat and had a good level of humour that kept it from falling into a more serious read. I loved that I actually laughed out loud on several occasions.
Not Having it All is one I would Definitely Recommend.
Jennie Ensor lives in London and has Irish roots. During a long trip overseas she obtained a Masters in Journalism and began her writing career as a journalist, covering topics from forced marriages to accidents in the mining industry. Her debut novel BLIND SIDE was published by Unbound in 2016. In January 2018 her short story ‘The Gift’ was placed in the Top 40 of the Words and Women national prose competition. Her poetry has appeared in many UK and overseas publications, most recently Ink Sweat and Tears. She sings in a chamber choir.
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NOT HAVING IT ALL: a brazen comedy about the perils of midlife to be published 28 May 2019 by Bombshell Books
Paperback launch: Waterstones, London – Crouch End, 7-9pm Tuesday 11 June. Free entry. To reserve seats email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the bookshop on 0203 551 9706
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