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17 June 2013

Review: 'The Desperate Wife's Survival Plan' by Alison Sherlock (2013)

From riches to rags...

Charley Summers doesn't have a care in the world. She lives in the lap of luxury, supported by her rich husband and surrounded by a loyal group of friends.

Until the business goes bust and her world collapses. Before long the bailiffs have taken everything, and as if things weren't bad enough, she catches her husband with another woman. Suddenly, Charley needs a job, any job, so she can start repaying some of the money her husband squandered.

But with nowhere to live and no recognisable skills, how on earth is she to do that?

Charley needs a survival plan fast!

I had already heard many lovely things about Alison Sherlock's latest release, 'The Desperate Wife's Survival Plan', when I was contacted about a review copy (thanks so much, Philippa!). I haven't read Alison Sherlock's first novel, 'The Desperate Bride's Diet Club', so I was excited about finding out what her writing would be like. I had already fallen in love with the cover of the novel (just look at all the yummy ice cream and cakes), so I had my fingers crossed the story would match it!

Charley Summers is living the dream: her own beautiful mansion with expensive furniture and a closet any girl would kill for, a wealthy husband who loves her, and all the free time she could possibly want to spend at the spa or organising dinner parties. It's no wonder Charley's world is completely turned upside down in all possible ways when she and her husband are declared bankrupt, she has to give up her beloved home, and to finish it off, she finds her husband in bed with another woman. Charley is forced to start again from scratch and it quickly becomes clear that won’t be easy. Yet, after finding a job as a cleaning lady, Charley realises she can’t continue to live in the past and feel sorry for herself. She needs to face reality, and everything and everyone that comes with it...

I really liked the heroine of this novel, Charley. At the start I was a bit worried, because she reminded me of a rich, spoiled housewife who doesn’t know the definition of the word ‘work’, but after a few pages this image was thrown out of the window, and the reader is introduced to the real Charley: a true fighter who does not give up on her dreams and who cares a lot about the people around her. Friendship and family play a central role in the book; I especially liked the friendship between Caroline, Julie, and Charley; such a lovely threesome who support each other through thick and thin. I liked it that there were also separate storylines for Caroline and Julie, so that the novel included more than just Charley’s own tale. While I’m talking about the characters, there is also one I can’t possibly not mention: Boris! He’s such a cute dog and I felt myself wanting to jump into the novel and cuddle him to pieces.

I loved the optimistic feel of this novel; the idea that even when it feels that you have hit rock bottom, you simply have to dust yourself off and give it another shot. What other way are you going to get closer to your dreams? One thing that also got me excited was Charley’s passion for making ice cream. The way Alison Sherlock described it all made me crave all the delicious flavours Charley came up with. ‘The Desperate Wife’s Survival Plan’ is a well-written, enjoyable story about friendship, following your dreams and being able to stand upon your own two feet. I definitely recommend this to all chick lit lovers out there, and I personally can’t wait to pick up a copy of Alison Sherlock’s other novel, ‘The Desperate Bride’s Diet Club’! 

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