Can neighbours become more than good friends…
After her husband left her, Ali and her daughter Grace enjoyed living in what became known as ‘the Single Mums’ Mansion’. However, with her best friends Amanda and Jacqui moving on, it’s time for Ali and Grace to make their own way. Thankfully, a chance conversation leads to them moving into the infamous South London gated community known only as ‘The Mews’.
In ‘The Mews’ everyone lives in each other’s pockets and curtain-twitching is an Olympic sport. The neighbours are an eclectic bunch – from Nick the alleged spy, Carl the gorgeous but clearly troubled Idris Elba lookalike, to Debbie who is about to face the hardest fight of her life, and TV agent Samantha who is not as in control as she likes to pretend.
Each day brings another drama, but along with the tears, real friendships grow. And her neighbours’ problems might unlock the key to something Ali has yearned for all along…
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I enjoyed the first book in the single mums series, but for me, this one is even better. This is Ali’s story, although Amanda and Jacqui are featured. Ali is stumbling out of, yet another terrible relationship, Amanda suggests, there is a pattern to this self-destruction, and maybe she needs to be single for a while, to find out who she is, and what she wants out of life.
When it looks like Ali and Grace may have to take refuge with Amanda, a lifeline from an unexpected source, brings them to ‘The Mews’, an enigmatic gated community in South London. The characters that live there are beautifully flawed and realistic and their lives make Ali realise that she’s not the only one with problems.
The friendships that follow, are full of love, laughter and sadness. Ali finds a way forward and romance in an unexpected place, The story flows well, and the ethos of the community, is addictive, making me read this story in one sitting.
Guest Post – Janet Hoggarth – The Single Mums Move on
The Single Mums Move On is my difficult second album after the popular Single Mums’ Mansion. Because the first book was based on my life, taking the reader on a bumpy ride traversing heartache and divorce through to a satisfyingly redemptive ending, I was nervous about trying to repeat that. Especially when what happened to me afterwards (a genuine happy ever after) wasn’t as page-turning as living in a mommune (sorry husband)! So I decided to write the next branch of the story from Ali’s point of view. It has its roots planted in the truth, but there are a handful of fictional characters with some of the situations sprouting from my imagination.
The book opens a few years after Ali has left the mommune and is in a supposed stable relationship. However, on closer inspection there are so many cracks, it’s a surprise it’s not yet imploded. When the inevitable does happen, Ali finds herself alone again with Grace, her daughter, in her scabby flat with mould on the walls, wishing she was back in the mommune. After a chance encounter with a shaman in the local health food shop, Ali is given the opportunity to move into the notorious south London gated community named the Mews (this is a real place!). Ali decides to finally swear off men, and with the guidance of her mommune pals, Amanda and Jacqui, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery.
Behind the Mews gates, Ali encounters the eclectic bunch of residents who mostly make her feel welcome, but it soon becomes obvious that things aren’t as perfect as they first seem. There’s the photographer with an out of control addiction; the nosy neighbour with a tragic past; the college professor navigating a nasty divorce about to face an even bigger struggle; the mysterious man nick-named the Spy who might be involved in illegal activities; the wise shaman who heals everyone else but can’t heed her own advice; the talent agent who needs a best-selling act to save her from going under; the posh older divorcee who is sick of institutionalised men and desperate for some excitement; and the undisputed boss of the mews who tries to save the world, but continually cocks up her own love life. The Mews is like the Single Mums’ Mansion but with more players and as Ali gets sucked into the tangled lives of everyone there, she realises that other people’s drama could lead her down the path to happiness.
Janet Hoggarth has worked on a chicken farm, as a bookseller, children’s book editor and DJ with her best friend (under the name of Whitney and Britney). She has published several children’s books, the most recent ones written under the pseudonym of Jess Bright. Her first adult novel The Single Mums’ Mansion, a huge bestseller, was based on her experiences of living communally as a single parent.