By Milly Johnson
Then, just as she was about to cross the road, she saw the front door of Doreen’s house open – and what she witnessed was to jerk the course of her slow life off its track in favour of a far more perilous and unpredictable one…Olive was in a terrible state. One second she looked as if she was going to burst into tears, then her mood suddenly segued into homicidal mania.
I struggled between giving 4 or 5 stars on this one. Although on the whole, it is up to Milly Johnson’s high bar as far as humor, romance, and character development, I had a few minor problems with it. In order for the reader to have the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing her heroines escape from misery, have an emotional journey, and ultimately triumph, Milly goes a little over the top with two of her characters, Olive and Roz.
Poor Olive is living such a horrific life at the beginning that I did turn against her for a while for putting up with the abuse. She is basically working as worse than a slave to her evil and disgusting husband and Mother-in-Law and will not leave them. She would have a better life out on the street than the one she is living, but stubbornly resists all of her friends’ advice to escape. I don’t care how her needy parents molded her attitudes, there is just no justification for her being such a weakling. However, the scene where Olive finally sees the light and escapes is a gem. I loved it.
As for Roz, she is so unlikeable and such a bitch to her wonderful guy that you almost hate him for putting up with her. When Roz is finally told off by Olive of all people and she has her epiphany (another stand up and cheer moment) the arc of her story flags a bit. This is before the half-way point. That she never calls Manus, her ever-patient and loving boyfriend to make amends is ridiculous. Milly tends to sort out at least one of her heroines out pretty quickly in her books, to focus concentration of the remaining members of the group. This is actually one of the things I like about her plots.
I loved how we got peeks back into how Olive’s and Roz’s family and boyfriend were faring without them. However, the fate of Olive’s family and the changes for the better that they go through were not credible at all. Total personality transplant as far as the Mother-in-Law is concerned. **4 out of 5 stars**
August 27, 2019