Wednesday 18 March 2015

The One Saving Grace by Julie Houston ****

Lowering her voice so that the three police officers couldn’t hear, Grace whispered, ‘Harriet, could you just moan a bit more like that? You know, pretend you’re in labour as opposed to being in lust, otherwise I’m going to end up with a damned great parking fine…’

So begins a year of madness for Harriet as she goes into labour in Harvey Nichols’ men’s knicker department at exactly the same moment she sets eyes on Alex Hamilton.

Grace, giving birth only two months after Harriet, has her own craziness to contend with and, as both women hurtle down totally unexpected and very different paths, they flounder in a maelstrom of passion and confusion, perilously clinging on as the chain of events threatens not only their comfortable, ordinary lives but also their very existence…

The Author 

Julie Houston is Yorkshire born and bred. She lives in Huddersfield where her novels are set and her only claims to fame are that she taught at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old school, her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author Joanne Harris and her friend is about to marry Tracy Emin’s cousin! Oh, and she was rescued by Frank Bough when, many years ago, she was ‘working as a waitress in a cocktail bar’ at the Kensington Hilton in London.

After University, where she studied Education and English

Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country.


She now teaches part time, and still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the last thirteen years, and, when not distracted by ebay, geneology (so time consuming but so interesting - she recently discovered her husband is descended from the poet Shelley and the Duke of Milan!!) and crosswords, she spends much of her time writing.


Review -  **NO SPOILERS**

I was asked a while ago to review this book and am so glad I finally got around to it. Unfortunately I didn’t read her first book Goodness, Grace and Me but wish I had as I would have got to know the characters in this book a bit more first, although I was able to follow who the characters were, it would have been nice to already know who was married to who etc!!

Harriet, who is the main character, is married to Nick and has a best friend called Grace. They have both recently had babies (Harriet having twins) but what I loved about this book is that the author deals with the serious subject of Post Natal Depression in a serious, but also very, very funny way.

There were a few laugh out loud moments in the book and don’t want to give anything away, but when Harriet falls whilst getting out of the bath and injures her nether regions make me actually LOL!! Also naming the “Ducks” was another funny moment!

I really liked the character of Harriet, but can’t help feeling disappointed in her, but I guess that’s the point of a good author is that you can like/dislike a character and they somehow feel real!

I will definitely read more of Julie Houston’s books and will hopefully read her first one (wouldn’t be the first time I have read books in the wrong order!). She is also a lovely person to know on Facebook and Twitter as she always  replies to your tweets etc! And the fact that she mentioned one of my favourite programmes The Peaky Blinders made it even better!!

For me, the only reason why I didn’t give this book 5 stars is because I felt there were a bit too many characters and had to check sometimes who was who, but apart from that a great read and some real laugh out loud moments along with some very serious and, at times, sad moments. Well done Julie2!!



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