The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnson

Thank you to the fabulous Sara-Jade Virtue at Books and the City / Simon and Schuster UK for sending a digital review copy to me of the latest book by one of my favourite authors, Milly Johnson. My last book review for one of her books can be found at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/11/17/i-wish-it-could-be-christmas-every-day-by-milly-johnson/)

Synopsis:

Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation – caring for her parents and her children, supporting her husband Bruce, holding them all together and caring for them as best she can.
 
Then the arrival of a large orange skip on her mother’s estate sets in motion a cataclysmic series of events which leads to the collapse of Shay’s world. She is forced to put herself first for a change.
 
But in order to move forward with her present, Shay needs to make sense of her past. And so she returns to the little village she grew up in, to uncover the truth about what happened to her when she was younger. And in doing so, she discovers that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the only way is up.

My thoughts:

My Kindle and bookshelves are full of Milly’s books, so when this review copy appeared on my NetGalley shelf, I had to postpone my planned next read, pick up my Kindle, ignore my family and head off to Yorkshire virtually to meet Shay.

Shay is the woman in the middle of this story, sandwiched between caring for her ageing parents and her young adult children. At the start of the book we discover just how many plates Shay is juggling, as she looks after her family and job. Both parents have health issues and she recently lost one of her best friends, Tanya. So Shay is looking forward to a romantic weekend away with her husband to celebrate their wedding anniversary and to escape the every day routine. But will the reality meet her expectations?

As the story continues, Shay needs to deal with many issues, some unpleasant people and to make some tough decisions. This is her time to shake off her past, and to make decisions about what she really wants from her life. With help from some unexpected people, it is time for Shay to shine.

Although the book deals with tough issues including grief, guilt, loss, and relationship issues, because the book is written by the amazing Milly Johnson, it is never a depressing book. The story is emotional, but includes humour, love and warmth. Shay became so real, it was as if she were a friend and I was sad to say goodbye when I closed my Kindle at the end of the story.

Thank you to Milly Johnson for another fabulous book full of northern people and phrases. As a mother of two teenagers and a daughter of ageing parents, being the filling in the sandwich is both a privilege and a worry, and Milly has captured those feelings perfectly. This was a five star read for me and I’m happy to recommend it. The book will be published in Hardback and Ebook on 14th October 2021 (and in paperback in 2022).

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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