Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for the opportunity to read a digital review copy of the debut fiction novel by Sara Cox. I’m sharing a mini review today.
Becky: a single mum who prides herself on her independence. She knows from painful experience that men are trouble.
Louise: a loving husband, gorgeous kids. She ought to feel more grateful.
Jameela: all she’s ever done is work hard, and try her best. Why won’t life give her the one thing she really wants?
Sheila: the nest is empty, she dreams of escaping to the sun, but her husband seems so distracted.
The inhabitants of the Inventor’s Housing Estate keep themselves to themselves. There are the friendly ‘Hellos’ when commutes coincide and the odd cheeky eye roll when the wine bottles clank in number 7’s wheelie bin, but it’s not exactly Ramsay Street.
The dilapidated community centre is no longer the beating heart of the estate that Becky remembers from her childhood. So the new pottery class she’s helped set up feels like a fresh start. And not just for her.
The assorted neighbours come together to try out a new skill, under the watchful eye of their charismatic teacher, Sasha. And as the soft unremarkable lumps of clay are hesitantly, lovingly moulded into delicate vases and majestic pots, so too are the lives of four women. Concealed passions and heartaches are uncovered, relationships shattered and formed, and the possibility for transformation is revealed.
As a northern girl, I enjoy listening to Sara’s voice on the TV or radio, and I must admit I found myself imaging the book being read to me by Sara a few times – especially when there were phrases including ‘telly’ or talking about ‘The Littlest Hobo’.
This was a book, for me, about the importance of community. Early on we discover that the local community centre is tatty and in need of some TLC. Some of the local community also need some TLC and joining the new pottery class helps them make new friends and enjoy new hobbies.
Although some difficult topics are covered, such as domestic violence and grief, this is ultimately an uplifting read that I’m happy to recommend.