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Happy Families [Paperback]

Janey Fraser
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 5.24 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Paperback 5.24  

Book Description

28 Mar 2013

Bobbie's children never listen to a word she says. Even worse, her mother has a new boyfriend: the notorious child expert Dr Know, who dishes out hard-line advice to the nation. Could parenting classes control her kids - and save her marriage?

Andy's wife is due to run a Perfect Parents course at the local school. But when she scarpers, he's left to look after their two teenage daughters - and face his own childhood demons.

Vanessa has found love, second-time round. But one night, six-year-old Sunshine is deposited on her doorstep with a message from Vanessa's estranged daughter, 'Please look after her'. This time she's determined to get it right.

Can Bobbie, Andy and Vanessa really learn the secret of raising a happy family?

Frequently Bought Together

Happy Families + The Playgroup + The Au Pair
Price For All Three: 16.47

Buy the selected items together
  • The Playgroup 5.99
  • The Au Pair 5.24

Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (28 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099580853
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099580850
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,545 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Janey Fraser always dreamed of writing novels in a country cottage with lots of children, a dog and a pony. Unbelievably, most of her dreams were answered although not without some rather large hiccups along the way!

After a career in women's magazines interviewing celebrities like Julie Walters and Nigel Havers, Janey wrote several non-fiction books about childcare including 'Tidy Your Room; How to get kids to do what you want'. Unfortunately, she has never quite succeeded in doing that with her own three. She has also written a series of children's books, including 'When Mum Was Little' and 'When Gran Was Little'.

Janey has appeared live on breakfast television, talking about her books, and has also been on numerous radio programmes including Woman's Hour and The Learning Curve. She also writes short stories for magazines; runs writing courses; is a regular speaker at literary festivals including Winchester and Guildford.

Her recent hobby is belly dancing, much to the horror of her children. However, Janey firmly believes that embarrassing one's offspring is a perk of the job.

Find out more at www.janeyfraser.co.uk


Take three adults and mix them with a group of under-fives at Puddleducks Playgroup. What do you get? A steaming story about love, envy, laughter and tears. Gemma, the young acting playgroup leader has a secret which could wreck someone else's life. Nancy, a panicky first-time mum needs to save her child - and her marriage. Joe, the handsome, moody new head of Reception has to learn some lessons himself before he can pass them onto his class. But then little Lily, the daughter of a celebrity singer, goes missing and Danny, her small friend is diagnosed with the kind of illness that every parent dreads. Will they all pull through? All is revealed when Puddleducks Playgroup puts on its annual nativity Christmas play - with an unexpected ending.

'A must-read for anyone who has small children or knows them. Hugely enjoyable' Katie Fforde

'This has a sparkle, a lightness of touch and a deep, true charm. It is written from the heart' Elizabeth Buchan

'I read without stopping' Fay Weldon

'I loved it. A terrific story and enormous fun' Judy Astley

'Warmly and engagingly written and with an engaging cast of characters. The Playgroup captivated me from the very first page' Trisha Ashley

Apparently anyone can set up an au pair agency around their kitchen table. So when money gets tight, Jilly does exactly that. But she hadn't reckoned on Marie-France, a sparky French girl, signing up in the hope of finding her father, twenty years after her own mother had been an au pair in the same town.
Then there's Matthew, a confused widower whose daughter has driven away a string of au pairs. Can Jilly ever find him the perfect match?
And let's not forget the rest of the au pair mafia, including Heidi, Fatima and Antoinette who 'likes children but not very much'.
The Au Pair is an hilarious but truthful romp through the world of au pairs and their unsuspecting families.


'Sheer delight - but don't let your au pair read it!' Fay Weldon

'AA hilarious romp about the perils of inviting mother's little helpers into the chaos of domestic life.' DAILY EXPRESS (four stars)

'Lots of fun and wonderfully entertaining.' Kim the Bookworm

Product Description


"A sweetly humorous book, it will have you giggling one moment and near to tears the next. Perfect with a glass of wine when the sprogs are in bed!" (Closer)

"I couldn't put the book down" (No. 1 Book group)

Book Description

If it's not one thing it's another... Is there such a thing as a perfect family?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Lally
Goodness, this novel took me back! It's a long time since I was the mother of children living at home, but all (or at least many of) the situations in this story were very familiar, and I found I could identify with all the parents as they tried to make sense of family life.

The two previous five star reviews have said everything I would have said myself, had I been quicker off the mark to post a review, so I won't repeat what these reviewers have said. I just want to add - if you love wise, witty contemporary novels which are about people who could walk into our real lives at any time, do read this one. You won't regret it.

I love the cover, by the way. Look at all the little vignettes of family life - absolutely great. I was once that mother in the upstairs window!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 10 May 2013
By Agi
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Let me tell you, for me it is 10 out of 5 stars. I LOVED it.
First of all, the characters. They are very believable, they are real people, they are brilliantly written. They could walk into our lives at any moment or we could just swap our lives with them. There are three main heroes with their families, their paths cross. They have lots in common and the most important is: they all want to have perfect families. But can one have a perfect family? And what is a perfect family? All of the three families are very different, all of them have problems and they are trying to cope with them as best as they can, although sometimes the ways that they choose are not the best ones. It must be also said that the children are wonderfully written here, they're perfectly described and I am already scared to think what is going to come out of my Sophie when she's older. Oh my. I have learnt for sure that I must be very careful what I am talking about when she's be older and she understands more (I must think here when I was a child, my mum said to no-one in particular that our neighbour looks like an idiot in his new hat, I have told him: hey, my mum said you look like an idiot in this new hat, and who must have apologise later? Me, of course, although I have just said what my mum had said. The point is: be careful what you say.)
There are so many plots and events in this book but it isn't confusing in any way. One just want to keep reading, especially as every chapter ends with a kick and the next is carrying with other character and his/her story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family life 9 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have already reviewed this product and thought it was great. Nice characters and nice situations. You could feel part of this family and have some people like it already in most families. A good story which was easy to read and loved..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read 24 April 2013
By Sharon TOP 1000 REVIEWER
At first glance the title of the book seems to be a bit misplaced as the three main families featured are anything but, they're completely disfunctional!

Bobbie may as well be a single parent from the amount of support she gets from her husband who's never at home leaving her with two very energetic and unruly children, Daisy and Jack, who are completely out of control. To make matters worse for Bobbie, her mother is embarrassed about her grandchildren's behaviour especially since she started dating child expert, Dr Know. Will Bobbie be able to get her children under control before the family dinner when she meets her mother's new boyfriend?

Her sister-in-law Pamela by comparison is the perfect mother, or so it would seem but as husband Andy soon finds out when Pamela goes away to look after her mother, appearances can be very deceptive. He's also shocked when he discovers that he'll need to step into her shoes and teach the perfect parent classes that she was due to run at the local school. After all with his own childhood history, what does Andy know about the perfect parent looks like?

Fifty-something Vanessa is finally starting to live her own life again, she runs a local second hand designer clothes shop and has recently started dating a nice guy Brian, so it comes as a total shock to her when a stranger turns up on her doorstep carrying her six-year-old granddaughter Sunshine. Will she be able to do a better job raising Sunshine than she did with her own daughter?

Although I'm not a parent myself I've been around many of my friends and their families over the years to realise that there is really no such thing as the perfect family, the world would be a boring place if that was the case.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and wise 24 April 2013
By Jan
I like books written from different voices as it lets the reader see more points of view, and this novel did not disappoint. It is, quite simply, great fun. The author writes with technical skill and great fluency - her dialogue and use of internal voice are excellent. This means that you can really get inside the heads of the characters and feel what they feel. The story romps along with vivacity and I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. Highly recommended - whether you have children or not!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Brilliant as usual.
Published 4 days ago by Val Newby
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
i love the way she writes about different characters and then they all connect at the end.
Published 21 days ago by anne morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Excellent book. Really enjoyed it as do all of Janey Fraser`s books. Would recommend this book to my friends. Read more
Published 1 month ago by C. Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Positive praise!'
Happy Families features three main characters – Bobbie, Andy and Vanessa – all very different, all with varying domestic challenges, but united in their desire for that elusive,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mrs A Darby
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and heartbreaking ...
A funny book with some great one liners on the intricacies of family life. Although it is mainly a funny story there were some serious issues but these were dealt with sensitively.
Published 5 months ago by Crafty Cat
4.0 out of 5 stars families
Very funny and despite not having a family I can imagine from what I know from friends very lifelike!!worth a read
Published 7 months ago by Sheena dogmad
5.0 out of 5 stars Super book
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There is a clever link of the 3 characters in the story. It is very realistic.
Published 8 months ago by bomber13
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read.
I was fortunate to receive an e copy for an honest review and I'm happy to report I loved it. Although I no longer have the daily struggle of balancing the needs of young children... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jean Fullerton
3.0 out of 5 stars Chaotic Parenting
This rather chunky novel features three families who are all interconnected and all have stories to tell both individually and together. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jo D'Arcy
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Families
I love Jane's books, they are well written and unputdownable. Happy Families is an amusing, yet insightful take on family life. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Linda F
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