I felt quiet emotional after finishing this book. It doesn't render the reader into a weeping state of melancholy but provides a positive "aaawww" vibe. Its escapism at its best. Not a silly, fluffy read, but not hardcore controversy and emotional strife.
Its not the most well written chick-lit I've ever read, but it was funny, charming, sweet with depth.
Most of the characters were an absolute joy to read about. Occasionally, Annie was irritating but eventually her character is incredibly endearing, which makes this book so much more realistic. But my favourite was Annie's mother Gladys.
Annie - was a believable character. She tries hard but is unsure of herself. Like many women she isn't ashamed to admit to being ambitious but she's not an utter success (although you can tell that she has potential). She's also very warm hearted. Many authors endeavour to portray their heroine's as warm hearted (but the bitchy element always rears its head), but Elise Chidley really managed to capture the goodness within Annie without making her sound saintly.
Gladys - she's very much a mother figure. The author manages to manifest this without her sounding like a cliché. We begin to know her more towards the end of the book but she's an absolute joy and has definitely promoted this book from a 4 star to a 5 out of 5 star.
Lydia - she appears to be a brat but she's been through so much. To begin with I thought Simon (her father) was selfish to marry so soon to a woman he barely knows, but when you meet Annie you'll understand that she's worth the trouble. And that Lydia has managed to bag herself a brilliant stepmum.
Simon - he's not a dashing, ultra wealthy debonair dark haired cliché. He has many responsibilities, a lot of stress in his life and he and Annie make a gorgeous couple.
Dan Morgan - a wannabe cowboy and an almost comical contemporary smooth talking John Wayne who's the only single man in a well-to-do suburb full of "happy" families. As another character described him "you're extinct, too, cowboy, but you don't know that either"
Heather - an older mum, she's down to earth and gets straight to the point. Reading about her efforts with botox, her efforts in trying for another baby, her bizarre marriage to Rob is interesting and brings colour to the book.
Rob - he's a character and his "charm" affect applied on the ladies is worth reading about...
Ther are so many other characters who are worth a mention but you'll read about them soon. I highly recommend you read this book. Some things might fall into place too easily, a bit too pat at times. But considering the issues Annie has to deal with as it is, its only fair we give her a break on some other things.
But he best bit of the book is the ending (or rather towards the ending). Its incredibly emotional. The glimpse into Lydia's actual feelings is beautiful to witness.
There are also (within this genre) these 2 gems below which I enjoyed reading regarding children and relationships that were brilliant to read about:
"Kissing Mr Wrong" by Sarah Duncan
"What Alice Forget" by Liane Moriarty
"The Trouble with Marriage" by Debby Holt(less)