Neither the title nor the cover does this novel justice - it's much cleverer and funnier than chick-lit (even at its best). Readers who loved Kate Atkinson's Behind the Scenes at the Museum, Hilary Mantel's Giving Up the Ghost, Jane Gardam's Crusoe's Daughter - in fact all those good and great novels about three generations of Northern women - will devour this. It works on many levels: as the tale of Rebecca's distintegrating marriage and decision to keep a baby rather than have a second abortion, as a meditation on whether we pass down psychological traits as well as physical ones, and as an excoriatingly funny portrait of lower middle-class life in the 1970s. The Monroes are a family divided by class, temperament, money and looks, and as the narrative weaves across past and present to the mysterious marriage of two cousins we get an inkling why Doreen and Aunty Suzanne hate each other so much. Eventually,you realise the novel is constructed as a kind of detective story, full of false clues and tiny revelations, particularly about family breakdown. The 1970s details are lovingly recreated with particularly amusing footnotes about popular TV shows. Highly recommended.