on 10 August 2013
There are many truths in this book. We are back with Emma & James from "The Baby Trail", their children Lara and Yuri and Emmas sister Babs and best friend Lucy. Emma is the loving mother who only wants a calm family life. Babs dreams about a career in television; she flitters from affair to affair and has no wish to settle down. While Lucy is the born career woman with a high flying job which leaves little time together with her husband and little son.
Then there is the stalker! A lot of the book focus on an unknown person seemingly trying to split Emma and James and ruin their marriage. Emma receives strange telephone calls, messages and even gifts hinting on someone having an affair with James and ordering Emma to return to Ireland....
The book as a whole is a funny and entertaining read, with quite a bit of insight into modern womens' lives and challenges. In addition to Babs and Lucy also Emma's neighbours Carol and Poppy are great personalities and Moriarty gives hilarious descriptions of the two. Yes, isn't it nice that people are so different!!
Not quite five stars. The mystery of the stalker is soon solved, rather obvious I think. Emma gets a little too hysterical about the whole thing and the situation drags out too much when the solution is all too obvious.
But, all is well that ends well. Lots of feelgood and a happy ending makes this a relaxing and satisfying read. If not the most memorable one.
I didn't realise when I requested this advance reader copy from NetGalley that this was one in a series but I didn't feel the lack of knowledge from previous books when I read it.
Emma and James come to London from Dublin as he has a new job coaching a rugby team. Emma is lonely and finds it difficult to make friends (I obviously move in different circles from her as no one has ever been as rude to me at the school gate as they are to Emma here - is it really realistic ?). She gets a job as a make up artist on her sister's make-over TV show and has to balance childcare with the demands of her job and the demands of James' new job. There is quite a bit of discussion by various characters of the various roles of men and women in childrearing and childminding - in fact, this is a topic of conversation so often I became very weary of it - I can acknowledge with the author that there are a lot of gender related issues but I did think that there was just too much emphasis on it here.
Emma is plagued by messages and presents from a stalker who claims that she is having a relationship with James and she finds this worrying, mistrusts James, makes a huge scene at his place of work and eventually chucks him out. The identity of the stalker is immediately obvious to everyone except the characters in the book (the clues are so unsubtle that the author must intend for the reader to be well aware who it is before the characters). I understood why Emma reacted the way she did to the stalker but I did think that she got very hysterical about it all (maybe because of the amount of alcohol that she drinks in this book which is quite astounding).
I had an issue with Emma's sister Babs from the beginning. She is a character who is supposed to be very forthright but in fact she is actually very rude. The way that she speaks to the children and what she tells them is wildly inappropriate - there is the possibility that the author intended this to be funny but I didn't think that it was. I also found some of the ways in which she referred to a gay character near the beginning of the book to be insulting and nasty - if I used the words that she did to refer to a gay person in my workplace there would be consequences which there are not here although she is supposed to be in the media.
The author is obviously exploring the whole idea of wanted and unwanted children, who should raise children, who should care for them, and when can one partner make demands on another about having children. She considers that some people may not want to have children and also the consequences to relationships of decisions which are made about families. She then considers the whole aspect of trust through the stalker incident and how lack of this can also affect families. This is a very issue driven book and I think that the story suffers for it. I thought that many of the minor characters were unrealistic and that Emma was a bit whiny.
On the whole, I didn't really enjoy this book as I found it difficult to sympathise with the characters and I was frustrated by the continual messages which I was being asked to consider.
on 16 July 2016
Easy, no effort required reading. Hamilton family relocate from Dublin to London for work with all the upheaval that entails. The situation is made more difficult when Emma is led to suspect James of adultery. An engaging piece of chick lit especially if you have read the other books in the series.
on 7 May 2014
I haven't read the first book in this series, but have read numbers 2 and 3. Reading this one was like being reacquainted with old friends as I read about the trials and tribulations of Emma and her family and friends. On the whole I enjoyed this book very much, taking less than a week to read it. I have only two negative things to say about it: firstly, it was blatantly obvious who the villain of the piece was, and I couldn't believe that Emma and James would be so stupid as to remain in the dark until the answer is pushed under their noses; secondly, I remember Imogen as being stick thin, and now she's enormous, with no explanation given, so it seems like a continuity error.
Emma, James and their two children are now living in London, having recently moved for James' work. There's both joy and pain for Emma in living near her sister Babs, and only pain in living near her sister-in-law Imogen. Emma is having problems settling into her new life. James is constantly under stress and working long hours and Emma's parents seem to be oblivious to her sorrow and the sacrifices she is making. While she's delighted to learn that her friend Lucy is going to be spending a lot of time in London, her joy is short-lived because Lucy is a work-a-holic. It seems that nobody has time for Emma, and her life is filled with boredom and chores ....... and that's before a development that threatens her marriage and her sanity. Like all of this author's books, it's a human story, filled with humour.
Sinead Moriarty is another of my favourite authors and I look forward to her new releases each year. It was great to pick up this latest release and be reacquainted with Emma and James Hamilton from Sinead's earlier novels, The Baby Trail and From Here to Maternity. A couple struggling to conceive and who adopted a young son from overseas.
We return to the Hamilton family, Emma, James, their adopted son and their biological daughter. At the start of the book the family have moved from Dublin to London, a move due to James' new job, training London Irish rugby team. It is great to see that Moriarty has acknowledged the difficulties and emotional wrench in moving away from family and the security of Emma's group of friends.
Emma has a sister, Babs, who lives in London and is the host on a makeover programme. She manages to get Emma a job as the programme's make up artist. Although this is great for Emma, she has to consider childcare and the immediate start on the job leaves Emma feeling guilty about not being there to settle her children into their new nursery. A neighbour mentions that a friends daughter is looking for work and is good with children. After interviewing for a nanny, it is decided to go with the daughter of a friends friend. The story continues, the children and the nanny are both happy, Emma has her job which she is enjoying, and James is working hard to get the London Irish rugby team to win their first game.
It is during this time that Emma receives a parcel containing an intimate gift and a worrying note. Could James be playing away? Emma continues to receive these personal gifts, along with disturbing anonymous text messages. Would James really be playing away or is malice involved?
I really enjoyed this book and although I guessed the identity of person sending the parcels and text messages quite early on, it did not ruin the rest of the book. I really believe that Moriarty has written a very real story. The feelings of the whole family have been portrayed from day one when they uprooted from Ireland to live in London. The effect of Emma beginning a new job, meaning the children had a nanny to take them to and from a new nursery, family life being disrupted, James working very long hours, the doubt in Emma's life, which affected more than just Emma and James. It sends the reader on a roller coaster of emotions, who should they give their support to? and who is in the wrong? There are many of the pitfalls of modern day family life throughout this story and reminds the reader of the real values of family life.
There are lots of times of humour littered throughout the story, which is something Moriarty does brilliantly although they do not take anything away from the real story - one of family life and all the temptations that exist in the outside world.
Thank you to Penguin Ireland who sent me an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway and Netgalley.
on 16 April 2014
This book was my least favourite in the Mark and Emma series's, unrealistic story line, and very obvious early on who is trying to ruin their marriage. I did enjoy it though, as I love all Sinead Moriartys books.
on 21 August 2013
Mad about You is the fourth book following the relationship of Emma and James. Although it could be read as a stand alone novel I felt that having previous knowledge of the characters did add to my enjoyment of the book.
Emma and James are now parents to two young children. Following a move to London so James can continue working as a rugby coach, Emma finds she struggles to fit in. The yummy mummy's seem content to spend their husbands big fat paycheques and Emma quickly realises this lifestyle is not for her. Returning to work as a make up artist alongside her outlandish sister Babs, Emma discovers life as a working Mum holds challenges of its own. Emma is pushed to the edge of her limits when it appears James, previously so supportive and loving, is having an affair. Overtly sexual text messages are initially taken to be a prank, but when a vibrator arrives with a sinister message, Emma is close to breaking point. Can their marriage survive under the strain?
Sinead Moriarty is often compared to Marian Keyes, and there are certainly some similarities in the writing style. Very much family orientated, Mad about You has a perfect balance between wicked humour and an engaging plot. Emma is a likeable character that females will relate to- a woman trying to have it all and struggling to keep her sanity as a working Mum. The family dynamics are also something that many readers will be familiar with, the 'can't live with them, can't live without them' dilemma. I though the relationship between Emma and Babs in particular was believable and touching.
Although I did find parts of the book predictable, Mad About You was a fun, easy read that chicklit fans will enjoy.
on 17 May 2015
All the negative/neutral reviews seem to have been written by people who haven't read the whole "Baby Trail" series and I can sort of see why. As a stand alone book "Mad About You" would be mildly entertaining BUT, as a catch-up with the fabulous Emma Hamilton, her delightfully zany family and her wonderful friends it is unmissable - and who cares if the identity of the stalker stood out more prominently than Babs's original nose!
** spoiler alert ** I have to give this top marks. Its a fabulous book.
There is so much happening in this book, and so all ties in together nicely.
Emma and James have been through so much together, fertility problems. They now have a lovely sweet daughter and an adopted son. They adopted him from an orphanage, he wasn't well taken care of and hes tiny in his stature but I love us Moms, how we make sure our children have confidence in themselves. And that is exactly how Emma is with her children.
They have had to undergo an upheaval, James lost his job, and had now had to move to London from Dublin their hometown to secure a coach job. He is very focused as he wants to give a good impression.
Emma is feeling the strains of moving into a new town, it seems the area they are living in has a few snobs, having botox, having their nails done, spending money on their children on a packed agenda of after school activities and making excuses for their behaviour. Emma is well out of her comfort zone.
Babs, she is her sister, what a character! I loved Babs to bits. She was the host and star of the TV show that give make overs to women, she is blunt in her approach and many times I laughed out loud at her honesty. Babs life and her experiences all come out in the book, chapter by chapter alongside Emma and James life.
Then there is Lucy and her husband, her little boy, it all mixes up nicely to become one enormous gripping unputdownable read.
Babs make up artist leaves, this makes an opening for Emma who has the qualifications to jump right in and work alongside her sister.
Now they need to find a nanny, someone to look after the kids, wash, iron and do some cooking. They find Claire, she's a timid, shy young girl, but seems just the sort of person that would interact with their two children.
She looks after them very well, and cooks well, everything seems to be going along nicely........
Until, text messages come James way, sextexts messages, then later to Emmas's phone, then things start arriving in the post.
Emma is a little unsure of herself anyway, so this is all she needs. She sees James as an attractive middle aged man, sexy, and although deep down she knows he wouldn't stray.........or would he.
Its got a lot in the book, its family, its friendships, its a thriller of sorts, its conversational. I just LOVED IT.
I would like to thank Penguin Books (UK) for allowing me to read and review this book via Net Galley
on 28 July 2014
This is one of the most shallow books I have ever read. The idea is that a woman is tormented by anonymous texts from someone claiming to be sleeping with her husband. Her husband denies all knowledge and whilst she wants to believe him, she is being driven mad by suspicion.
This reads like a lesson in how NOT to write a novel. The characters are all cardboard cut-outs, with no depth. It is very difficult to believe in any of them, and therefore I didn't really care what happened to any of them. There was the hard-as-nails beautiful sister, the earth mother, the WAG, the ball-breaker, the overbearing mother... It was like she picked out a list of stereotypes and just ticked them off as she went. The dialogue is cringe-inducing too!
It was really obvious who the stalker was, but I couldn't really sympathise with the characters for their fate considering they never called the police or actually did anything to look into it. They just whinged a lot. The worst book I have read in a long time.