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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read
I really enjoy Carole Matthews books, so when I saw she had a new one out I put it on pre-order immediately. And I wasn't disappointed.

The book follows the life of Lily and Lawrence who, after coming back from a holiday, find themselves homeless and without a penny to their name. The story follows how they cope with this and the friends they make on the way...
Published on 6 Oct. 2010 by The Little Bookworm

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Back to Square One
Reading the title „The Only Way is Up“ of course instantly put the tune of that late 1980s (or was it early 90s?) pop song into my head – I wonder if it will be the same for you!

So far, I had not come across the author, Carole Matthews, although she has published 22 “hugely successful” (according to her website,...
Published 8 months ago by Meks Librarian


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, 6 Oct. 2010
By 
The Little Bookworm "The little bookworm" (North Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Only Way is Up (Paperback)
I really enjoy Carole Matthews books, so when I saw she had a new one out I put it on pre-order immediately. And I wasn't disappointed.

The book follows the life of Lily and Lawrence who, after coming back from a holiday, find themselves homeless and without a penny to their name. The story follows how they cope with this and the friends they make on the way. It's a feel good story and certainly makes you appreciate what you've got.

It lost a star because I found it a little silly and unbelievable. I know that it's fiction but it was a little much at times - I can't believe that you can lose everything like that and be in the situation they were. Would you really spend £20,000 on a holiday if you knew?

All in all, a good read, which I enjoyed. I can't wait for her next one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Right on the money, 21 Sept. 2010
By 
Best Crime Books "Best Crime Books" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Only Way is Up (Paperback)
Story

Lily and Laurence Lamont-Jones have the sort of lifestyle most could only dream about. They have a beautiful house, expensive holidays, jewellery and fast cars. In addition to this their two children attend a horribly expensive boarding school. When they return from their latest luxury holiday they find that their house is boarded up and they have lost everything that they have ever owned. With nowhere to go they end up being moved to a notoriously rough council estate. Will they manage to build their lives back and return to their luxurious surroundings, or are they destined to stay on the Netherslade Bridge estate forever.

Opinion

This book is on the money. Right at this moment in time it seems that many people are struggling with money and the economy is not exactly at its peak at the moment. This is why I feel a story like this at a time like this is perfect.

It doesn't take long, no more than a few pages, to get into the story with the Lamont-Jones'. The story is written as usual in an easy style which really gets the reader connecting with the characters. Lily and Laurence is a seemingly perfect couple that have it all. However Lily finds that Laurence has lost his job and on their return from their holiday they are left with nothing. Although Laurence has made many mistakes you can't help but like the guy. His story is one that is not that far from reality as I recall reading about other people that had been in that situation and tried to sweep it under the carpet.

Following their swift departure into the world of the poor and penniless we see the family relocated to a rough estate where their world goes from bad to worse. Once they are situated in the house, they have to literally build their life up from scratch and they manage to do it with the most unlikely of people.

In addition to loving Laurence, I also fell in love with Lily, who although slightly spoiled as a stay at home mum when Laurence was working, is actually a funny and warm person who I loved from the very beginning. We also meet Tracey the Lamont-Jones new next door neighbour who is brilliantly written and I could almost picture this book as a film.

Although this particular book isn't the first type with this kind of story, Carole Matthews brings it to life with great humour and wonderful characters. Her writing style is easy to read and the pages practically turned themselves. There are some very funny events in this book too which had me laughing out loud which is always a plus for me. On top of all that the ending was perfect.

I must say that since the release of Carole Matthews Chocolate Lovers series, I have never found anything I liked as much, until this. This book was the perfect combination of a great story, brilliant characters and a brilliant setting. All in all, a wonderful read and one that I would highly recommend.

8/10
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Carole, 2 Oct. 2010
This review is from: The Only Way is Up (Paperback)
Carole Matthews is one of my favourite authors and I always look forward to reading her books when they come out and this is another one that didn't disappoint.

Upon reading the first couple chapters of this book I thought I was going to struggle to like the characters with their well-off lifestyle and the way the way they splashed their money around. However, a few chapters in and as things began to change for the family (Lily, Lawrence and their two children) I grew to really like them and feel for each of them individually. The chapters are written so that both Lily's and Lawrence's opinions and point of view is put across which allows the reader to understand the predicament they both have been put in and the way they feel about it.

Carole introduces us to some great characters throughout the story and I found myself gripped and intrigued to know what the couple were going to do next and wondered how things were going to pan out for them.

All of Carole's books are easy to get in to. They are written in an easy to read style and The Only Way Is Up is no different. I found the book not only enjoyable but also interesting and it really opened my eyes to the effect and difficult times the recession has had on many people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read with Lots of Thought Provoking Moments, 25 April 2011
This review is from: The Only Way is Up (Paperback)
I picked this book up in our holiday let in Spain and thought I would read it for about 5 minutes. <24 Hrs later I had finished it and was eagerly asking my wife to read it. While not ringing true on detail, the general tenets of the book are engagingly presented. I am middle class through and through but also professionally have a lot of experience of the world the Lamont Jones's are catapulted into. I know which world I would rather live in and the harsh world of Netherslade Bridge is not it. However Matthews brings out well the emptiness of some aspects of the upper middle class life but while money may not make you happy but it does make managing you unhappiness easier and more productive.
The price the couple paid for their lost existence is well illustrated, Laurence's more than Lily's.
Matthews does not romanticise the Netherslade Bridge life which is a big risk with the obvious intent of the book. This is an achievement.
Lily's dilemma later in the book is powerful and believable.
I always look to a book to provoke me into a review of my own attitudes and priorities. This book does this well. In a easy read it does achieve a contribution to the age old truism that only in adversity do human beings really find out what life is about and really develop a proper character. Quite an achievement to work complex literature challenges and essentials into a very accessible potboiler.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it, 4 May 2011
This review is from: The Only Way is Up (Paperback)
I did not know this author but I certainly will read all her books.
I love the way she tells us stories. There is something emotional in them.
This story is about Lily, her husband and their two children. Her life is a dream: fantastic house, expensive cars, horses, children at the best school, a best friend...
And the dream ends up suddenly when she returns from her wonderful holidays in the Tuscany: her trader of a husband has been fired and they are covered with debts: she then discovers another life, a way of like she didn't even think could exist... but finally gives her the opportunity to discover herself at the end.
Moreover even it is a fiction, even if things are exagerated in the story: they become homeless overnight and it seems they have no parents or relatives at all to turn to...: strange. But well, I liked this book because it also made me think about how life can be and that nothing must be taken for granted.
I loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Refreshing Read, 8 Jan. 2012
By 
This review is from: The Only Way is Up (Paperback)
Really enjoyed this book - could not put it down once I got into it.

You follow the lifes of Lily and Laurence who are very wealthy, money gets them what ever they want. Holidays, weekends away, horses, big house, jewellery, etc. There children go to private schools, so Lily can have her own life with her friends.

When they return from there holiday Lily learns that her husband lost his job 3 months ago and did not tell her so the house and everything has gone and they have not a penny. All the have is the clothes they are wearing and did washing from there holiday.

Lily and Laurence have to start all over again, they get put into a house on a rough estate but they soon make friends with Tracey who helps they get through the situation.

This has been written very well and the characters are very good and all come across very well in the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anotherr brilliant Carole Matthews Book, 31 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Only Way is Up (Paperback)
Laurence and Lily Lamont-Jones are wealthy, middle class people. They live in the countryside in their huge house whilst, their two adorable children go to a fee-paying boarder school.

They want for nothing and don't mind splashing out £20,000 on a family holiday.

It is after one such holiday that they return home to find their house has been re-possessed by the bank, they are bankrupt and that Laurence has lost his job.

Now all they have is the clothes they are wearing and what is in their suitcases. They are homeless, penniless, and with nowhere else to turn they have to look to their local authority to rehouse them.

The only house that their local council have is on the rough estate of Netherslade Bridge. The house they have been given is a run down, flea-ridden shack, but with no home to go to they accept what they have been offered.

The family is distraught and don't know how they will live. At first they are sure it has been a mistake and that everything will come good soon, whilst they wait they try to make the most of a bad situation.

They soon learn who their real friends are, and how tough they are, with no-one but each other to rely on.

Will they be able to claim their old life back or is this their destiny from now on?

This is another of Carole Matthews' fantastic books, as with all of her other novels, this one is an easy to read chick lit.

You are entered into the life of Laurence and Lily and are with them every step of the way, whilst they struggle with everyday life, a life that most people take for granted, as now they have no-one else to do everything for them.

In the beginning I got the sense of this quite snobby, perfect couple, with their two perfect children and I wasn't that keen on the characters. Its only once they lose everything that the characters really come to life.

Laurence is hit the worst by the situation. With no job, car and money and now having to sign on for benefits, he feels like a failure and becomes depressed. But it was the way that Lily handled the situation that I loved, from her finding the cheapest cuts of meat and learning to make a meal, to holding her family together. She is one tough lady and even with her posh accent, the locals seem taken with her.

The children learned to adapt very quickly and found the situation an adventure, including starting at a new school and making new friends.

The plot as I've read on some other reviews is quite far fetched, but people need to remember that this is a fictional book, with fictional characters and a fictional storyline, and if it was told as a true representation the story wouldn't be half as fun nor be interesting to read.

The book really hit home with me, as at 18 years old I left me parents home to find my own way in the world. The first home that I had was nothing like I was used to. It had no heating, there was a hole in the back door that let the freezing air in and the garden was a jungle. Part of me could empathise with the family and I could understand their emotions in given situations.

The family turn out to be fighters, and become more rounded people. They learn that just because someone lives on a council estate and doesn't have much money, doesn't make them a bad person, and that sometimes you need a glitch in your life to come back down to earth and see how the `other side' live.

The book isn't a thrill ride, nor action packed. It is a sweet, loving book that shows you what true hardship can do to a family, and that it's how you cope with the situations thrown at you, and pulling together as a family that matters.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Back to Square One, 16 Sept. 2014
Reading the title „The Only Way is Up“ of course instantly put the tune of that late 1980s (or was it early 90s?) pop song into my head – I wonder if it will be the same for you!

So far, I had not come across the author, Carole Matthews, although she has published 22 “hugely successful” (according to her website, www.carolematthews.com) novels in 16 years. They are, as you’ve probably guessed from a glimpse at the cover picture, what generally is known as Chick Lit. My mother-in-law, Mary, gave this one to me. It is the kind of book she likes; nothing too terrible, a plot easy enough to follow, a bit of simple humour, and some kitchen-table wisdom thrown in for good measure. This type of reading does have its allure, I don’t deny it – it is good to wind down with after a long, demanding day at the office, and I did want to know what’ll happen next.

But what does actually happen? In brief: Rich family loses everything and discovers life isn’t all about money, and money can’t buy happiness.

Lily, Laurence and their two children return from a very expensive holiday to find their posh home has been repossessed by the bank – they can’t even get in to fetch some personal belongings. All they have left is what little cash they happened to be carrying and the holiday clothes in their suitcases. There is no way they can turn to any of their former “friends” – who prove not to have been true friends at all – but end up in a council housing estate of the worst kind. Everything there is very different from what life had been like for them until now: the rubbish tip that doubles for a terraced house and “garden”, the state school for the children (as opposed to the posh boarding schools they attended before), the shabby little shop offering low quality food for high prices, the run-down pub, the neighbours…

With surprising swiftness, the family settle into their new surroundings. Nearly all of their neighbours turn out very different from what they expected them to be at first glance; the children like their new school much better than the old one, and although it takes some time before Laurence finds a job, Lily surprises everyone by getting work nearly as soon as she starts looking.

But every time something good happens to the family, something else occurs that threatens to throw them back to Square One. Even Lily’s job, although well paid and not strenuous, begins to create more problems instead of solving them.

Of course, it wouldn’t be this kind of book if things weren’t going to end with happy smiles all around. But to get there is not a straight, easy line, and (although predictable more often than not) the twists and turns kept me wanting to read on. The idea of what happens if you have to start over from scratch, and how different people react under the same (extreme) circumstances, is fascinating. I’ve had my own share of life-changing events (although so far the bank has not attempted to evict me from my flat – and hopefully never will!), so I can sympathize to an extent.

One thing I have remarked upon in what I’ll broadly class as “contemporary British novels” several times in my reviews is the amount of booze consumed by the characters, and “The Only Way is Up” is no exception.
Everything that happens – good or bad – is an excuse for drinking. Lily finds a job? Get the cheap white wine out! The neighbour has a problem with a credit shark? Fetch the brandy! Laurence discovers the joy in working on an allotment? Hand him a beer or four! And of course, as is the habit of this type of book, it is always very, very funny (not in my eyes) the way people behave when they are drunk.
Please don’t get me wrong; I do drink alcohol, heck – I even throw cocktail parties for my birthdays and other occasions – and certainly like a few glasses of sparkling wine, but I simply don’t see the point in drinking all the time, or getting so plastered that the day after you either can’t remember what was going on or you remember only too well and are ashamed about what you did (and who with). I just can’t see why people (= characters in books) can’t have fun without copious amounts of booze.

OK, that was my rant for today. I did like the book well enough but I’m afraid I would never spend any money on Carole Matthews works.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but not realistic, 15 Dec. 2011
By 
CC (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Only Way is Up (Paperback)
The Only Way is Up is about a family who overnight go from enjoying life with all the trimmings such as a luxury home with land, fantastic holidays, private schooling for the kids etc to bankruptcy. They end up living on a Council Estate wondering how they are going to get themselves out of their mess and meet some interesting characters along the way.

While I very much enjoyed this riches to rags tale, I couldn't suspend reality enough to believe that the family would be so warmly embraced by people living on their estate. It was too rose-tinted for me. I also struggled to take Lily's relationship with her manager seriously - it just seemed completely out of the blue. On one hand I felt sorry for her because she had depended on her husband and he had caused them financial catastrophe but on the other hand I thought that she was very weak and selfish to conduct herself in a way that was not in keeping with her character as dependable wife and mother. I guess that was the point!

However, despite of this, it made me think about what we as society have taken for granted in recent years. The idea of opulent living is a world away for some but in the current economic climate a lot of people have had to go back to basics after perhaps living beyond their means. The Only Way is Up is a good reminder of what you have and how it can all disappear faster than you would imagine.

A good read, I would recommend if you enjoy a 'chick lit' book with a moral tale.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Carole Matthew's Best Books Ever - & I've read them all!, 27 Sept. 2010
This review is from: The Only Way is Up (Paperback)
I have long been a huge fan of Carole Matthew's books, and I've pretty much loved them all, I have to admit. But 'The Only Way is Up' is truly one of her best. It starts out seeming a very bleak and contemporary theme, involving debt, greed and the credit crunch's horrendous effect on Lily, Laurence and their two children's lives. But out of disaster comes a story of survival and enlightenment, and I for one could not put it down! I finished the whole book in just under 3 days, and couldn't wait to get back to it at every given opportunity to see how Lily and her husband were managing to make ends meet and adapting to their new life. I really loved the other characters in the book too, particularly Tracey, Skull, Christopher Cherry, Seymour and Len with his ever-expanding canine 'family' too! The way they are all drawn together is a pure delight and very uplifting and cheering. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a taste for a well crafted story and something a little different. Well done Carole - here's to your next masterpiece!
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The Only Way is Up
The Only Way is Up by Carole Matthews (Paperback - 16 Sept. 2010)
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