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Hard as it has been for Freya to try to reconcile her two families, it has been harder for her mothers. Proud of her mature and sensible adoptive daughter, Liv fears Melody's restless influence. Meanwhile, forced to give up her baby when she was just a teenager herself, Melody now craves Freya's love and acceptance - but only really knows how to have fun.
Then tragedy strikes, and the bonds of love that tie these three women together will be tested to the max. Can they finally let go of the past, and pull together in order to withstand the toughest challenge life could throw them?
Before Yummy Mummies and Slummy Mummies, before the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, before we wondered How She Does It, there was THE BAD MOTHER'S HANDBOOK. Hundreds of thousands of readers lived a year in the life of Charlotte, Karen and Nan as they struggled with becoming mothers for the first time.
And now they are back. Certainly older, probably not wiser, and definitely as hilariously catastrophic as before.
For all those who have asked how to be a woman, here is HOW TO BE...A BAD MOTHER.
A storyteller in the Joanna Trollope league, Long writes astutely and comically about the complexities of motherhood' Independent
'Warm, witty and wise' Red
'One of the authors that I rush out to buy straight away. I find her work challenging, witty, fresh and real' Adele Parks
Carol married young - to philandering Phil - and became a mother young - to highly-strung Jaz. Carol put up with Phil's infidelities: suffer in silence and keep the family together was her mantra. Not so Jaz. The moment she discovers her own husband Ian's errant ways - with a woman he barely knew - she throws him out of the house, changes the locks and bans him from seeing their toddler son Matty.
In so many ways independent and strong, where her daughter is concerned Carol is a coward. When Jaz finds out that her mother has enlisted the support of Ian's father David to try to get her back together with Ian, Jaz is beyond furious and disappears with Matty.
With a deft lightness of touch - and a dash of unexpected romance - Kate Long takes us into the heart of this mixed-up but utterly recognisable family who fight for what they believe in, even if it puts the closest members on opposing sides.
Katherine Millar is eighteen and desperate to be less fat, less swotty and to have cooler friends. But most of all she wishes she had two parents, instead of one grandma, Poll.
Poll is pushing seventy, half blind and utterly poisonous. She has looked after Katherine since she was a baby, when her father was killed in a car crash and her mother vanished. Poll's ambition is for things to stay exactly the same for ever, and for Katherine never to leave their pit village of Bank Top.
Katherine has other ideas, and she can feel change is coming; the omens are all around her. In the meantime, she cleans up after Poll, revises for her exams, watches daytime television and surfs the net at the library trying to find out how to be bulimic. What she doesn't quite realize yet is that life won't always wait for you to catch up with it.
Swallowing Grandma is a perceptive, vivid and painfully funny novel about the ties of love and loathing, and the ways in which our versions of the past can thwart our visions for the future. In Katherine and Poll, Kate Long has created two unforgettable characters locked in an epic battle over whose side of the story will prevail.
'Wise, warm and witty . . . Will keep you reading until the very last page' Red, Book of the Month
Jen is a trainee journalist working on Chester's local paper, dreaming of something bigger. Her sister, Helen, is beautiful but damaged, and hides a secret that has affected the whole family, one they cannot escape but one she is trying to move on from.
As Helen learns to become a whole person once again, her family struggles with the past, and how they will move forward together. And Jen realises that the one person she needs to help her through is the one person she cannot have - Helen's boyfriend, Ned…
Ally has everything she ever wanted: a husband, a child, a lovely house in a pretty neighbourhood. Her glamorous, dynamic next-door neighbour, Juno, is also her best friend. But Juno has made a surprising decision; she has signed up for Queen Mum, a reality-TV show. For two weeks, she will live with another family in another town, while her opposite number will be moving in next door to Ally.
Juno is excited about the prospect of seeing life from a different perspective. Ally is nervous. She doesn't like change, and knows from bitter experience how something precious can be lost in a moment.
Kate Long's novel, written with her customary wit, empathy and incisiveness, is about friendship and love, recklessness and caution and about how the camera, while it sometimes lies, can also reveal uncomfortable truths.
‘This is the perfect summer novel – easy to read, but perceptive about the twists of fate that can change our lives’ Glamour
'Long is as compulsively readable as ever' Time Out
Anna’s personal life is in crisis. Her marriage is struggling, and the disastrous affair she began as consolation has now become a millstone around her neck. The place where she feels most secure is the safe and ordered world of the classroom – until a new pupil arrives in her English group.
Kali is beautiful and bright, but also vulnerable. Anna tells herself that it’s only natural for a caring teacher to show concern for a troubled student, and believes their developing friendship can save them both. But when that friendship begins to tip over into something more intense, Anna finds her professional and domestic lives caught up together in a spiral that threatens to destroy everyone she ever cared about.
‘Only Kate Long could get a character into such a mess, and get her out of it, with such warmth, skill and assurance’ The Times
‘A complex psychological portrait . . . And cracking story-telling too' Independent on Sunday
‘Compassionate and compelling’ Woman and Home