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on 8 April 2017
I wasn't too sure what to expect but I have been pleasantly surprised. A great read from beginning to end with lots of twists and turns. I even shed a tear at on e point. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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on 10 May 2013
I enjoyed this book and found that the characters were well developed and as the book progressed all were easy to relate to with their different emotional dilemmas, with Amy changing the most significantly. The only reason that I didn't give a 5 stars rating was that I felt it was lacking at the end of the book, as it did not explore the emotional implications of Kate finding out the truth about who Jack was. As this huge revelation would have affected her significantly when reflecting on their relationship and this would have been interesting to explore further.
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on 18 August 2017
Fabulous read, well written but definitely not laugh out loud. I sobbed and sobbed. Fantastic story of a family navigating life and keeping it together.
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This was a warm and enjoyable read about three women: a mother and her two grown up daughters.
We read Jennifer the mother's story, both in the present and, the most interesting part I thought, in the past when she was a young woman at University. In the present she is meeting an old friend and this has huge repercussions for the whole family. Then, there is Kate, her eldest daughter, who is a nurse and works hard to support her family; she is married to Miles, happy enough until she meets the enigmatic Jack after a bump in her car. This throws her life off course as she battles with her feelings. Finally, Amy, Jennifer's other daughter, who lives the life of a princess, spoilt rotten by her wealthy husband Ben, she spends her days shopping, lunching and having her hair done while her children are taken care of by a nanny. But for Amy too, things are about to change as Ben's business collapses and suddenly the money runs out, it seems her worst nightmares have come true.
The characters in this book are extremely likeable and you really care what happens to them. It is well paced and never boring, I did think the truth about Jack was somewhat predictable but this doesn't detract from what is a heart warming and lovely family story. I've read Helen Warner's previous novel RSVP and enjoyed this too, will certainly watch out for her next one.
Apparently Stay Close to Me was initially published under the title IOU so don't be caught out and think they're two different books.
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on 18 February 2013
This is the story of a mother and her two adult daughters. Jennifer is a widow who is contacted by an old lover. She has been on her own for the last two years but still feels a strong loyalty to her late husband. On the other hand, can it harm to just meet up once?

Her eldest daughter Kate is living nearby with her husband and two children. They don't have a lot of money, but they get by. But when Kate meets an interesting and handsome man who wants to go out with her, she wonders whether staying with dependable boring Miles is really all she wants from life. But is it just a crush or real love she feels for Jack?

The other daughter, stay-at-home mother Amy, also has a husband and two children. They are living an expensive life in London, which they can't afford any more when Ben loses his job and has a break down. Now it's up to Amy to provide for her family and live a more modest life.

This was a good story about family relationships. It was built up really well, I didn't see some things coming at all, while in hindsight they seemed very possible. There is a lot of crying and eyes brimming with tears in the book, which I didn't like quite so much. On the other hand, some dramatic (but not over-dramatic) things happened to the main characters so a tear here and there was really not that strange. My eyes didn't brim at all, though.

I found the story very believable. I could easily imagine these three women living their lives as they did. Amy in London (losing all her wealthy friends the minute her husband loses his job), Jennifer in a small town meeting up with an old friend, re-acquainted via Facebook. And Kate, a nurse, who is a woman as there are many in England, just trying to get by.

If you like good women's fiction, then this book about family relations is one for you!
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on 31 January 2013
Stay Close To Me centres around one family but there is plenty of drama going on; Jennifer's past resurfacing, the crumble of Amy's lavish lifestyle and Kate's turmoil over her husband and the instant attraction she feels for another man, Jack. I wasn't sure I was going to like Amy to begin with as she was so spoilt. She didn't work yet she employed a nanny to take care of her children, even when they spent most of the day at school. I was almost willing the rug to be whipped out from under her feet just to teach her a lesson. I have to say, however, that Amy did grow on me and she coped with her new circumstances remarkably well. There are times when she loses her temper, when she could have been more understanding but it must have been a scary and frustrating time for her so I can see why her emotions boiled over occasionally.

Some of the threads within the story were a little predictable but it didn't hinder the enjoyment of the book. I really enjoyed delving into Jennifer's past, uncovering the circumstances surrounding her secret and it was nice to see Amy growing as a person, moving far beyond the spoilt, vacuous woman she once was. I could also understand the lure of Jack for Kate. Her husband Miles was quite difficult and stubborn and they didn't lead much of a life so the prospect of a wild fling with Jack was thrilling but it would also come with dire consequences for her family.

Stay Close To Me is a story of keeping secrets from those closest to you and the fallout created when those secrets are exposed.
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on 15 March 2014
This is the first book I have read by Helen Warner and it certainly won't be the last.
The story of Jennifer and her two daughters has been summarized in several of the other reviews so I don't intend to do the same. What I will say is that this is a really well written book which tackles some gritty subjects, mental illness, debt, infidelity, unplanned pregnancy to name but a few.
The style of writing is very easy, initially covering a different character in each chapter until their stories begin to blend cleverly together. I didn't guess at Jacks connection to the family until well in to the book and I certainly didn't guess what the author had in store for Jennifer.
This is a book for women, about women but definitely not in the chick lit genre...........brilliant!
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on 13 May 2013
I enjoyed reading this book. It's very family focussed, with the dynamics between the siblings nicely explored and the emotions of the Mother very well detailed.

I loved the descriptions of the women and felt real empathy with them all. They all felt very real. I also enjoyed the male charcters in this book. They weren't too clichéd and had real depth, matched well with the female characters. The children and heir relationships were also well drawn.

I would thoroughly recommend this as an undemanding but satisfying read, perfect holiday reading.
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on 1 May 2013
I enjoyed this book and particularly liked the way the three strands were interwoven. I thought it realistically portrayed the dynamics of relationships between siblings and between mothers and daughters.
As an "older" reader, it was nice to see a character of my age enjoying a relationship, rather than sitting in a chair, knitting! The ending was a slight disappointment and left some things in the air. I would have liked to know how Kate's relationship with Jack progressed, in the circumstances, but overall I recommend it.
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on 18 May 2013
Didn't take me long to read this book at all. Really well written and I thought dealt with the complexities of sister/mother relationships really well - the little slices of jealousy that disappear just as quickly as they appear and the everlasting special bond of mums and her girls!
Thought the way the depression was dealt with was very good but didn't consume the whole book and pull it in a darker direction!
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