Monthly Archives: July 2016

BOOK REVIEW – My Husband’s Wife by Amanda Prowse

My Husband's WifeMany thanks for NetGalley for my advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

At the end of her book, in a note to her readers, Amanda Prowse claims that she creates characters that she herself would like to sit and have coffee with, and she hopes that her readers feel the same way. There’s actually no better way to describe the women in her books than the way that Amanda herself has described them here! She writes about people who are so very real, they could be standing behind us in line at the supermarket.

Rosie Tipcott is firmly ensconced in her cosy village life in Wollacombe, Devon; she always has been and has never envisaged herself being anywhere else. Happy with her husband Phil, who works in his dad’s family building business, her two boisterous little girls, a job cleaning caravans, and regularly meeting best friend Mel at the local café for a jacket potato and a chat, everything in her little world is just as it should be. She adores her in-laws Mo and Keith, who’ve always made her feel safe and secure, ever since her best friend Kev, Phil’s brother, brought her home to them when they were in their early teens, providing her with something her own home always lacked.

When Rosie was just a few days old, her own mother walked out, leaving Rosie to be brought up by her father. He did the best he could, but a man is not a mother and now Rosie is proud that she’s managed to create a complete, loving family, something she never had while she was growing up.

But then, seemingly out of the blue, Phil tells her he’s leaving her! Rosie’s picture-perfect world is shattered. Did she miss the warning signs? She must have, because she wasn’t aware that she was supposed to be looking for them. Piece by piece her comfortable life falls apart and her security blanket is cruelly ripped from her and left in shreds. Rosie realises how very naïve she really is, and how unprepared she is for any other type of life than the one she always expected to be living.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is she if she’s not her husband’s wife?

Amanda Prowse’s gifts lie in her character depiction and her accurate portrayal of relationships, whether it’s between husband and wife, father and daughter or mother and child. She is adept at describing her protagonists in their entirety, revealing their strengths and flaws at just the right times in order for them to either endear themselves to us, or make us dislike them as and when we’re supposed to (often before their fellow players realise the negative role they’re playing)!

There are strong themes running through this book: friendship, loyalty, strength, family ties, most of all, the importance of self-belief and how imperative it is to be your own person and not only to see your own worth through being someone’s partner or parent.

Highly recommended.

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BOOK REVIEW – Always Anastacia by Anastacia Tomson

Always AnastaciaIf you’re looking for a book that will take you through a medical description and analysis of the transgender process, then I suggest you look elsewhere. This is not the book you’re looking for.

Always Anastacia is one woman’s highly personal, heartfelt, sensitive and more often than not, painful journey about what it is like to live one’s life assigned male at birth, all along knowing that you are not male; experiencing what is known as ‘gender dysphoria’, and eventually recognising that you are in fact, female.

Let me make it easier for you to comprehend. Imagine one morning, you put on a shirt that is a size too small. It’s a little uncomfortable, but you don’t have time to change it. As the day progresses, the shirt becomes more and more uncomfortable to wear, to the point where it’s actually unbearable and completely unpleasant. You can’t wait to get home and take it off! That’s how Anastacia felt for most of her life in a body and persona that just didn’t fit who she really was.

In this memoir, Anastacia pieces together various accounts that she experienced along her journey to becoming who she is today. In many she describes scenes that may seem inconsequential to many readers, including such mundane details like sitting in restaurants, or walking through busy shopping malls. As I understand it, what may seem like trivial details to many of us, were actually huge factors in her life at those specific moments in time. Anastacia was experiencing those elements as a natural woman, which she may not necessarily have done before, and was being recognised for it. That small detail of being addressed as ‘Ma’am’ by a waitress or shop assistance, was huge at the time and merited a mention, and I appreciated each reference as it was made.

Obviously, there needs to be mention of medical process, but this is done somewhat delicately and peripherally, referencing the unfortunate lack of sensitivity by most of the medical profession, clearly showing that there is still a long road to be travelled towards acceptance and open-mindedness.

Be a voice not an echoAs much as Anastacia didn’t think she could ever be an activist, she has come to realise that it was impossible for her to keep quiet once she found her true voice. Albert Einstein said “Be a voice, not an echo.” Anastacia is most certainly her own voice, and a voice that is determined to be heard!

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