The First Time Mums’ Club by Lucie Wheeler
Publishing Date: 5th May 2017
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 290
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
After years of trying and a failed IVF attempt, Pippa is thrilled to see two little lines appear on a pregnancy test. Finally a precious baby to call her own. This is all Pippa has ever wanted…if only husband Jason could show just a little excitement.
A baby is the icing on the cake for Imogen and Alice – proof that their love for each other can overcome any obstacle. But when Imogen starts receiving malicious texts, it’s clear that not everyone is thrilled about the girls’ good news.
A drunken one-night stand and Ellie’s life is ruined! Pregnant, jobless and the relationship with her best friend, Chris, over- forever. Because Chris just happens to be the father of Ellie’s baby…and potentially the love of her life!
For these first time mums the road to motherhood is bumpier than most!
Since I’ve become a mum myself, I really like to read books with heroines that are pregnant, or are just about to get a baby, or just got the baby and have to deal with their worlds being turned upside – down. “The First Time Mums’ Club” is already the perfect, very promising title, and then you see that you’re going to get not one pregnant character but straight away three! Add to this this lovely, colourful, eye – catching cover and there was nothing holding me off from reading this debut novel from Lucie Wheeler. This is a story full of friendship, sisterhood, girls’ power and plenty of laughs, but it also touches upon many more difficult issues and deals with them in a likeable, believable way.
However, there was not so much about the pregnancies themselves, the book mostly focused on the circumstances the women got pregnant and on their private lives and problems, as there were many troubles coming for them. They are all brought together by Zoe, who runs the First Time Mums’ Club in her cafe – and no, Zoe herself is not pregnant. Ellie is Zoe’s sister, then we have Zoe’s best friend Pippa and there is also Imogen, who gets to know the girls at the cafe and they click. Pippa’s marriage is going through difficult path right now. Imogen and her partner Alice are happy to be pregnant, though there are problems with Imogen’s family accepting the fact that she’s married to a woman and the realisation that Ellie is pregnant, and who is the father, is a great shock for her system.
The characters were very well developed. I really had a feeling that I know them inside out, that I knew what drives them and what makes them tick, and why they are like this. However, there were many moments that the story just stood in place without moving and the same thing was being talked about over and over again. The Ellie and Olli situation played incredibly on my nerves, it was will they/won’t they taken on another, annoying, level. I could only roll my eyes at their banter, the way they cut in on when talking, never getting close to a conclusion or solution, even though you could see immediately how this is going to end. To be honest, I didn’t have a feeling that I should keep my fingers crossed for them or something because they just only annoyed me. So there. Even though they were – separately – sharp, witty characters and I adored Ellie’s “no shit” approach.
The stories of the three girls, or rather four, because we also got to know Zoe’s background, were interesting and believable, and also I am sure most of us will find something that can relate to, that can nod your head and state “I’ve been there, I’ve seen it”. The situations are down to earth and not too exaggerated and Lucie Wheeler shows that the story can carry on without adding unnecessary dramas, and I liked it.
We see how the girls deal with their problems and with the different emotions that their pregnancies freed in them and their closest surroundings, and we slowly observe how the meetings in the cafe become important for them, and how their friendship is building closer. They start to count on each other and support each other. The end of this story was very fairy – talish, for my liking, but oh well, it was a rom – com, right, so even if it was this tad unbelievable for me, too random, and it made me roll my eyes, I did buy it. I only couldn’t get straight into the story and warm to it just like I should, and I can’t put my finger on what has caused it, and I am really torn about this novel. I have expected something different, really rather focusing on being a mum for the first time, full of hilarious anecdotes and instead the story concentrates on the problems of the four new – made friends, and I don’t mean that it’s wrong, it is absolutely OK, however I also can’t say that it was my most favourite read that is going to stay with me forever. I do appreciate Lucie Wheeler’s writing style – it was fluent and flowing, with moments of being a little too unpolished and raw, but oh my, I can live with that, it is a debut novel. The author is a great story teller and she can for sure create her characters, so I think that my problem must be with the plotline itself. However, the book is already gaining tons of fans, which is a great thing, and if you try it you may discover you also love it. And I am already looking toward Ms Wheeler’s next novel.