Confessions of a First – Time Mum by Poppy Dolan

Confessions of a First – Time Mum by Poppy Dolan

 

40540177Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 25th June 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher via netGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 266

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

Stevie’s life has changed beyond recognition since having her first baby. Stevie loves being a mum, but between the isolation and being vomited on five times a day, she really wishes she had someone to talk to.

With husband Ted working hard to keep the family afloat, Stevie really doesn’t want to burden him with her feelings. Turning to the internet, Stevie starts the anonymous First-Time Mum blog and blasts the rose-tinted glasses of parenthood right off her readers.

In the real world, Stevie meets the formidable Nelle and gorgeous Will, along with their own little treasures, and starts to realise that being a ‘perfect mum’ isn’t everything. But when the secret blog goes viral, Stevie must make some tough choices about who she wants to be, and whether she’s ready for the world to know the truth…
A perfect laugh-out-loud read for fans of The Unmumsy Mum, Gill Sims and Emma Robinson.

Rating: five-stars

In Poppy Dolan’s book, “Confessions of a First – Time Mum”, our main character Stevie is … yes, you guessed! A first – time mum! And let’s be honest – she doesn’t cope so well, which, of course, is totally understandable. Her husband Ted works hard to provide them a comfortable life, all her friends are working, her parents are on another continent… So Stevie starts to write about her feelings on her First Time Mum blog that quickly turns into incredible success. But, as it usually, where you find success you also often finds defeat and troubles… Will Stevie, with the help of new friends Will and Nelle, a) realise that there is no such thing as perfect parenting, b) save her marriage?

This book tells it how it really is to have a baby. I mean, you can attend all kinds of antenatal classes but the reality is in any case going to slap you very, very hard and nothing can prepare you for the shock. Thanks god my baby was not as extreme and demanding as Cherry was, even though then I thought it couldn’t be worse but now, in perspective, I can see that she really was uncomplicated, and we didn’t have such adventures as Stevie and her daughter. But I can imagine that there are babies like Cherry, and I so really well understood Stevie and her frustrations, desperations and problems – Cherry was not a child I’d call cute, to be honest.

Every mum can recognise herself, more or less, in Stevie, our main character. Stevie, with her brand new daughter and her feelings of happiness and love mixed with confusion, uncertainty, failure, loneliness. I really felt for her, for her struggles, for the fact that she was so authentic. Also, Nelle and Will were brilliant addition to this story and did well as Stevie’s new friends – I’m still friends with the girls I got to know when I was pregnant and it’s almost seven years now, although I think that none of them is as sharp and honest as Nelle and Will, sadly – every new mum needs such friends as those two.

This book started in a brilliant way and I couldn’t put it down at the beginning. However, somewhere around the middle, it lost the whole impact and it started to feel repetitive and flat. It also felt too full, as if the author wanted to cram all possible events into the story. I don’t know, I can’t put my finger on exactly what was wrong with the second half, it simply read differently and was not as lightly written and as full of joy as the first part.

Altogether, “Confessions of a First – Time Mum” was brutally honest, incredibly funny and also poignant, a read that I could easily relate to. It gave a very realistic look at motherhood generally. Poppy Dolan has really brilliantly captured how it is to be a first – time mum – a mum altogether, showed both sides of motherhood, this of incredible happiness and being proud but also this of feeling totally misunderstood, alone and desperate. A story also about friendship and support and backing up your friends no matter what. It isn’t only about being a new mum but it also explores many more issues, and even though I sometimes felt a little overwhelmed with the number of events, I still enjoyed how different and colourful those subplots were, and because of them the pace felt really quick.

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The Woolly Hat Knitting Club by Poppy Dolan

The Woolly Hat Knitting Club by Poppy Dolan

 

36199960Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 25th September 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 260

Genre:  Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Finding happiness one stitch at a time

When Dee Blackthorn’s brother, JP, breaks both wrists not only is he in need of a helping hand – or two – but the knitting shop he owns can’t function. Sisterly duties take Dee away from her demanding job and she is unceremoniously fired amidst rumours of inappropriate behaviour. Dee is certain that her hot-shot nemesis, Ben, is behind it all but has no proof.

When Dee bumps into an old friend who is new mum to a premature baby she convinces JP to enlist his knitting pals to make lots of tiny woolly hats. Then Ben turns up denying involvement in Dee’s sacking and she ropes him into helping the knitting cause.

But before long Dee’s good intentions backfire and she risks losing her friends, her family and Ben, who’s turned out to be not so bad after all…

A feel-good romantic comedy about learning what life is really all about, The Woolly Hat Knitting Club is perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Tilly Tennant and Carole Matthews.

Rating: four-stars

 

Poppy Dolan is back again with her new novel “The Woolly Hat Knitting Club”, and even though knitting is totally not my thing (but I have other talents, really!), it IS Poppy Dolan’s book and I requested it without hesitation – I fell in love with her books some time ago and I am incredibly happy that after a long break she’s back with her second book this year – keep them coming, Poppy!

The story started very promising and engaging, with Dee being very suddenly being fired from her beloved job. Then I think it went a little downhill and slowed down a bit but I was still caught up in the novel and kept my fingers crossed for (almost) everybody. Dee has really gone on a journey of self – developing and finding her priorities, becoming a new person in short. She had a passion, when she did something she put all her heart into it and she loved her family. She didn’t hesitate for a single moment to leave behind her life in London when her younger brother JP breaks both his wrists and needs help. Actually, this is where her new life starts – even if she doesn’t know it yet herself! What we don’t know about JP yet is that he’s a knitter, runs a blog and the crafting gangs out there just love him. Dee doesn’t knit. At all. But she’s still there to help him, especially as after a chance encounter with her school friend Becky Dee realises they can help! So then we follow her, JP and some of their friends (and enemies) bringing the challenge to life.

I admit, I had some problems to get into the book. I mean, all this knitting, the structure and colours of the yarn, descriptions of needles or whatever the right name is, and generally, there was something keeping me back, but fortunately this overwhelming feel – good factor, the positivity and the wonderful message took over and I just simply started to enjoy this book. It was so warm that you just can’t not like it, and I really am not sure what my problem was.

We see Dee changing, seeing there are other things that count in life than work, seeing different perspectives, and I enjoyed watching her realising all those things. I always like such characters that set their priorities right. Actually, all of the characters are really well drawn. They are down to earth, they have their battles and struggles and they really feel realistic. They play their parts well and there is enough personality in all of them to like them and fell for them, even though their futures are a little bit predictable.

“The woolly Hat Knitting Club” was a lovely story about realising the importance of a family and friends with a beautiful message in it, also touching upon issues that are so important but not often talked about such as premature babies. It is thoughtful but also light – hearted and easy to read, fun and poignant and I simply liked it. It was written in a lovely, warm way and actually, it was all I was expecting from this book. Recommended!

The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan

The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan

 

34450248Publisher: Canelo

Publishing Date: 27th March  2017

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 198

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Bluebell Hall. Pull up a wonky chair, grab a cream bun and settle into a story about a little village, a determined caretaker – and bunting.

At twenty-nine, Connie isn’t quite where she thought she’d be. When her beloved gran died Connie returned to Hazelhurst, the village she grew up in, and took over her gran’s old job as caretaker at the village hall. It might not be the stuff of dreams, but Connie loves working at Bluebell Hall – the heart of the community fuelled by copious cups of tea.

So when Bluebell Hall is threatened with closure, Connie is determined not to let greedy property developers get their hands on it. She hatches a plan bonkers enough that it just might work. All it takes is a needle and thread, scraps of old material and willing hands.

Can Connie convince the people of Hazelhurst that their village hall is worth saving? And will she save herself in the process…?

A heartwarming novel about friendship, community and being brave enough to fight for what you believe in, The Bluebell Bunting Society is perfect for fans of Milly Johnson, Tilly Tennant and Cathy Bramley.

Rating: 3.5/5

Oh joy! The new Poppy Dolan’s book! Guys, you’ve no idea how much I’ve waited for this novel. I’ve read all Poppy’s previous books and they were all just SO right up to my street – the brilliant writing, my kind of humour, lovely characters and the stories flowing so effortlessly and seamlessly. I can’t believe – or no, I take it back, I CAN believe that it’s already four years since Poppy’s last book, it is really SO long. When I’ve heard the news “The Bluebell Bunting Society” is up for request on NetGalley it has really made my day, even more so when I was accepted to read it – which I almost immediately did, needless to say. Judging the book on its cover and its title you can think that it’s going to be an inviting, warm, funny, light read – and it’s true!
As I have two left hands when it comes to sewing, bunting and so on I always do love a read about people who can do such things. It’s real magic, no, to put together two things and produce a patchwork blanket, right? I can truly understand all the fuss, really.

There are many threads in this story, guys! It is multi – layered, just like a flower, and here unpeeling the layers makes you laugh and the story is sweet. The chapters are short and they really cover many issues, so that the story felt really dynamic. There is some drama, there is a romance, there is a lovely community. However – and I am incredibly sad that there is “however”, because I wanted to love this book so desperately! However, the story felt too flat for me. It was not as sparkly and fresh as Poppy’s previous books. There were moments it dragged too much for my liking and there was nothing that I could say wow, I haven’t read it or I haven’t seen it coming. It’s just Poppy Dolan has already shown me she can much, much more and I have expected much, much more from this book. Somehow, I just couldn’t get into the heart of this story – which probably is my own fault, and it makes me furious with myself.

Connie was lovely! I loved her passion and desperation to keep the Hall going. It was palpable that she has fond memories of it, especially as she has spent her best times there, together with her Grandmother, and she now enjoys her role as Bloom Mistress, preparing a dance or two with her charges. But Connie is torn – there is this side to her that want to satisfy tradition, keep the hall and run it just like her Gran did, and the other side, where Connie is not sure what it is she want to do, if she wants to stay in Hazelhurst for ever or do something different, somewhere else?

The cast of supporting characters is as bunt as the title itself. The author lets them all to have their own say, to shine through the pages. We have Lucy’s best friend Steve and his wife Lucy and they all want to support Lucy in so many ways! The community spirit in this book is brilliantly captured, it was just my favourite kind of a small, lovely village with people who know everything about each other and when it comes to a crisis they stand up for each other and do whatever they can to help. The duo of Dominic and Polly, father and daughter, has added so much poignancy to this story, the emotions there were so raw and so genuine, and Polly was so incredibly talented and creative, it was a real joy to read about her ideas.

Altogether, “The Bluebell Bunting Society” was a cute, warm, inviting read. It is this kind of read when you know what’s going to happen but it doesn’t bother you and it only makes you feel better. The characters are so lovely that you can’t help but fall for them all, and keep your fingers crossed for them. A heart – warming, uplifting read with a feel – good factor – recommended!