I have had countless problems sorting out this blog post, which, unfortunately, has made my post late which I can only apologise profusely for. I am delighted to welcome author Jon Rance to the blog today as he celebrates the release of his brand new book, ‘About Us’. Before I share my review of Jon’s new book, the man himself is here to tell you a little bit about the book.
Over to you Jon Rance!
This is the story of Rosie and Pete. From the beginning until the end.
Hello! I’m excited for my very first visit to The Writing Garnet. Thank you, Kaisha, for having me.
OK, so why am I here? I’m here because my new novel, About Us, is out now and I’m here to tell you all about it. Right, so admin out of the way, let’s get cracking. About Us, is the story of Rosie and Pete Willis. It follows them from meeting at the height of the
Britpop 90’s to present day where they’re married with three kids and living in South London. It’s a comedy, a drama, a slice of life, and perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, David Nicholls, and television shows like Cold Feet and This Is Us. At the heart of the book is the relationship between Rosie and Pete, but today I want to talk about one of the side plots and that’s the relationship between Rosie and her children.
Rosie and Pete have three children. There’s fourteen-year- old Alice, ten-year- old Josh, and seven-year- old, Daisy. A huge part of the book is Rosie dealing with her children growing up and trying to find her place in the world, post stay-at- home mum. Before she had kids, she worked in publishing and had a flourishing career, but after being a mum and housewife for fourteen years, Rosie is feeling lost. She feels like her kids are becoming strangers as the world grabs them – especially so with teenager Alice – and she’s becoming surplus to requirements. Being a stay-at- home father myself, I can feel some semblance of this myself. When our children are young they rely on us and need us so much, but as they get older and become more independent, we’re needed less and less and it’s difficult to accept.
One of the themes of the book is the choices we’re forced to make as we get older. During the course of the book, Rosie has to make a lot of big decisions and her relationship with her family is at the heart of them. It’s heartbreaking to watch our children getting older and feeling as though we’re losing bits of them, and Rosie tries so hard to keep hold of them for as long as she can, but like all parents, eventually she realises she needs to start letting them go. And when she gets an offer of going back to her old job full-time, Rosie must decide which way to go. It’s just one of the decisions that will shape the rest of her life because at the end of the day, this is what life is, a series of decisions with each one defining who we are and what we become.
About Us, is a dramatic comedy about life, about love, about us, and it’s out now exclusively on Amazon. Grab your copy now for just 99p for a limited time!
HILARIOUS AND HEARTBREAKING.
From the bestselling author of Sunday Dinners and Dan And Nat Got Married, comes a bittersweet comedy about a marriage, about how it begins, how it falls apart, and the choices we’re forced to make. Perfect for fans of David Nicholls, Jojo Moyes, and Mike Gayle.
Rosie Willis isn’t happy. Her once perfect marriage to husband, Pete, is falling apart, her mother is dying, and her three children are starting to feel like strangers. At forty she feels like she’s stuck, but then she meets handsome widower, Mark Hornby, at the school gates and he makes her feel alive again.
As she drifts further from Pete, she gets closer to Mark, but approaching Christmas she realises she needs to try to save her marriage and keep her family together. Despite her feelings, she can’t have an affair. Unfortunately, Pete has news of his own that throws everything into doubt.
Rosie must choose a new life. There’s Pete, Mark, or going it alone. It isn’t easy when you’re forty, when you have three kids, when you feel past it, when your mother is dying, but life isn’t meant to be easy.
What does TWG think?
What surprised me about ‘About Us’ at first, was how the story was told by a female main character. Before anyone starts with the ‘omg you’re being sexist’ comments, let me explain. Firstly, I can’t say that I have read many novels written by male authors, who have their main character as a female voice. Usually I find that authors usually have main characters as the same gender as themselves so, when I read Jon Rance’s novel with his main character being Rosie Willis, I was pleasantly surprised. In a good way though! It was so refreshing to see an author go against the ‘norm’ and write in a completely different way, enough to make a reader go ‘errrrrr what?’ (again, in a good way).
Rosie Willis isn’t a happy bunny. Her marriage has become a chore as opposed to the romantic, sexual, burst of energy relationship that it once was. Not only that, Rosie’s family are dealing with a heart-breaking and emotional situation, which, whilst it is incredibly difficult to go through, it’s a waiting game for the entire family.
Having never been married and only having one child, a lot of ‘About Us’ I couldn’t relate to in the slightest. However, I didn’t need to be able to relate to the general theme of the book to be able to enjoy it…luckily. I found myself warming to Rosie’s persona without the need of saying ‘oh she is SO like me’, because in actual fact, she couldn’t have been more different. Did that put me off? No, it did not. It actually made me realise that just because we haven’t been through certain situations ourselves, we can still find it in ourselves to be empathetic towards other people, should our personality make up’s point us in that direction.
I could see where Rosie was coming from though in terms of general happiness and not wanting to feel ‘stuck in a rut’, after all, who does? Why should you go through life living in a situation which doesn’t make you happy, just because people around you cannot bear to see you make a change which doesn’t fall into their belief system? Since when did our lives become ‘Our Lives FT every single family member and in law’?
I’m not going to lie, I warmed to a certain gentleman in question during the storyline, and I was extremely hopeful that the storyline would go down that path. Whether it did or not, you’ll need to read the book for yourself and see where your heart lies, but, just like Rosie, I knew where my heart decided to camp out, and it wasn’t even for my own life! Crazy huh!
I did find that some parts of the novel seemed to go on for a little bit longer than needed, personally, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this modern-day, refreshing tale about choosing the right path and just…living.
Sometimes we go through life with our head in the clouds, choosing our paths with other people in mind, completely forgetting the most important person in that journey; ourselves. We have all done it, and let’s be honest, we will continue to do so. After all, we are only human. Before reading ‘About Us’, my journey was taken with everyone else in mind. After reading ‘About Us’? Well, let’s just say that I am more determined to put my foot down and go through life via the path that I choose.
A refreshing, funny, enchanting tale which will make you see life in a completely different way. Hats off the author, that’s for sure!
Thanks Jon Rance!