#MessyWonderfulUs @CatherineIsaac_ @SimonSchusterUK @ed_pr #blogtour #bloggers

Next up is my review for ‘Messy, Wonderful Us’ by Catherine Isaac. Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and to Simon and Schuster for the ARC. Here is my review:

In late 1983, a letter arrives, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever.

More than three decades later, it is found . . . by the last person who was ever supposed to see it.


When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything she knows about her family – and herself.

With the truth liable to hurt those she loves most, she hires a private detective to find out what happened to her late mother in the summer before Allie was born. Taking leave from her job as a research scientist, she is led far from home, accompanied by her best friend Ed.

But the secrets that emerge go far beyond anything they were expecting. Now, Allie must find the courage to confront her family’s tangled past and reshape her own future.

What does TWG think?

What would you do if you found out something that could threaten everything you have only ever known? Would you want to find out the truth despite being told to leave it? Or would you ignore what you had found out and carry on as normal?

I cant even answer that to be honest, and I dont think anyone could unless they were actually in that situation, and even then the answer could change multiple times!

Allie found a letter that took her breath away and left her questioning her entire upbringing, and she had to make the decision to either move on, or do a little bit of detective work. So, she decided on the latter….but at what cost?

As well as Allie’s dilemmas, her best friend, Ed, seemed to be beating himself up from the inside out. To him his marriage was on the rocks, but to his wife, Ed merely seemed ‘depressed’. It was pretty clear that Ed was joining Allie on her journey of self discovery.

‘Messy, Wonderful Us’ reminded me of a wood burner on a cold day; slow to heat up but when it was warm, it engulfed its surroundings in a powerful warmth that took my breath away and protected me in it’s own little fireball bubble.

The entire storyline was a magnetic force and beautifully written, and the fact that Allie’s job was researching cystic fibrosis was outstanding and gave the book even more of a unique edge.

Allie and Ed’s friendship is one that filled me with envy as it was just so genuine. I couldnt help but wish for a friendship like that for myself.

My heart was so invested in Catherine Isaac’s enticing story telling, I was bereft when the storyline came to an end! The attention to detail, scene setting, character development, relationship timelines were incredibly well thought out and made me able to envision all the finer details of the book as though I was there in person.

This was such a beautifully written, humbling, magical storyline which highlighted Catherine Isaac’s outstanding talent – I genuinely cannot fault this story at all. It has genuinely stolen my heart and soul. Such a stunning, stunning read.

Buy now.

Would you get in contact with someone you used to love, even though theres a chance they might not want to talk? #TheManILovedBefore @bookouture @AnnaMansell #blogtour

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in Anna Mansell’s blog tour, and for providing me with an ARC. Here is my review:

‘Dear Ben, I can only write you this letter because I know you’ll never read it…’

When Jem writes to her ex Ben, it’s to explain everything. All the secrets she kept from him – from the little lies she’d sometimes tell about how new those shoes really were, or how many glasses of wine she’d had that evening… right up to The Big Thing that happened on the night that changed everything. But she never expects he will actually see what she’s written.

She is just writing because she thinks it will help to get the words out. Later, she resolves, she’ll burn the letter, and then the past will be in the past for good.

Because Jem is doing fine now. She’s busy: working, spending time with her best friend, and looking after her mother, who’s in remission from cancer. She’s even dating again and has just met a guy who she thinks she could actually fall for. At long last, Jem is really, definitely somewhere close to happy.

But her mum finds the letter and thinks she’s doing Jem a favour when she posts it to Ben. And Jem’s new, carefully rebuilt life begins to unravel in ways she could never have imagined. Then, when her mother gets ill again, she finds herself asking who has the key to her future. The man she’s falling in love with now? Or the man she loved before?

What does TWG think?

Theres a lot of various avenues to explore in ‘The Man I Loved Before’. Not only is Jem finding it difficult to get over the man who had her heart, her mum was in remission from cancer. And, if that wasn’t enough, Jem finds herself being pulled in directions that arent good for her emotional wellbeing that ends up threatening her friendship with her best friend.

I reckon a lot of readers would find it difficult not to be empathetic towards Jem. The situations she deals with is more than enough for several people to contend with, let alone just one. Of course the fact that Jem’s mum is in remission is clearly good news, however with something like that, you cant help but wait for it to return. Not only that, her mum didnt return to her usual self after the cancer.

I enjoyed the realism of the storyline as it focused on things that can happen to real life people, without pretending that life is hunkydory because, contrary to popular belief, it isnt always like that. I appreciated the angle of the book, even though it was emotional at times and very powerful.

When Jem found herself in a sticky situation later on in the book, it did bring memories back for me as I had been in a similar boat myself many years ago. It wasnt easy to read, but i respected the author for including a topic that is often seen as taboo. However (sorry), I felt that it overpowered the rest of the book and took my attention away from other scenes in the book that I felt were important.

‘The Man I Loved Before’ is a romantic, poignant, topical read which puts relationships to the test big time. I really enjoyed the heartfelt storyline but, most importantly, I loved how difficult topics were given their time to shine in attempt to help others understand. Something that Anna Mansell has Mansell exceptionally well.

Buy now.

#FromThailandWithLove #blogtour @rararesources @CamillaIsley #review

Huge thanks to Rachel for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘From Thailand With Love’, and for the ARC. I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today.

All Logan has to do is to get the gold and get the girl. Easy, right?

Travel photographer Winter Knowles and archeology professor Logan Spencer dislike each other at first sight. Stuck together into the wild, these two unwilling teammates will bicker and banter their way through a laugh-packed treasure hunt.

After years of searching, a new mapping technology has given Logan a clue to the location of the legendary Lost City of Gold. A discovery that could make his career. So the last thing he needs on this life-changing expedition is for his team to get distracted by a pair of long legs.

When Winter accepted the assignment on a tropical island she didn’t sign up for a brooding team leader who’d clearly prefer to run a boys-only club. Never one to back down from a challenge, Winter is ready to show him she’s no damsel in distress.

But when a treasure like no other is uncovered and ruthless enemies will want to keep it for themselves, it’ll be up to the two of them to save the day. Left alone to fight in the jungle, they will soon discover their lives might not be the only thing at stake—their hearts could be too.

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

A hilarious enemies to lovers romance packed with danger, action, and comedy.

From Thailand with Love is part of a series of interconnected romantic comedies but can be read as a standalone novel as all the other books in the First Comes Love series.

What does TWG think?

My goodness me! I was NOT expecting this!! ‘From Thailand With Love’ is full of romance, dry humour, sexual tension, and incredible scenery. All of which I was expecting! What I was no expecting however, was a dark, action based element making it’s way into the storyline! It was a bit like Indiana Jones meets Pocahontas!

As unexpected as that may have been, I raced through the book with sheer glee and determination. Does the guy get the girl? Does the girl prove that shes not just hormones on legs? Does the expedition go without a hitch?

So many questions were answered in such a short space of time. I mean, this book isn’t the longest, yet it packs an almighty punch in terms of its storyline and characters. I really enjoyed my time in Thailand with Satan and Barbie!!

Camilla Isley is an author who puts a unique spin on the romance genre, upping the ante in terms of getting hot under the collar and making her storylines stand out. She certainly has delivered this time, that’s for sure!!

Buy now.

I would LOVE to visit here! #TheItalianVilla @DanielaSacerdo3 @Bookouture #blogtour #review

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Italian Villa’, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

Italy, 1938 – Elisa clings to Leo in the shadow of the Montevino mountains, the call to war ringing in her ears. They hatch a plan to wed in secret before Leo flees to the woods to join the resistance, and vow to find each other again when the war is over. But history has other plans…

Texas, present day – Callie Di Giacomo, a small-town waitress, is still reeling from the discovery that she’s adopted when she arrives in Montevino in search of answers about her real family – the keys to the stunning hillside villa she has just inherited clutched tightly in her hand. In her birthmother’s wardrobe grief-stricken Callie finds a diary belonging to a woman named Elisa Stella, one of Italy’s first ever female doctors, wrapped in pale blue ribbon.

Page by page, Callie is swept away by Elisa’s story, increasingly certain that their lives – and their fates – are somehow connected, and that the truth about her family is hidden somewhere within the crinkled yellow pages. But just when all the pieces look like they are falling into place, a devastating betrayal in the diary unlocks a heart-breaking secret about who Callie’s mother really is. Can Callie, like Elisa, find the light in her darkest moment and use it to spark a new future?

What does TWG think?

There was something just so humbling about the storyline behind ‘The Italian Villa, and the fact that it had some references to real life events really emphasised the importance of family bonds. It was heartbreaking to learn about what Italians went through during the war because of religion. I cant even begin to imagine what families went through during that time, and that’s merely my thoughts after reading about it!

I loved how the storyline was a dual timeline read, switching between the ‘present’ with Callie’s journey as she tries to find out where she came from, and the past via the diary written by Elisa. For a recently turned 21 year old, Callie had such an old head on young shoulders and her actions throughout the story didnt quite seem to match with the way her character was being portrayed. I’m not saying that that is a bad thing, however it left me feeling as though the overall storyline wasnt as seamless as it probably should have been.

‘The Italian Villa’ is such a picturesque, humbling novel which gives Italy the time in the spotlight to shine..and not just because of the beautiful sounding location. Callie’s story was both thought provoking and emotive, and overall I really enjoyed getting to know her and following her on her journey of self discovery.

Buy now.

#TheCottageInACornishCove @CassGrafton @RaRaResources #review #blogtour

Delighted to be a last minute addition on Cass Grafton’s blog tour this evening! Many thanks to Rachel for providing the review copy.

Orphaned as a baby and raised by uncaring relatives, much of Anna Redding’s happiness as a child came from the long summer holidays spent with an elderly family friend, Aunt Meg, in the coastal village of Polkerran.

With Aunt Meg’s passing, Anna is drawn back to the West Country, relocating to the Cornish cove where she was once so happy. Filled with memories, she hopes to perhaps open a B&B—and perhaps cross paths with Alex Tremayne again, a local boy she used to have a major crush on and who only had to walk past Anna to make her heart flutter.

Settling into her new life, and enjoying her work for the older, reclusive and—to be honest—often exasperating Oliver Seymour, Anna is delighted when Alex reappears in Polkerran and sweeps her off her feet.

The stars finally seem to be aligned, but just as Anna thinks all she’s ever wished for is within reach, a shock discovery brings everything under threat, and she discovers she’s living a dream that isn’t hers.

Can Anna rescue the new life she has made for herself and, when the testing moment comes, will anyone be there to hold her hand?

What does TWG think?

This book is a real diamond in the rough as on the outside it looks pretty, yet on the inside there is a lot more to the storyline that meets the eye.

Be prepared to have many ‘setting the scene’ type chapters as the pace takes quite a while to pick up. Obviously that has both positives and negatives attached to it. On one hand it’s good to get a feel for the characters and get to know their backstory before moving forward, but on the other hand a slow paced storyline can be a bit of a mud sticking read and some may find that frustrating. In this instance I did a little as I thought that there was a lot of padding out in the book instead of getting the oomph ignited.

However, that’s probably my only irk of the entire book. Pace aside, the premise of the book really touched me. Anna came across as such a lost soul who was yearning for happiness in her life, something which, in the grand scheme of things, isnt really too much to ask.

Learning about Anna’s start in life was quite emotional and i felt really drawn to her outlook on situations and the fact that she wasnt afraid to go after what she truly wanted. Needless to say, Anna experienced a bit more turbulence, however I was relieved to see that she had a few more people fighting her battles with her this time.

Cass Grafton has a way with words and i could tell that she genuinely believed in her characters and the messages that they were trying to convey. I’m really looking forward to reading more cosy reads from this author!

Buy now.

#NewBeginningsatWynterHouse @EmilyHarvale @RaRaResources #review #blogtour #blogger

Huge thanks, as always, to Rachel for inviting me to take part in Emily Harvale’s blog tour today (and for the ARC). I am super excited to be reviewing yet another of this fabulous authors novels. Enjoy!

Neva Grey’s Christmas brought several surprises. Now a shocking secret has life-changing consequences for the Wynters, as the New Year brings revelations … and relatives to Wynter House.

It also brings Hazel Smart and Amelia Goodbody. And it’s not just Adam and Rafe Wynter who are pleased Hazel and Amelia have come to stay. Olivia Wynter will enjoy bossing nurse Hazel around and she also makes it clear Amelia – who is handling the marketing for Rafe’s new business venture – is far more suited to be her grandson’s girlfriend than Neva will ever be.

Whilst Amelia is ensconced at Wynter House, Neva is busy with her new hair and beauty salon in Merriment Bay. Perhaps she should enlist her niece, Sasha’s help because just when she thought she had found the love of her life, old secrets, ghosts from the past, and new arrivals might shatter all her dreams.

At least she has her best friend, Jo Duncan to lean on. But newly single, Jo is determined to have some fun, both at Wynter House and in Merriment Bay. And so is Adam Wynter.

This is book two in the Wyntersleap series but it can be read as a standalone. The Wyntersleap series is interlinked with the Merriment Bay series and several characters appear in both series.

What does TWG think?

Can I just start by saying that, even though the blurb does say that this novel can be read as a standalone, I wholeheartedly recommend that you do read the books in order so that you’re able to get the whole ‘Emily Harvale’ experience, and appreciate the characters and the storyline for their flow. Just my opinion of course.

I love being able to lose myself in one of Emily Harvale’s books, and ‘New Beginnings at Wynter House’ was no different. It felt like I had just opened the book before I was closing it again!

Neva doesnt beat about the bush and neither does Rafe! They say that ‘love moves in mysterious ways’, however I dont think I have ever seen it move so quickly! Can someone really fall in love with someone just like THAT? I’m only questioning it because I’m a slight cynic when it comes to that sort of thing! I’m not questioning it because I disbelieve the author…before anyone thinks that.

Anyway, there were a few characters which had me ‘pffffft-ing’ multiple times; Amelia and Jo. I knew straight away that Amelia was going to rub people up the wrong way, and rub Olivia up the right way. I mean, witches tend to migrate together, right haha? As for Jo, without giving anything away, I was quite surprised by the different side to her personality. I appreciate she had recently had a bit of trouble in her personal life, I just couldnt get to grips with the new her and it made me a little bit unsettled if I’m honest. Weird eh!

As always, Emily Harvale’s witty one liners make this story the triumphant read that it is destined to be. I loved the community spirit, the unconventional table talk, and Sasha’s brilliant personality. Mix those together with dry humour, a sprinkling of romance, and an overall tenderness that envelopes you like a big bear hug, and you end up with a story that you cant help falling in love with straight away. I guess falling in love at the click of fingers isnt just for people!

Did I say that I loved it?

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

#FiveWakesandaWedding @ComedyKaren @0nemorechapter_ @RaRaResources #review

Huge apologies to OneMoreChapter, Karen Ross and of course Rachel for my delay in posting this review. It was a complete error on my part, however I have just this moment finished reading ‘Five Wakes and a Wedding’, so I hope my review makes up for the delay.

(Thank you to the publisher for the review copy)

Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.

Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.
Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop. When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith. Because, after all, it’s her funeral…

What does TWG think?

As soon as I saw the title of this book, my interest was piqued straight away. You’ve no doubt heard of the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, so how about ‘Five Wakes and a Wedding’?

If you aren’t someone with a dark sense of humour that isnt afraid to giggle at the things that are a bit more farfetched, then I wholeheartedly suggest that you turn back now as you are more likely to be offended than anything else! For those who can laugh at things that arent deemed ‘appropriate’, or who doesn’t take themselves, or life too seriously, then you have come to the right place because this book is so wrong that its SO RIGHT!

For starters, death is what the storyline is centred around. Obviously grief is a very personal thing, as are funerals and, if you’re anything like Nina, you would agree that a person’s wishes regarding their final send off should be granted, regardless of how inappropriate their wishes may be. Personally I dont see the harm in having a not so typical funeral, why should I? As long as nobody else gets hurt in the process, i dont see the issue….to a point of course!

I thought ‘Five Wakes and a Wedding’ was such a brilliant, brilliant read. Death is usually seen as a macabre event, and no wonder, however the portrayal of it throughout the story was ingenious, humorous, heartwarming, memorable, and a true breath of fresh air.

I loved the random bunch of characters who, from afar, really shouldn’t have worked together, yet they fitted perfectly like puzzle pieces. Even the dog slotted straight into the fold as though he had been there all along! I thought Kelli Shapiro was bloody brilliant and definitely one of my favourites from the book.

Despite all of the giggles, Karen Ross leaves food for thought in her words along the lines of organ donation, life after death, same gender marriage, betrayal, infidelity, as well as many other topics. How the author managed to include a jam packed storyline without losing momentum is beyond me!

As I’ve already said, I throughly enjoyed every single that I read, and for a little while I was able to step away from ‘the norm’ and be a part of something so bonkers, so eye opening, and so cleverly done, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was still on this planet!

This genuinely light hearted giggle fest shouldn’t have worked, yet it definitely worked for me and left me with a massive beamer on my face. As far as I’m concerned, this book is a winner.

Buy now.

#TheLittleVillageLibrary @HJRolfe @OrionBooks @tr4cyf3nt0n #blogtour #womensfiction

Many thanks Tracy Fenton and Orion for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Here is my review:

It takes a village…

Cloverdale is known for its winding roads, undulating hills and colourful cottages, and now for its Library of Shared Things: a place where locals can borrow anything they might need, from badminton sets to waffle makers. A place where the community can come together.

Jennifer has devoted all her energy into launching the Library. When her sister Isla moves home, and single dad Adam agrees to run a mending workshop at the Library, new friendships start to blossom. But what is Isla hiding, and can Adam ever mind his broken past?

Then Adam’s daughter makes a startling discovery, and the people at the Library of Shared Things must pull together to help one family overcome its biggest challenge of all . . .

What does TWG think?

What I love most about Helen Rolfe is the fact that she can take any subject and turn it into a story that people sit up and listen to. I expected this book to be a light hearted read….until I remembered that, whilst Helen Rolfe does write light novels, she always incorporates deep and highly emotive topics into her storylines. Sometimes this makes the overall vibe of the book less pillow soft and more bean bag soft, however I appreciate stories like that as life isnt all candy floss and rainbows. Life is difficult and I respect the author for keeping her storyline authentic.

Community spirit plays a huge part in ‘The Little Village Library’, something which is always a joy to see in books. Adam’s situation was one that I became invested in pretty quickly, and I felt like his character kept a lot of his personality back. Maybe he was too afraid to show his true self after what he had gone through, I’m not sure. On the other hand, Isla took a little bit of time to get used to. She wasnt my most favourite character and her holier than thou attitude really grated on me after a while!

All in all, ‘The Little Village Library’ is a warm, relatable story which isnt too afraid to highlight some rather emotive topics.

Buy now.

#NewBeginningsatGlendaleHall @herabooks @RaRaResources @Vicky_Walters #blogtour #review #blogger

Many thanks to Rachel and Hera Books for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Victoria Walters’ brand new book, and for the ARC. It gives me great pleasure to host today’s stop on the tour with a review:

Emily Prescott’s life isn’t going to plan. Her dreams of starting a family with fireman boyfriend Greg and opening up her own bakery in London feel like they will never come true. So when a wedding
invite arrives from her oldest friend, Beth Williams, Emily is thrilled. Not only will she get to return to her childhood home in Scotland, but best of all – Beth wants her to bake the wedding cake!

However, her excitement is cut short when she discovers that Greg has cheated on her. Devastated by his betrayal, Emily flees to Glendale Hall, Beth’s grand estate in the Highlands, and tries to distracts herself with helping with the wedding plans, but that’s not easy when Greg keeps hounding her to forgive him. Then she’s introduced to Glendale’s new young and handsome vicar Brodie, and things become even more complicated.

When Emily discovers that Greg’s betrayal runs deeper than she imagined, she finds herself with a whole host of decisions to make, especially when she discovers her long awaited dream is finally being fulfilled – at exactly at the wrong time…

What does TWG think?

I’m sorry to say this straight away, but Greg is a a twonk!!!! Yes, yes, he has issues. Yes, yes, he ended up losing nearly everything because of his own bad choices. But geezus! I didnt like him at all! He got my back up from the very beginning and I’m afraid to say that that opinion lasted until the very end of the book.

Right, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…..

OMG.WHAT.A.BOOK!!!!!!! I really think that this novel has ‘movie’ written ALL over it! You know when you’re in a rubbish mood and all you want to do is curl up with heartwarming, romantic movie that makes you laugh right from the bottom of your gut? Victoria Walters’ book was all of that and more. It had serious topics entwined with humour. 1354643 calories entwined with morning sickness. Hot vicars entwined with the entire female population of the village. It had strong friendships entwined with fractured families. Honestly, I dont think I could have wanted for more (apart from the cake, obviously).

It was such a joy to be back at Glendale Hall, and I really do hope there is more to come from the quaint little village. I would be devastated if there wasnt!

Emily is such a relatable character, and I felt myself instantly drawn to her personality – a bit like Beth’s actually. There are several characters in the book which I feel deserve their own time in the spotlight aside from the two I have just mentioned, and that’s Molly, Aunt Sally, Brodie and Caroline. Dont get me wrong, Caroline is very marmite, however she did something so moving for Emily, I couldnt help but be proud of her and the family. They have all come such a long way and its been such an interesting journey to be a part of.

‘New Beginnings at Glendale Hall’ should come with a warning; BEWARE! MAY MAKE YOU HUNGRY.

I hadn’t tried half the stuff that was mentioned in the book yet I would have easily demolished all of the cakes if they had been put in front of me! Seriously! This novel isnt just delectable because of the cosy vibe and genuine characters, no, it’s also delectable because of the amount of cakes, bread and other sweet treats that made their way onto the paper! And anyway, what happened to good old bakers these days? It really isnt the same walking into Tesco to pick up an iced finger or a fresh loaf of bread!

Victoria Walters has such a enchanting way of bringing her stories and characters to life, whilst managing to keep her readers involved for the duration. Her attention to detail is second to none, and the way in which she created a story that’s heartwarming, humorous, relatable, AND emotive, is really inspiring.

I adored everything about this book (apart from Greg), but most importantly I loved being able to feel as though I had come back home whilst i was reading the book. That feeling cannot be bought and can only be created by authors who write from their heart and soul, exactly like Victoria Walters. A movie company would be a fool not to snap this up!

Buy now.

#MyOneMonthMarriage @sharilow @Boldwoodbooks #boldwoodbloggers #Extract #blogtour

Many thanks to Boldwood Books for inviting me to take part in Shari Low’s blog tour. Today I will be sharing an extract from ‘My One Month Marriage’ – enjoy!

You know that “till death do us part” bit in the wedding vows? Well, Zoe Danton believed it. One month after she said “I do”, the man she loved is gone, given his marching orders after Zoe discovered a devastating secret.
As teenagers facing a crushing loss, Zoe made a pact with her three sisters to stick together no matter what. Now she’s discovered that one of them may have been the reason her husband betrayed her. She’s lost her happy-ever-after, but has she lost a sister too?

Buy now.

Extract.

I hear the sound of the oven door banging shut, before she re-enters with a glass of radiation pink. ‘I took some of this from the cocktail shaker,’ she informs us. ‘It looks suspiciously like something I’d prescribe for acid reflux. Right, what’s the latest? Married anyone else since I saw you yesterday? Divorced yet? Engaged again?’

I refuse to rise to her innocent-faced sarcasm, instead going for dry threats and indignation. ‘If you carry on like that, I’m going in to work.’

‘It’s Sunday,’ Verity points out, always one to insert facts into the equation.

‘And I hate to point out that your job was at the root of this whole debacle in the first place,’ Yvie adds, following it up with, ‘Jesus, my bra straps are killing me. Did I mention I’m going back on the diet tomorrow?’

‘You did. Is it the same one as last week? And the week before?’ Verity teases.

‘Not sure, but right now I’m hoping I lose nine and a half stone of smug older sister,’ Yvie fires back. She takes no cheek from anyone and I love her for it.

‘I thought you were embracing your curves?’ I enquire, confused.

‘That was last week. This week, I want to book a holiday, wear a bikini and I’ve realised that to feel good about that I’ll need to lose the equivalent of a small dinghy in weight in a month and a half. Starting right after that lasagne.’

I don’t argue. Only a fool would get in between Yvie and her ever changing body-confidence issues.

‘Anyway, I preferred it when we were revelling in your disaster of a life,’ she tells me. ‘Where were we?’

‘Where were we?’ It’s like an echo, only said in a voice that is sharper than the other three in my living room. Marina, only her head and neck visible round the side of the door, is the oldest of the four of us and the designated grown-up. She’s the kind of woman who makes lists, has a pension plan and who knows the difference between a vintage bottle of plonk and something off the shelf at Lidl.

‘Yvie has just pointed out that my job was to blame for all this.’

‘Yes, well, she’s not wrong. At least at the start. Although, to be fair, you did take an unfortunate situation, handle it badly, then let it descend into a complete roaring balls-up,’ Marina concurs before her head and shoulders disappear and I hear the sound of her clicking heels fading as she heads down the hall to the kitchen. I’d bet my last pound that she is carrying a bag containing sushi and hummus – she considers healthy food to be the only option, even in a crisis.

Yvie gestures to the door. ‘See? Even her Highness agrees. I finally feel validated as an adult.’

I ignore the playful barb. Successfully negotiating life with three sisters is fifty per cent love, thirty per cent tolerance and twenty per cent dodging the ever-changing dynamics between us.

Especially, in this case, as they both have a point. My job, first as sales director, then latterly as partner of Glasgow marketing company, The B Agency, definitely contributed to my current situation. If I hadn’t worked there, I wouldn’t have met Tom. I wouldn’t have fallen in love. He wouldn’t have broken my heart. And then I wouldn’t have gone on to screw up my life so colossally that I’m now contemplating eating dodgy lasagne while wondering what I am going to tell my mother when I return her generous wedding gift of a lavish, smoked glass beaded chandelier.

Granted, it is lovely – in a blingy, wear sunglasses because it’s so bright it could cause eye damage, kind of way. But the fact that I live in a flat with low ceilings transforms it from an ostentatious decorative statement to a concussion risk.