The Semi-Detached Women, a review by Joanna

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The Semi-Detached Women

Alex Quaid

386 pages

Bloodhound Books

Published on December 5th, 2023

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This was a sweet modern historical fiction novel about an unconventional relationship between two women in early 1960s Britain. It’s not my usual genre, but was recommended by an author friend, and I enjoyed it as a moving story about love and the bonds of friends turned family.

Janine is a lonely young woman who has been taken advantage of by her married employer and then thrown out of her home by her abusive alcoholic mother because she is pregnant. She uses her savings to rent an isolated cottage outside a beautiful Cheshire village, and prepares to raise the baby on her own. Laura is married to a successful solicitor and adores her young son Luke, but when her marriage falls apart, she moves in next door to Janine, with no idea how her life is about to change…
This was a lovely story about an unlovely time not so long ago when homophobia and religious hypocrisy were rife, and women had to conceal their sexuality or risk ostracism or worse by their communities, in this case, the threat of having a baby forcibly removed and adopted out. I liked the range of characters, from jolly Lady M, to laid-back hippy Ianto, and there were some odious villains like the bigoted moralising Catholic social worker. The evolving romance between Janine and Laura was sensitively portrayed. 4.5 rounded down for the unnecessary present tense narration. I received an Advance Reviewer Copy from Bloodhound Books and am posting this honest review voluntarily.

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