Meet Emma, the new Mum on the block. Since moving to the Liverpudlian seaside after her husband’s career change, her life consists of the following: long walks on the beach (with the dog), early nights (with the kids) and Netflix (no chill).
Bored and lonely, when Emma is cordially invited to the exclusive cool school-mums’ book club, she thinks her luck may finally be about to change. But she soon finds the women of the club aren’t quite what they seem – and after an unfortunate incident involving red wine and a white carpet, she finds herself unceremoniously kicked out.
The answer? Start her own book club – for bad mothers who just want to drink wine and share stories. But will this town let two book clubs exist? Or is there only room for one queen of the school gates…?
The Bad Mothers’ Book Club is a fun, contemporary fiction by Keris Stainton — it’s about struggling mothers, failing relationships, well-kept secrets, and the difficulties that women face on a day-to-day basis.
Emma is bored and lonely. She’s just moved to a new town, her husband is at a new job and is working really long hours. Emma is left to take care of the kids and the home, and all that comes with it. She doesn’t feel like she belongs in Liverpudlian yet, and on her kids’ first day, she makes an enemy out of the glamorous and popular Jools.
“Emma was early for pick up. She’d walked and made sure to set off in plenty of time; she really didn’t want a repeat of the morning’s chaos. She’d taken Buddy for such a long run that morning that he’d spent the entire afternoon asleep on the sofa in the kitchen.”
The chapters move between different women. There’s Emma, who’s struggling with how different her life has become since moving. There’s Maggie, whose husband Jim is keeping secrets from her and is staying out late each night. And there’s Jools, who is keeping a secret of her own because she wants to feel in control of her life.
All of the women have something to prove, someone or something they’re either fighting for or trying to understand. Readers will be able to relate to all of the women, and even though this is a fun read, there are moments in the book that are emotional and turbulent, and challenging.
“She’d been looking forward to him coming home too. Thought maybe they could have had a glass of wine together and sat at the kitchen table talking about their day, the way they used to in London.”
I’m not sure what to make of the positioning of the book — in particular, the blurb and the overall plot of the story. The bad mothers’ book club? That group is only formed towards the very end of the book, so the entire story doesn’t really have anything to do with that.
I couldn’t help but feel that the story started in the wrong place, that perhaps we spend too much time reading about these women before they form their own book club. I think there could’ve been more tension and conflict built from the bad mothers book club, but it would’ve needed to have been created earlier in the story.
“Maggie drank more tea. It actually was what she’d imagined for herself. Growing up, she’d pictured adulthood as a house and a car and a family that looked exactly like this — almost exactly, there would actually be two kids — and she hadn’t really thought beyond that.”
I recommend this book to readers of romance fiction, and contemporary fiction. It’s light and quick to read — quirky and fun. There’s plenty of heart and humour, and fantastic characters.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Bad Mothers’ Book Club
Hachette Book Publishers