Tag Archives: women’s fiction

Jane Fallon Queen Bee Book

Jane Fallon’s Queen Bee & a fuzzy relatable heroine

Single mum Laura is recently divorced. Faced with the reality of London house-hunting, she’s renting a granny flat as a stop gap. Her new, temporary digs happen to be in The Close, an exclusive development of £10 million mansions.

Laura runs a small cleaning company, while her lawyer landlady Gail is the only other woman on the street with a job. The rest are all interchangeable trophy wives forming a little clique around the haughty ‘Queen Bee’ Stella, who is naturally suspicious of female newcomers.

When Stella’s smarmy music mogul fiancé Al co-opts Laura into a lie to cover up his slimy affairs, it creates a lot of tension on The Close.

As it happens, Laura’s business cleans Al’s offices. A bee in her bonnet, she implicates her employee Angie in some rather unprofessional snooping. They learn that Al is up to no good, and that the pampered Stella is about to have her world destroyed.  

“No one deserves to have their life changed by someone who hasn’t given them the chance to grow a shell to protect themselves,” reasons Laura, as she shoves the evidence in Stella’s Botoxed face.

They go from hating each other, to Laura acting as a crisis coach for Stella – who, under her perfect facade – is a wily, surprisingly endearing character. It’s a shame the book doesn’t offer her viewpoint too (or instead), or for the women to learn more from each other.

Dowdy-and-proud Laura feels superior ‘cos she kicks back in sparkly cat pyjamas, next to Stella’s off-duty uniform of skinny jeans and heels. Perhaps she could have realised that it’s alright to take care of your appearance, and to not be so judgmental about women who prefer a high-maintenance look.

Laura’s “Ooh, I’m so normal, me” routine (while reaching for her ever-present bottle of wine) is laid on supremely thick. She’s had a nasty knock, sure, yet she’s also a capable, successful woman, with a company, a mortgage and a well-adjusted child.

Author Jane Fallon is hilarious on Twitter, where she’s dedicated to animal advocacy. Like her earlier bestsellers, Queen Bee is witty, escapist fun – even if it’s a little busy, with a possible proof-reading error regarding the “only child” ex-husband having a brother and sister-in-law.

Speaking of her ex, it turns out that Laura used to swipe through his phone. It seems her problems respecting boundaries are deep-rooted, maybe linked to her father walking out – an unexplored edge to a flighty book.

When she rifles through the bedroom of her neighbour’s nanny, you care less about justice for Stella, and more about Laura finding the right therapist. A little bit of rule-breaking is entertaining, but her compulsive peeping fails the common sense test.

🐝🐝🐝

My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon – book review

In the summer, my cat makes me sit outside where I can’t get any WiFi. Apparently she is too scared to stay in the garden by herself, and just feels safer when I’m there.

I suppose I could spend my enforced no-WiFi time doing Yoga and meditating on how I became so devoted to such a demanding creature, but it’s actually a great chance to catch up on some reading.

My Sweet Revenge was written under the furry supervision of author Jane Fallon’s diva moggy Ollie (she’s a girl) Fallon-Gervais, so it’s only right it should be read while under the paw too.

Ollie has her own Twitter account (37,000 followers) and my familiarity with her social media antics clued me in that I would love Jane’s world. Not that Jane writes Ollie’s Tweets, of course.

So I really have to thank Olls – because this isn’t the kind of book I’d grab off the shelf. I know it’s not necessarily a popular term, but ‘chick lit’ isn’t generally for me. (Fair play to all such writers out there –  I would never have the talent to write it.)

As expected, Jane Fallon’s work has too much drama and deceit to be fluffy or girly. It’s chick lit written by an evil feline genius.

The heroine, Paula, works in a bakery (hence that mouthwatering jacket cover) and her idea of getting back at her (apparently) cheating husband isn’t just to fling a cream pie in his lying face.

(See? That would be the plot of my own romantic revenge novel.)

Paula and her husband Robert met at drama school; his acting career took off, hers didn’t. Robert’s not exactly Benedict Cumberbatch famous, more like second-billed lead on a soap (or ‘long-running drama’) famous, and beloved by the nation’s grannies. The couple’s teenage daughter Georgia is the only celeb sprog on the planet to not be an aspiring actress/photographer/model, and has her heart set on medical school instead.

Their life is shattered when Paula makes a discovery leading her to believe that Robert is having an affair with a gorgeous co-star named Saskia, who is married to a producer on their show Farmer Giles (!). Paula doesn’t confront her husband, deciding instead to execute a scheme for retribution that will make him fall back in love with her, while scuppering any chance he has of happiness with Saskia.

It’s playful, addictive, and about as likely as a sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, calorie-free pastry ever tasting good. Paula is a great main character – likeable and with enough gusto to keep the reader engaged. I honestly could not see the twists coming. The book has been an absolute joy and a great vacation read.

Verdict: I haven’t enjoyed a story set in an bakery so much since Pushing Daisies.