Read and rejoice!

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for The Invisible Women’s Club by Helen Paris. This five star read celebrates the power of connection and demonstrates the strength women can muster to achieve the impossible.

The book’s main character, Janet Pimm, is used to being invisible. 70 something, with her beloved allotment for company, she simply doesn’t need anyone else.

But when the local council threaten to close the allotments, Janet will do anything she can to try to save them – even enlisting the help of her irritatingly upbeat and interfering neighbour, Bev.

As the two women set off on a journey together, Janet begins to realise that perhaps she isn’t so happy to blend into the background after all. And that maybe there’s more to Bev than she first thought. As the bulldozers roll in and they fight to save the place Janet loves most, both women find their voice again and no-one can silence them now…

I was drawn to the allotment plot (!) and enjoyed the descriptions of the plot holders, particularly FbK (Felicity bloody Kendall) “closely resembling a blousy mophead hydrangea in some flounce of a dress, an artisan willow-woven trug of perfectly arranged shop-bought flowers swinging from her forearm.”

Janet cuts a lonely figure, not really bonding with anyone and we see her pushing away some olive branches of friendship. Then Bev offers her a lift and we start to see a different Janet. Both women are fed up of being over-looked, invisible. By connecting and opening up to each other they blossom. It’s a lesson for us all, that us ladies are definitely better together. The likes of Davina McCall and Dr Louise Newson have done us a great service, encouraging us to talk about the menopause (or peri-menopause) and to speak up if things are not right. The way we openly talk to our friends and colleagues about menopause is changing for the better, so it’s great to see this reflected in contemporary fiction. And Helen Paris weaves it into her storyline in an empowering way.

It’s a heart-warming novel, particularly perfect for days where you have time to get lost in a whole book or for bedtime, when you need an upbeat read. I can see this being a big success. It’s perfect for today’s uncertain times.

Hannah is the author of The Cactus Surgeon, a nature & health memoir. Living in London, Hannah suffered burnout and was diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder. With no information available to help her, she found her own way to get better.

Growing up in a garden centre, her childhood was full of nature and plants. This was in stark contrast to the concrete of the capital, where she became unwell. In searching for the answers to her illness, she wonders whether being torn from her pot and replanted in a more hostile environment was the reason her body started to malfunction.

After seeking out alternative therapies, and moving to the countryside of North Essex, her ‘green recovery’ continued. It’s a book of mindful moments, savouring the small wonders of nature.

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