Skip to main content

2012 Reading Challenge - Palaces and Calluses - Rebecca Woodhead

Click on image to view at Amazon
Palaces and Calluses (Rebecca Woodhead's debut novel) is a beautifully written tale of self-discovery.

Although it falls into the 'chick-lit' genre and will please those who love that type of book (me!), this isn't just your standard 'girl meets boy, loses boy, gets boy back and lives happily ever after' kind of story. There's a lot more to it.

The story opens with Mary throwing a glamorous, surprise party for her husband Scott, to celebrate their 11th wedding anniversary. Mary, a London socialite, has everything and wants for nothing - or so she thinks. She has a stunning house in Chelsea, the perfect, handsome, mega-rich husband, great 'friends' and money to burn but suddenly, within the space of a few minutes, everything is taken from her.

Mary goes to live with her parents in the Cotswolds and from then on she is on a voyage of self-discovery.  She met Scott when she was 15 and married him when she was 16 so she has no knowledge that there is another way of life outside her glamorous and superficial existence. She's used to having everything done for her. Her life, up until now, has consisted of shopping trips, glamorous events, parties and working hard at being a 'trophy' wife. Suddenly she has to learn to stand on her own two feet and start all over again.

On the way to discovering herself she meets up with a series of quirky, loyal, loveable and not-so-loveable characters. Melissa (her mum), an American who is incredibly laid back and only wants what's best for her daughter; Jackie, a new friend who's down to earth, isn't afraid to tell it like it is and is everything that Mary isn't; Clive, the camp maitre d' whom she meets in the strangest of circumstances and who finds her her first real job; Jeremy, the love interest (not giving anything away);  the evil Edna Hall who ends up blackmailing Mary and threatening the life of Mary's wonderful dog Rock, the collie who is indeed Mary's rock and plays a huge part in her life.

This novel is well written and it's hard to believe that this is actually a debut novel. It's funny, sad, moving and uplifting. There is deceit, romance and intrigue a-plenty. I couldn't put it down once I started it. The author's descriptive writing style really draws you in and I began to feel that I knew each character personally. It's part of the 'Cotswold Chronicles' and at the end of the book there is an unexpected twist (which I really didn't see coming) and the way has now been left open for the next book. 

I can't wait until Part 2 comes out and I will be first in the queue to buy it. If it's half as good as this book it will be a roaring success. 

My recommendation - read this book! You will feel better for it.

Stars out of 5 for this one - 5!!

Until the next time,

Denise x


Popular posts from this blog

Stop! It's Going Too Fast and I Want to Get Off!

Carousel Okay - I don't actually mean that I want things to stop so that I can get off because I'm having too much fun but, over the last few months, my life has become a daily whirlwind of new businesses, taking on new projects, building websites and building a brand and it's not showing any sign of slowing down. I have loved every minute of it so far but it has meant that so many other things in my life have had to be put on the back burner whilst all this has been going on, including Cupcakes and Cadenzas. It will all have been worth it in the long run but I just want to say thanks to everyone who has stuck around and not abandoned this blog and to say that I haven't forgotten about it or you. Why I love Cupcakes and Cadenzas so much and refuse to give up on it it is that it was the very first blog that I set up and is therefore my 'baby' as far as blogs go. I have several other blogs set up for various business ventures but Cupcakes and Cadenzas is

10 Things About Me You Would Never Know Unless I Told You

10! I often read blog posts which list a number of facts about the blogger and, I have to confess, I love reading them. I'm often surprised at things people do or have done, places they have lived etc. It's funny how you build up a picture of someone you don't actually know and then they give you a few facts about themselves and that picture can be completely changed. So here are my 10 facts. I was going to title the post '10 Facts About Me You Would Never Know Unless I Told You and Probably Wished You Didn't Know Once You Read Them' but that was just a bit too long. Anyway... I studied Wing Chun Kung Fu for several years My ultimate comfort food is a white roll with tuna mayo and Branston pickle. Don't ask I have a tattoo and for anyone who is wondering - yes - it was painful and no - I don't regret getting it. I like love adore Pingu When I was at school I fenced for Scotland (the sport of fencing as opposed to handling stolen goods of

10 Things I Love About Autumn

Well, summer is over and it's now autumn. The seasons are very easy to work out as far as I'm concerned. March, April, May -  Spring June, July, August   Summer Sept, Oct, November Autumn Dec, Jan, February - Winter I love autumn. It's my favourite season of the year and here are 10 reasons why I love it so much. The beautiful autumnal colours of the leaves on the trees. I love the varying shades of greens, yellows, browns, oranges, bronzes, reds and pinks Thick homemade soups and fresh crusty bread. In particular Scotch Broth - there's nothing to beat it Frosty mornings Lighting the fire and the smell of the logs drying out in the log basket beside it Jumpers, knitted dresses and woolly tights Huge mugs of proper hot chocolate made with fresh vanilla, chilli flakes, whipped cream, marshmallows and a dash of brandy. (recipe to follow) Walking through carpets of fallen leaves in the woods with the dogs Curling up on the sofa on a grey afternoon to