I’m taking my turn on the blog tour today for Wife Support System by Kathleen Whyman. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
We’ve got the balance all wrong. Instead of living with our partners, struggling to do everything by ourselves and only seeing each other now and then, we should do it the other way round. We should live together and see them now and then.
Erica knows her suggestion sounds extreme, but when her nanny leaves without notice, she’s extremely desperate. Polly and Louise aren’t convinced, but when circumstances force them to move into Polly’s enormous but run-down house, they have to admit life’s much easier when the childcare and work is shared.
At first, communal living seems like the answer to their prayers – childcare on tap, rotas for cleaning and someone always available to cook dinner (no more last-minute pizza delivery!). But over time, resentment starts to grow as they judge each other’s parenting styles and bicker over cleaning, cooking and whose turn it is to buy toilet rolls.
And as one woman has her head turned by a handsome colleague, one resorts to spying on her husband and another fights to keep a dark secret, they need each other more than ever. But can Polly, Louise and Erica keep their friendship and relationships strong? Or will their perfect mumtopia fall apart?
This book was so much fun! And, as a single mum of two teenage daughters, I can completely relate to many of the dilemmas faced by the three women in this novel. If you are a woman with children, with or without a husband, there are scenarios in this book that will ring scarily true to you too, without a doubt.
When I read the blurb for this book, I wondered why no one had come up with this plot for a book before, it is absolute genius. The scenario that Kathleen sets up makes so much practical sense. Many of us will know that some men are hopeless at providing help and support with childcare and household chores. I think lockdown has shown this into even sharper relief, as I read an article recently that showed the burden of extra childcare in quarantine had fallen mostly on women. I know, shocking, right? Women everywhere have taken on the burden of looking after children, homeschooling and all the extra housework while schools have been closed, as well as trying largely to work from home. I doubt there are few women who will deny that this has been a hard period for a lot of us mums, so the idea of a female commune where everyone chips in with help as needed is more appealing than ever.
Of course, there are reasons why people don’t do this, despite its appeal, and why the experiment doesn’t run smoothly. Some people don’t pull their weight, there are personality clashes, jealousy, misunderstandings, tensions, hormones. The author milks all of these matters for dramatic effect, with lot of comedy thrown in. The book explores issues of misogyny, romantic neglect, relationships, friendships, grief and loss, mental health issues, female life/work balance and a lot of other things to make this a book with some bite, as well as being charming and entertaining.
I thought the book was innovative and original, moving, appealing and easy to read. The author has a very winning voice that I enjoyed reading, and the book was pacy and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would definitely recommend it as a lively read for anyone who likes this type of comedic, mum-focused fiction with quite a lot to say.
Wife Support System is out now and you can buy a copy here.
Please make sure you follow the rest of the tour for more reviews and other content:
About the Author
Kathleen Whyman is an author and freelance journalist.
Her debut novel, Wife Support System, was inspired by her own feeble attempt to juggle a career with childcare, never-ending house ‘stuff’ and, outrageously, occasionally some time for herself. She is still struggling.
Kathleen’s novel Second Wife Syndrome has been shortlisted for the Comedy Women in Print prize 2020.
Both novels are contemporary, humorous, women’s fiction.
Kathleen writes a column for Writers’ Forum magazine and contributes to the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s magazine Romance Matters. She also wrote short stories for Jackie magazine in her teens. These were, thankfully, never printed.
Kathleen lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two daughters.
Connect with Kathleen: