Thursday 14 October 2021

BLOG TOUR: The Woman in the Middle - Milly Johnson

Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation – caring for her parents and her children, supporting her husband Bruce, holding them all together and caring for them as best she can.
Then the arrival of a large orange skip on her mother’s estate sets in motion a cataclysmic series of events which leads to the collapse of Shay’s world. She is forced to put herself first for a change.
But in order to move forward with her present, Shay needs to make sense of her past. And so she returns to the little village she grew up in, to uncover the truth about what happened to her when she was younger. And in doing so, she discovers that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the only way is up.

What did I think?

I experienced a wealth of emotions when reading The Woman in the Middle; I laughed, cried, fumed and loved every single page.  Milly Johnson writes with so much vivacity that my kindle was virtually thrumming with life and I was enjoying it so much that I really didn't want the story to end.

I'd never really thought about it before but Milly is so right about a lot of women being part of the sandwich generation: stuck in the middle caring for ageing parents and growing children.  Shay Bastable spreads herself as thinly as a dieter buttering bread as she cares for her elderly mother, does everything she can to support her husband and makes sure that she is always on hand for her grown-up children.  So who cares for Shay?  Nobody!

As events see Shay's world evolving and changing, she decides to face up to her past and returns to the village of her childhood.  I adored this part of the story, especially Shay catching up with old friends and enemies.  It made me think about how much we hold on to things that happened to us at school.  Many people have encountered school bullying and it's something that is so difficult to forgive and forget, but perhaps knowing the reasons behind the bullying could make us see things in a different light.  It's food for thought anyway.

Milly Johnson really knows how people tick and she creates such relatable and believable characters that I found myself caring about each one of them (apart from Bruce, of course).  The Woman in the Middle is a heartfelt and engaging novel that evoked so many emotions in me.  It's a truly wonderful book and another stunning novel from Milly Johnson.  Highly recommended.

I received an ARC to read and review for the blog tour; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnson is out now, published by Simon & Schuster in hardback, eBook and audiobook. Milly will be joining My Weekly for a virtual event on Thursday 21st October at 7pm – register for free here.

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