Stella Makes Good is a sometimes funny, sometimes gripping and ultimately moving exploration of relationships and friendship.
‘So,’ Carly was saying as I sat down, ‘what’s everyone’s mantra for the year?’
She’d asked the same question for the past three years and I couldn’t for the life of me remember what I’d said twelve months ago. I poured the wine instead of answering.
Jesse groaned. ‘I’m not playing this game.’
‘Why not?’ Carly snapped. ‘What else are you doing?’
In spite of being newly separated, Stella is happy. She and Terry, her ex-husband, have stayed on good terms, and there’s the possibility of a new relationship with a handsome man she’s met. But at her annual New Year’s catch up with her friends Carly and Jesse, Stella wonders if the pair are as happy as she is. Carly thinks her husband might be having an unfair, and doesn’t know how to fix it. Jese’s husband, Steve, is a control freak who never has a kind word for his beautiful wife. Then her night out with the girls takes a curious twist. Jesse heads home, but Stella and Carly had off for more fun – little expecting to run into someone they shouldn’t in a very compromising situation. Will what they learn destroy their friendships?
Stella Makes Good is a sometimes funny, sometimes gripping and ultimately moving exploration of relationships and friendship. Told chiefly from the first person perspective of Stella, along with chapters devoted to the third person perspectives of both Carly and Jesse, so that the reader is privy to the motivations and insecurities of each of the characters, in an intimate and absorbing way.
This is Heidke’s fourth novel and once again, she cleverly blends romance, friendship and personal growth into a satisfying whole.
Stella Makes Good, by Lisa Heidke
Allen & Unwin, 2012
This book is available in good bookstores, or online from Fispond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
So that was it. Marcus, the Porsche-driving gazillionaire and I were kaput. And to soften the blow he was offering me a holiday to Greece, all expenses paid. I deliberated over the ethics of the situation for all of five seconds before accepting Marcus’s deal. He knew I was totally cash-strapped. I couldn’t afford a holiday in Sans Souci, let alone Santorini.
As one door closes, another opens, right? That’s what Claudia Taylor is hoping anyway. Her affair with her boss is over, which means she should also be looking for a new job. But first she has the chance for two weeks in Greece, where she hopes she can make some decisions about her future. Her two best friends are coming along for the ride – each also hoping the break will help them with their own life decisions. Sophie is struggling with the change from high-flying career girl to stay-at-home mother of one tearaway toddler, and Tara wants to figure out a way to follow her writing dream.
Santorini is an idyllic holiday destination, and the break should be therapeutic . Should be. But someone seems to be following Claudia, Sophia’s toddler is causing mayhem and her marriage is on the rocks, and Tara can’t write a word.
Claudia’s Big Break is a funny, heart-warming story with soul-searching, mystery and romance all mixed in, for a satisfying combination. A wonderful read.
Claudia’s Big Break, by Lisa Heidke
Allen & Unwin, 2011
This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
I never thought I’d be the sort of person to have a midlife crisis. I’m not even sure I ever believed in such a thing! And I never thought I’d be the sort of person to give up on the dream of what I wanted.
Kate is about to turn 36 and suddenly she’s not so sure she’s where she wants to be. She has the husband and two children she’d always dreamed of, but her daughter is hitting teenager hood with a bang, and her son is having scary dreams. Then there’s her husband Matt, who is hardly ever home, and seems to have lost interest in intimacy, and her photography career – once very promising, now just a pile of old portfolios. So, when her friend Fern offers her three weeks work as a photography assistant for a classy magazine, Kate jumps at the chance to do something for herself and get her life back on track. Problem is, it might make her life spiral further out of control.
What Kate Did Next is a roller coaster ride through three crazy weeks in Kate’s life as she tries to juggle her own needs with the chaos of her two children, her troubled marriage, her pregnant sister and her parents, who are reconciling after being long divorced. Kate is a likeable, funny narrator who has a lot to deal with, and doesn’t always do the right thing – which makes her all the more believable.
This is an endearing new chick-lit offering.
What Kate Did Next, by Lisa Heidke
Allen & Unwin, 2010
Last night my husband, Max, looked at me over his half-eaten Pad Thai and in calm, measured tones, said, ‘I’ve had enough.’
I was preoccupied thinking about our two children, who’d left on a school camp that afternoon, so didn’t pay much attention as he pushed his plate away, stood up and disappeared out the kitchen door.
Lucy Springer’s life is in chaos. Her husband has left her, her house is in pieces, the result of a never-ending renovation, and her acting career has descended into an abyss of auditions for dog poo commercials. After a few days in a Grange Hermitage-induced fugue, Lucy decides she needs to get on with her life. First she needs to get the builders under control. Three months behind schedule is more than enough. Then she needs to sort out her image so she’ll land those new roles. Lastly, a trip to Bail to sort out her husband and his nineteen year old girlfriend is on the agenda. But will any of these things work, or will Lucy’s life continue to spiral out of control?
Lucy Springer Gets Even is a funny, fast paced read about life, love, and settling the score. Lucy is a self-deprecating first person narrator who recognises her imperfections (well, some of them, anyway) and finds strength in the curveballs life seems intent on throwing at her. Her husband’s departure with the babysitter is the wakeup call that she needs to take charge of her own life, and she sets about doing that – with mixed results, initially.
At times sad, at others wise, this is mostly a humorous feel good book about one woman’s triumph over adversity.
Lucy Springer Gets Even, by Lisa Heidke
Allen & Unwin, 2009