Time Warner Books, £5.99
Capturing all the dramas of family life, Tina Reilly's 'Wedded Blitz' is an enjoyably light, if predictable, read.
Focusing in on a family torn apart by a mysterious tragedy, Reilly delves into the worlds of several different characters, presenting their unified story as many reflections of the same problem. Jim has decided to leave his wife Jane. Their relationship has become strained and everyone is suffering, especially their two teenage children. For Jane this latest turmoil in her life delivers her to rock-bottom. Her hairdressing business has begun to suffer after the Cutting Edge empire decide to set up shop a stones throw away from her meagre establishment and her extravagant mother seems to be on a mission to ruin her life.
Add to her problems a teenage daughter intent on bringing home the most disagreeable boyfriend and a withdrawn son who bunks school and goes on regular drinking binges and you've got a very fraught mother who can't seem to get a break in life. Then there's Jim. While Jane is struggling to keep the sunny side out for the kids' sake and keep everything ticking over, her estranged husband is dating a younger woman, who just oozes glamour. Life just doesn't seem fair to Jane.
While 'Wedded Blitz' is a nice fluffy read about very normal people, Reilly's tendency to accentuate stereotypes lets the book down a little and somewhat takes away from the credibility of her well-developed characters. Her tendency also for tying up all the problems presented with happy endings stretches the reality of an otherwise plausible story, making the book feel like a morality lesson in what really matters in life. That said, it's often no harm for most of us to have a reminder of these things and Reilly's style of writing makes for easy absorption of the material in hand.
The sort of book that you can easily pick up and put down at your leisure, without wishing you could run a recap video each time, 'Wedded Blitz' brings us a tale of love, hurt and learning, that often touches and provides more than a few comic moments along the way.