Harper Collins, €8.99
Imagine Bridget Jones, 30 years on, if things hadn't worked out with Darcy. She would be everything that Riley Gordon, protagonist of Carol Clewlow's latest novel - 'Not Married, Not Bothered: An ABC for Spinsters' - is not. Riley is happy with her life, happy with being single, independent, free and childless. Admittedly, she will not go as far as her friend Magda, who has planned to wed herself as the ultimate statement of her situation, but she is content and wonders why her family, her friends and the rest of the world can't respect that.
In 'Not Married, Not Bothered', Riley explores what it means to be a spinster and unusual as it is in chick-lit, we are presented with a character who is funny, strong-minded, in her 50s and neither career-driven nor obsessed with finding The One. Riley's thoughts and observations are witty and enlightening and her musings on her life and relationships, family and friends, past and future are combined with some truly fascinating and humorous facts, figures and historical perspectives on spinsters and spinsterhood.
Clewlow has created an original and inspiring heroine in Riley and her novel takes a refreshing alternative look at marriage, aging and lifestyle choices for women. Written in a conversational style, with plenty of footnotes that will have you laughing out loud, there is also a sense of poignancy about this story. Through Riley, Clewlow identifies that there are women who don't want to married and have no inclination to bear children through choice and not circumstance. By the end of the novel, regardless of how the reader felt previously, it's hard not to appreciate the joys of spinsterhood. Bridget, sit up and take note!