03/08/2004

More to Life than this (by Carole Matthews)

This is not at all the kind of book I would normally read. The cover shouts 'chick-lit'! - and while I thoroughly enjoy more general women's fiction, I'm not all that keen on books about shopping and sex, which is my (admittedly biased, and based solely on a few reviews) idea of what chick-lit is likely to be.

I'd vaguely heard of Carole Matthews, but wouldn't have bought one of her books. However I was given this one, so decided to expand my horizons a little by reading it.

'More to life than this' is about Kate, who has a wonderful family, but feels a bit restless. So she decides to go on a week's tai-chi course, with her friend Sonia. So far so good, although I had no sympathy at all for Kate, whose husband and children would be the envy of most women.

Kate leaves her husband and children in the hands of a rather stunning Australian au pair while she is away - a remarkably stupid move, which I could hardly believe any normal woman would do.

Then the book does turn into chick-lit, unfortunately. No shopping, but lots of physical attraction, both predictably between Kate's husband and the au pair, and also between Kate herself and one of the course instructors.

There are some serious questions asked about loyalty and integrity, and the differences between love and lust... but the main part of the book is really rather unbelievable - neat and tidy, very contrived. A pity, because the main characters were likeable (if a bit caricatured) and the book was well-written, on the whole. It was quite interesting learning something about tai chi, too.

But, all in all, I found it disappointing.

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