Published by Avon on February 25th 2016
Find on Goodreads
Forget about having it all. Sometimes you just want to leave it all behind.
Audrey is often seized by the urge to walk out of her house without looking back – but she can’t possibly do that. She is a single parent. She is needed. She has a job, a home, responsibilities…and a slothful teenage son’s pants to pick up. But no one likes being taken for granted – Audrey least of all – so the time has come for drastic action. And no one’s going to stand in her way…
I really like Fiona Gibson’s novels. I’ve read quite a few of them and they’ve always made me chuckle, so I really look forward to her new releases every year. The Woman Who Upped and Left is her latest, and it’s very enjoyable, and a little bit maddening.
Let’s start with the maddening. Morgan Pepper. I understand what Fiona was trying to do with Audrey and Morgan’s relationship, but it genuinely drove me to distraction because if I was his mother, I would have kicked him out of the house long ago. You can take laziness too far, and I felt Morgan took laziness way too far, he wasn’t even capable of WASHING A T-SHIRT. It made my blood boil, and I wanted to snap some sense into him, because no eighteen year old can really be that dim. It’s physically impossible?!?
And Audrey didn’t really help, because she was always simpering to his whims, when really Morgan needed a rocket up his backside. He needed to be left alone to fend for himself, and I just wanted Audrey to just stop her mollycoddling, because it seems that’s what turned him into the lazy vegetable he was. It genuinely made me mad and I felt sad for Audrey because on the one hand I understood – as a single parent, you want to do everything to make your kid happy, but Morgan really needed just something, he was a waste of space for the vast majority of the novel, and when the change came, I thought it was a little bit too late for me.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way – and I feel sooooooo much better, and hey! Maybe some people will like Morgan; I didn’t dislike him, in fact, he just irritated me. Apart from the Morgan scenes, which made me grit my teeth, the rest of the book was really, really enjoyable. I love the idea of just upping sticks and escaping for a while, even if I’m really happy – there’s just something about the idea of running away for a bit, and when Audrey gets the chance to do that, she goes. On a French cookery course, to a gorgeous sounding hotel, all expenses paid (except for the mini bar Audrey!). It sounded delightful, and while I’m not the best cook in the world (I barely pass at cooking, and can certainly not keep multiple things hot at once) I did enjoy the cookery scenes. I enjoyed seeing Audrey outside of her comfort zone and pushing herself to do more with her life.
I actually also really enjoyed Audrey’s home life, especially the bits with Paul and Mrs B, as Audrey looks after Mrs B along with her other job as a dinner lady, and Mrs B was lovely. A bit too honest sometimes, a bit brisk, but lovely. I always like the old people in books, they’re a gas. And Paul, Mrs B’s gardener, was so sweet, bless him.
I may have had some issues with The Woman Who Upped and Left, just one issue really *cough* Morgan *cough* but this it genuinely was a lovely read. I enjoyed getting to know Audrey, and perhaps I was a bit too harsh in regards to Morgan, because maybe all mothers are like that? I don’t know as I’m not a mother, which is likely part of the issue. But otherwise it was another great read from Fiona. You really can rely on her for a good novel.