The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey

Hodder were kind enough to send me a copy of Anne-Marie Casey’s new book. How fabulous is the cover? It looks very vintage, and beach read appropriate.

From the blurb:

Everyone who meets her thinks they know Liddy James.

A single mother of two, she is one of New York City’s top lawyers and seems to juggle her complicated life with ease. Her work is all-consuming, her divorce was devastating and she’s forgotten what more than five hours sleep a night feels like, but still, here she is – on top of the high wire. 

After a catastrophic incident on prime time TV, Liddy realises the act is over.  She decides to take some time off with the boys and retrace her family’s history in Ireland. Yet being marooned in the Celtic countryside is no instant fix, and it is not until Liddy has encountered a stormy neighbour, an unorthodox wedding and a very surprising guest, that she remembers how to be The Real Liddy James.  

Liddy James is a woman who appears to have it all figured out – she successfully co-parents with her ex-husband Peter and his partner Rose, she has a high profile career as a divorce attorney in New York, and she is planning her next best-selling book. At least, that’s her life on paper. 

In reality, Liddy is consumed with stress and anxiety, her eldest son resents her, and she has given up on having a meaningful relationship. 

Liddy has sacrificed her family life for her career goals, in a way reminiscent of the film Click; she starts to realise that her family life is more important, and tries to bond with her family in a more meaningful way…but is it too late? 

The other voice in the book comes from Rose, Peter’s girlfriend. Rose has sacrificed her career and ambitions to be the primary caregiver to Peter, Matty, and even Liddy’s youngest son Cal. Rose has always wanted to have children, but after 3 miscarriages accepted that it wasn’t in the cards for her. Now 46, she is shocked to discover that she is pregnant, and must put her needs first for a change.

This is a very witty commentary on life, families, careers and feminism. As I have got older, I have stopped believing that women can “have it all”. Sacrifices have to be made somewhere, there just isn’t enough time in the day to do or be everything.  The two main characters have made sacrifices at opposite ends of the scale; Liddy prioritised her career, whilst Rose priorities her partner and his son.  

Never before have I related to two completely different characters in the same book. Liddy’s tension, perfectionism and anxiety really resonated with me, but I also really felt for Rose, and how she always puts the needs of everyone else ahead of herself. 

I really enjoyed this book, it was very funny, and quite touching. I do think the blurb gives too much away though – it covers pretty much 2/3’s of the plot, which unfairly made the novel seem to drag a bit.

Let know if you will be picking up this book, or any beach read recommendations in the comments below.

Cheerio!

Stephani Xx

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