What Women Want by Fanny Blake

In a nutshell… three older women dealing with a range of problems – will their friendship hold them together?

Strengths: Well written characters with backbone.

Weaknesses: The three stories don’t come together until the very end.

Why I read it: Given to me for review by PR (thank you).

Pages: 432

Published: 2011

Publisher: Blue Door

Setting: London, England

Rating: 8 out of 10

If you liked this, try: Someone Like You by Cathy Kelly


I was asked to review this book by a PR company in England, who kindly sent the book to me all the way to Australia. On the back, this looked like the type of book I read for my chick lit fix – three women, all friends who each have different problems but get through it. The cover also had a quote from one of my favourite writers, Penny Vincenzi (as an aside, her new book is released in Australia in September). However, the women in this book were older than your usual chick lit (perhaps I should call it mummy lit?) – late 40s or early 50s. Never mind, it was still interesting even though I’m nowhere near that stage of my life!

Although this book subscribed to the usual setting of three friends, very different in nature but who have a strong bond, there were differences that made the book stronger for me. Each of the women has a strong career, something I usually find lacking in chick lit. (Kate is a GP, Bea works in publishing and Ellen runs an art gallery). Even though they are of similar ages, each is facing a different problem: Bea, newly divorced, is looking for love while controlling a teenage son; Kate is worried that her husband is becoming increasingly distant; and Ellen has found love in the shape of Oliver – but how will her children react? Each of these stories is told with gentleness and humour. The strength of the trio’s friendship is exemplified by Bea’s determination to find out exactly what Oliver is hiding in order to protect Ellen. Although Bea’s detective work is intense and well-researched (she is a publisher after all), the climax where Ellen finds out about Oliver is not that powerful. The epilogue is probably more powerful as it again demonstrates the strength of their friendship and doesn’t tie up everything neatly, making this book more true to life.

This was a light read, easy to pick up and put down (I tested this to the nth degree, as I was on call 24/7 while reading this book). The characters are engaging and strong (I’d love to see Bea in her own book) and defies many of the chick lit stereotypes. There’s no Manolos and cocktails, these women really could be the friends of a real person. Enjoyable.

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