Perfect Alibis: Jane-Wenham Jones

I picked up this book after reading the book ‘One Glass is never Enough,’ also by Wenham Jones. I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into as I didn’t read the blurb only downloaded it so it was bought on a hunch! I was completely shocked by the twist and was really surprised. However it was a hilarious read based on a plot I hadn’t ever thought of before which was a nice surprise. Often plots are re-hashed and re-done, however this was something I hasn’t thought of before! So here it is, the review!

Infidelity for women – a survival guide. Stephanie – bored housewife and disillusioned mother – wants a job, and Madeleine’s recruitment company appears to be the ideal place to go. Except that PAs isn’t quite what it seems. Far from providing companies with Personal Assistants, the agency offers Perfect Alibis to unfaithful women. And as Stephanie soon discovers, there are lots of them about! Founder member Patsy is a serial philanderer and there’s a dark side to her best friend Millie. For the well-heeled ladies of Edenhurst, PAs is a ticket to risk-free adultery. When slacker Troy, Stephanie’s first love, returns unexpectedly to town, even she is tempted. But her life is soon in turmoil, and that’s before the tabloids get involved.

Right so down to the nitty gritty. I really loved the plot of this book; it’s nothing I’ve thought about before let alone read before. An agency that helps women cheat on their partners basically. It’s pretty hilarious the situations these ladies get themselves into; from being heard on the phone, to cheeky photos on the kitchen table. Although not always completely authentic the stories were brilliant. Equally brilliant was the way in which Madeleine and her team get the women out of the tricky situations they find themselves in. These include ordering train tickets, providing new knickers, and picking up the adulterers from the most interesting places. Not the most moral of plot lines I know but probably one of the funniest I’ve read in a while! Stephanie’s story was emotional and thought provoking, Her relationship with George has lost its spark and she is struggling to find the passion they once had; no wonder due to his obsession with the slobbering family dog. Stephanie is stuck in a rut and when her charming ex-boyfriend comes back into the picture Stephanie just can’t seem to help herself. The romance that follows is heady and lust filled and helps to power the plotline along. It also allows for a contrast between the life that Stephanie wishes she had lived, and the life that she lives currently. The flashbacks were well written and Jones managed the different in Stephanie’s character well! I really felt I understood how her life had changed. However there are more contrasts seen between Stephanie and Patsy. Patsy is a flamboyant and sexual character that wants passion in her life. Her life is blissfully full of difficult situations and close calls that Madeleine prides her business on sorting out. However, Patsy finds herself in bed with a rather sordid character who could show the world what she’s really like! The only problem was I didn’t feel like Patsy’s character was explained to it’s best ability. Although, yes she was cheeky and lusty, she was explored enough which was a shame. I don’t know whether Jones ran out of pages or ideas for Patsy but I wish she had been developed more as I felt there was more too her than Jones let on. The story continues with the women each trying to live the life they want without rippling the waters of their normal family life.

A couple of negatives although I did enjoy the book, firstly I thought some of the characters lacked conviction. They had great potential with the stories and the plot lines however I thought that they lacked grit. Stephanie especially seemed a little flaky. I also really wanted George to show some emotion and yet even when he finds that Stephanie has been less than faithful I thought he would show some anger however it was lacking in strength. I know he was made out to be understanding and the strong silent type but I thought he could have showed a little more punch and attitude to make Stephanie see even more what a bad mistake she had made. Additionally, I thought that the ongoing stories that ran through alongside the main plot were lacking in detail and I would have rather they had focused on a few rather than attempting to follow four or five. It meant that the plot lost power and also that at times the plots became confused. This was a problem as the book had a brilliant premise and although slightly immoral it could have given a really punchy display. Unfortunately the delivery wasn’t as good as it could have been and it lost the power that I thought it could have displayed. However, these are picky points and overall it has a lot of hilarious moments for you to get your teeth into!

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One Glass is Never Enough: Jane Wenham-Jones

‘Welcome, to Greens.’ Described as ‘a bottomless money-pit run by three mad women who don’t know what they’re doing.’ Green’s is the perfect wine bar for a cool crisp Chardonnay or a bubble filled Pinot Grigio. Run by three diversely different females including Claire, driven and predictable, Sarah, gentle and homely and the unpredictable, highly emotional and difficult Gaynor. Six weeks of hard work to build up the run down bar and the three are ready for opening night. With it’s freshly stripped boards and newly painted in Mediterranean colours that glow and contrast with the burnished terracotta pots that line the sides of the bar, it is a stunningly beautiful bar. Over the chink of glasses you can vaguely hear the sweet lulling voice of Norah Jones.  Except, it’s not going quite perfectly, each have their own personal problems and the opening of the wine bar are not going to stop them.

Three women and three very different reasons for the opening the bar; Sarah needs something sustainable to support and give a home to her children. Claire is extremely ambitious and a businesswoman at heart and Gaynor on the surface has everything she could ever want or need. The perfect home and the successful husband that loves treating her. However there are problems; why is Victor (her husband) always going away, why is he cold at times, and why does he stay away so long? When the bar starts getting threatening phone calls Gaynor’s world starts to fall apart! However, Sam (the knight in shining armour) makes an appearance; the strong and silent type he starts to worm his way into Gaynor’s life, helping her, and being a shoulder to cry on in the lonely nights. Although their friendship appears unlikely they form a startling bond; something that will change Gaynor’s life forever.

This book is full of charming touches. Delightfully, the chapter are named after different types of wines with a little description, which is beautifully fitting for the main stance and basis for the book. (I love the little touches) The writing style is strong with a good sense of pace and the book emits a lot of feeling that makes you want to visit the bar immediately. I found the characters warm and engaging and I thought the use of their differences worked well to create contrasts for the audience. The romantic links that are created between Gaynor and her beau are thoughtful and well explored; however I found the links with her brother brought into create an impact however the emotions weren’t properly explored leaving them ill-fitting to the rest of the story. Additionally, later in the book one of the stories takes an unexpected turn which is difficult to believe however this is only a minor issue. If you fancy a story that won’t test you but will leave a fuzzy feeling on the inside, pick this up and give it a read; I implore you!

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