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Reviews

Julie Highmore in the press

'Her breakthrough book... With dual voices and fluctuating time, it tells a sensitive tale of picking up life again and of possible second chances, all in a lovely style' - Bookseller

‘Classic, warm-hearted comedy’ - Bookseller

‘This quick and enjoyable read is written in a refreshingly subtle understated style. It’s perfect if you are looking for something light for a few hours of indulgent escapism’ - Daily Record

'Quirky fun' - OK!

‘Where Highmore excels is in the unsentimental way she writes about the dilemmas life throws at us. There’s also a mordant, black humour to her writing, which keeps the froth at bay’ - Glamour

'Her humour and unsentimental manner make for the perfect beach read' - Times of India

'Highmore excels in taking a witty and somewhat wry look at relationships, and in Sleeping Around" families in all their forms take centre stage, with added spice coming from their histrionics, fanciable house sitters, and flights to France' - Publishing News

'A funny and clever novel. A quirky examination of desire, selfishness and the surprising nature of love and relationships. Very seductive!' - Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

'A hilarious and honest look at everyday life' - Sun

'A witty, wry observant tale of mixed relations' - Bookseller

'A tangled, complicated tale of love and life' - Closer

‘Compulsive reading’ - Daily Express

‘It’s lovely. It’s delightful. It’s funny and observant and truthful... I really, really liked it’ - Philip Pullman

‘She writes wonderfully well. Her style is restrained and supremely confident , pruned of unnecessary detail and sparkling with mordant wit.... Pacy and witty, Highmore’s take on the country comedy is as fresh, crisp and delicious as a new organic carrot. An extremely promising debut’ - Express

‘I have read COUNTRY LOVING and enjoyed it. I like her totally unsentimental angle on country living, and the eccentric and quirky characters... It will do well’ - Rosamunde Pilcher

‘Julie Highmore’s warm-hearted novel COUNTRY LOVING, about moving to the country, revels in the hazards of the rural life as well as its seductive attractions’ - Publishing News

‘Funny, original and dazzlingly assured. I adored everything about this excellent book’ - Jill Mansell

‘So enjoyable... It’s a lovely read’ - Catherine Alliott

The message Cover
The Message - by The Bookbag

The Message is very much a twenty first century tale as it all hinges on a voicemail message made from a mobile phone. It is also based on the fact that it is very easy to send a message to one person when it is actually meant for someone else. This is what happens to Jen when she receives a message from her husband Robert. There is nothing particularly special about this message; that is until Jen realises that she is not the intended recipient and then it has a shattering effect on her marriage.

The message is received on the very first page of the book. From then on, there are two parallel stories for the reader to follow. Firstly there is the story of what happens to Jen and Robert's marriage. However, there is also another story that takes place thirty years earlier and tells of Jen's life growing up as a sergeant's daughter on a German army base and of how she fell in love for the first time. Ultimately, the two stories merge in a poignant but not unexpected climax as she is reunited with Kit, her first love.

I felt that the two storylines weaved together very well and it was easy to move back and forward in time with Jen. There was a good pace and the suggestion of certain events that might have occurred which really made me want to read on and find out what had happened, particularly in Jen's earlier life. Both stories were quite intriguing but it was also fascinating for the reader to see how Jen had changed over time. In Germany she was a timid young thing too afraid to stand up for herself and as a consequence she could have been accused of being a doormat. This is not the case with the older successful Jen who definitely knows what she will or will not tolerate in her marriage. However, on meeting Kit again, some of those older insecurities do threaten to resurface especially when she unexpectedly meets up with his formidable mother.

Jen is a great central character both as a young girl and a woman. From the moment I started reading I liked her and I wanted things to turn out well for her. She is also very much the stronger character particularly when compared to the men in her life.

The story only occurs because of a small slip of the finger on Robert's mobile phone but it does demonstrate how all our lives are bound up in the complexities of technology these days. More so though, the story illustrates the complexities of relationships and that is one thing that has not changed over time. Overall though, this is an absorbing story that manages pathos and humour equally well. It is a thoroughly enjoyable book to read.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Julie Highmore in the press

'Her breakthrough book... With dual voices and fluctuating time, it tells a sensitive tale of picking up life again and of possible second chances, all in a lovely style' - Bookseller

‘Classic, warm-hearted comedy’ - Bookseller

‘This quick and enjoyable read is written in a refreshingly subtle understated style. It’s perfect if you are looking for something light for a few hours of indulgent escapism’ - Daily Record

'Quirky fun' - OK!

‘Where Highmore excels is in the unsentimental way she writes about the dilemmas life throws at us. There’s also a mordant, black humour to her writing, which keeps the froth at bay’ - Glamour

'Her humour and unsentimental manner make for the perfect beach read' - Times of India

'Highmore excels in taking a witty and somewhat wry look at relationships, and in Sleeping Around" families in all their forms take centre stage, with added spice coming from their histrionics, fanciable house sitters, and flights to France' - Publishing News

'A funny and clever novel. A quirky examination of desire, selfishness and the surprising nature of love and relationships. Very seductive!' - Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

'A hilarious and honest look at everyday life' - Sun

'A witty, wry observant tale of mixed relations' - Bookseller

'A tangled, complicated tale of love and life' - Closer

‘Compulsive reading’ - Daily Express

‘It’s lovely. It’s delightful. It’s funny and observant and truthful... I really, really liked it’ - Philip Pullman

‘She writes wonderfully well. Her style is restrained and supremely confident , pruned of unnecessary detail and sparkling with mordant wit.... Pacy and witty, Highmore’s take on the country comedy is as fresh, crisp and delicious as a new organic carrot. An extremely promising debut’ - Express

‘I have read COUNTRY LOVING and enjoyed it. I like her totally unsentimental angle on country living, and the eccentric and quirky characters... It will do well’ - Rosamunde Pilcher

‘Julie Highmore’s warm-hearted novel COUNTRY LOVING, about moving to the country, revels in the hazards of the rural life as well as its seductive attractions’ - Publishing News

‘Funny, original and dazzlingly assured. I adored everything about this excellent book’ - Jill Mansell

‘So enjoyable... It’s a lovely read’ - Catherine Alliott