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Wild Designs

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,194 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Althea is the mother of three strong-minded children - one of whom is a Buddhist - and owner of a finicky dog named Bozo.

Saddled with too large a house (albeit in a beautiful Cotswold village), worrisome mortgage payments, a bossy younger sister and irksome ex-husband, Althea still manages to muddle through life comfortably enough. Until she loses her job.

Seeking solace in
Paperback, 399 pages
Published 2009 by Arrow Books (first published June 17th 1996)
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Sep 02, 2015 Vivian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
From this first sentence: 'Mum,' said a voice, reproachful yet forgiving. 'Have you been drinking orange juice straight out of the carton again?' I knew this was going to be a fun read.

Althea is middle aged and a little overweight, has three teenage children, is a single divorced mother, and is about to lose her job. She is very likable and tries to make the best of things. She's cheerful but not perfect. There are some hilarious encounters and a whole lot of misunderstandings.

About half-way thr
Hélène Louise
'Wild designs' is exactly the genre I favor: normal people, but gifted ones, everyday life, children, animals, plausible love-story, humor and so on.
But having the right ingredients doesn't make the dish and, if I didn't dislike this book, and even like some parts of it, it wasn't a good read. I know that all authors can't be Jane Austen or Victoria Clayton, but a minimum quality is required to charm me.

To be petty I'll begin with two weaknesses : the animals. If the dog is well drawn, the thr
There were definitely times I wanted to smack the main character, Althea, upside the head. Also, her sister, her ex, her mother, and a few other characters.

Althea is a 38-year-old divorced mother-of-teens who's just lost her job as a school secretary. This is not all bad news--it gives Althea a chance to try for a career as a gardener, previously her hobby. Her younger sister is a bossy critic of pretty much anything Ally does or is--and their mother is apparently worse, but fortunately lives at
Mar 07, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite Katie Fforde books. Love the characters the writing , the setting. Katie Fforde is one of my favorite writers.
Feb 20, 2011 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wild Designs is my favorite book by Katie Fforde. I've read it several times. Althea, a 38-year-old British housewife finds her life turned upside down when she is laid off from her job as a school secretary. While she launches a new career as a garden designer she meets Patrick, a man who is both disconcerting and extremely attractive. Katie Fforde writes with humor and insight. This amusing chick lit novel makes me smile every time I read it.
Jul 18, 2015 Heleen rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, chicklit
I read in one of the other reviews (Vivian's) of this book that this story was like Pride and Prejudice. Although I have never read Jane Austen's tug-and-pull love story, I've seen some adaptations - albeit long ago - and can see where she is coming from.

Nevertheless, I don't mind that. All Katie Fforde's stories involve some sort of misunderstanding between two (potential) lovers, which end up in a happily-ever-after anyway. And ultimately that's what you read a chick-lit for. No, it was not th
Aug 24, 2014 Notserp2002 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
really enjoyed this - thanks for lending it to me sis!
Apr 29, 2008 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katie Fforde continues to be my favorite literary candy. This one was about gardening again, and reminded me how much I still really would love to have a greenhouse. And a fountain. And the heated indoor swimming pool isn't a bad idea either.
Mar 01, 2009 Carla_Collette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Nice escape read with an English flavor. Not perfectly written, but likable characters and generally fun. Fforde does seem to have difficultly wrapping up the story, so her endings are often a bit awkward.
I read about this book on one of the HaBOs (Help a Bitch Out) from Smart Bitches Trashy Books. Someone was looking for the story of a woman who had been gardening secretly on a neighbor's property which was bought. The new owner is taken aback to find her there but allows her to continue. After her ex-husband runs away with his girlfriend, the gardener and the new owner slowly enter into a physical relationship and then fall in love.
When this book was identified, many of the commenters also note
May 16, 2015 Novia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dunno what force on Earth moved me to pick up this book from the library's shelves, but, hey!, nice job!
So many things happened in this book I don't even know what to say.
Fforde somehow makes gardening hella attractive.
(and not just because I want to attract a rich architect of my own with me planting illegally on his land)
((actually idm))
I reaaaalllyy wanna see all the submissions in Piccadilly. And the pond, how does that work??
The bigger question is, what the he
May 20, 2015 Cozythai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-chick-book
This book was lovely and funny. I enjoy reading Fforde's books and it was great to get back into this one. It's been a couple of years since I have read the book but going back to it was fun.

I love Althea, she is such a lovely and caring mother and every obstacle she comes across, she is able to overcome it.

The only person that infuriated me the most would be her ex husband Frederick. a womanising prick and a coward, at time in the book he asks his children before asking Althea anything and th
Oct 17, 2014 Elaine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-hated
I am giving up on page 229 out of 399. It is just an incredibly dull “will they, won’t they” story with Althea, the main character who is extremely dithery and at 39 years old acts more like a 59 year old and Patrick, the male lead who is just gorgeous but in a smarmy way. Althea lives with her three children and dog, but somewhere around the middle of the book some Siamese cats appeared – never heard of them before and doubt they will appear again. That is the most exciting thing in the book, s ...more
I was a little bit disappointed with this one. I liked the where the story started but it kinda dwindle down for me at the end. I wanted more romance and it felt like Patrick didn't put enough effort to win Althea. Although I did like it when Althea realized that she wanted to pursue Patrick but I guess for me it was rather flat. Plus, there was too much third party going on. Like first with Topaz, and then also Althea's ex-husband Frederick, and then with Sylvia and Jenny. And there was also a ...more
Apr 22, 2015 Rosi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! This is one of my favorite Katie Fforde books. I've read it several times and it always makes me smile. And sometimes laugh out loud. While it's rather predictable, it's cheerful, funny and sweet. Light and light-hearted. A rom-com heavier on the com than on the rom. And for anyone who enjoys gardening, that's just one more enjoyable aspect of the story.
May 06, 2012 Janel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was painfully s-l-o-w.....It dragged on and on, and was muddied up with so many useless characters that I would feel annoyed and confused. The main character was way too much of a pushover with such a prudish and self sacrificing outlook on love and life I don't know how Althea's main love interest Patrick could stand it. He was enormously patient. The way the character thought of herself and described herself I couldn't picture anyone remotely desirable. She sounded like such a matron ...more
Suanne Laqueur
It moved a little slow for me. I file it with the books I've read in which by the time the couple gets it together, I no longer care if they're going to get it together. I wished it focused more on Althea's gardening abilities than her pathetic love life. But overall it was a light, charming read. Good for the bedside table.
Adeline Kam
I think this is my 3rd attempt to read this book. I finally managed to complete it...hooray! Katie Fforde's books are generally okay but slow paced. This book is not bad. A book about a single mother with 3 teenagers, a dog, a sister, a garden and a man. A love story basically.
Goddess Of Blah
Feb 12, 2015 Goddess Of Blah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

***SNORE**** BORING *****
snore - way better books out there - don't waste your time
Wouldn't say I liked this very much. A lot of dithering, a lot of plodding chapters... but I guess all these added to the frustration and the final relief. Not so sure if it was worth it though. Picked this up for the promise of flowers, didn't get enough of it. A no from me.
Jan 12, 2012 Jacqueline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shannon Hampton
This is a sweet, predictable book that is nice easy reading. I liked reading a story about a slightly chunky woman finding love late in her 30s... it is firmly in the chic lit category, but sometimes that's what is needed.
Apr 02, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes life can be a disappointment. This book was one for me.

Forgetting the end, it is a reasonably good story - Strong single Mother pushing onwards into life after losing her job. Her parents have given her money, so she can survive. Althea decides to enter a contest for gardening, blah blah blah.
It was constantly mentioned about the Eldest Son, being a Buddhist. I don't get 'why' it was always mentioned. He sounds like my Son, whom isn't a Buddhist. It makes me want to over thing, but I d
Marie Godley
Apr 26, 2014 Marie Godley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A chaotic household and a woman with a passion for gardening. A dilapidated greenhouse that bring the main characters together and an exhibit into the Chelsea flower show. this is a great read.
Denise Prewett
Jan 03, 2014 Denise Prewett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Althea is raising her 3 clidren by herself after her left her when the youngest was a baby (now she's 11). She is being let go from her job as a school secratarty cause 2 school are merging and wants to go for her dream of being a landscape designer. Patrick bought the old house where Althea has been keeping her plants in the old green house. He is dating his much younger secretary and Althea is attracted, but feels frumpy and certainly wouldn't go after another woman's man. But Patrick is attra ...more
Aug 16, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, audiobook
More character-driven than plot-driven, this is a delightfully romantic tale of a single mother of three children who falls in love despite all of her efforts not to.
Nov 18, 2015 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun story. I like that romantic hero was a older woman with children and she seemed like a real person with many challenges like many women in their 30s and 40s.
Annaha Ibrahim
Jan 31, 2014 Annaha Ibrahim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
the heroine is described as "she was a neurotic female who didn't know her own mind and happily messed up a promising relationship just in case her children objected, without even asking the children the question whether they did or not" - about sums up the whole book.

should be titled " the stupid love dilemma of a doormat".
Jan 20, 2013 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably really between 3 and 4 stars for me. I liked that our heroine is a single woman, "pushing forty," with three teenage children.
It was refreshing to read a story about finding love later in life. (At least beyond the twenties.) My problem with the book, and why I am only giving it 3 stars, is because for all of Althea's protestations of how moral she is, and that she needs to set the example for her children, she still manages to sleep with her love interest before they are marrie
Sandi Hall henning
Have also read "Stately pursuits", "Highland fling" and "Second Thyme Round." Good books but pretty predictable.
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Catherine Rose Gordon-Cumming was born 27 September 1952 in England, UK, the daughter of Shirley Barbara Laub and Michael Willoughby Gordon-Cumming. Her grandfather was Sir William Gordon-Cumming. Her sister is fellow writer Jane Gordon-Cumming. Katie married Desmond Fforde, cousin of the also writer Jasper Fforde. She has three children: Guy, Francis and Briony and didn't start writing until afte ...more
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