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Wild Designs

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,708 ratings  ·  85 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...more
Paperback, 399 pages
Published 2009 by Arrow Books (first published June 17th 1996)
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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...more
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.
really enjoyed this - thanks for lending it to me sis!
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.
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 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
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.
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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.
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...more
Marie Godley
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
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
Annaha Ibrahim
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".
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...more
This was a nice little story about a single mother with three teenagers. When she loses her job as a school secretary, she decides to put her hobby of gardening to use as a professional garden designer.

It was a little slow to get started and the ending was a little forced and abrupt, but I enjoyed the characters and the story. The gardening bent was great and got me fired up to get back in the soil. I don’t know about other people, but I really enjoyed the British slang, especially since it was...more
This novel pretty much does what it says on the tin - it's a lighthearted read with no shocking twists or turns. The most annoying thing about it was the way that the protagonist Althea was so indecisive about everything, but luckily the cast of supporting characters are engaging enough to help you along in the story. A nice read, but sometimes I do wonder just how many more attractive women living in genteel poverty in the country there are left for Fforde to write about. Good summer reading, b...more
A new author for me (an advantage of not having time to compile a list prior to going to the library and having to peruse the shelves for interesting-looking spines). I experience the disconnect I always feel when reading about 39-year-olds with teenaged children and the mother's resulting "over-the-hill" feeling. However, this is a pleasant story of the difficulties of single parenthood and the conflict between being a parent and having a romantic life (and a SH** of an ex-husband!). Definitely...more
Mary Beth Marion
I like Katie Fforde. Her books are light, fluffy, girly, occasionally funny, and always a nice escape between reading deeper material. They're kind of comfort books - I know they aren't going to demand anything of me, but I'll always see something to make me smile. I also like the fact that I usually learn something - in this one, it's about gardening, but others had a great take on antiques, or cooking, or piloting a houseboat down the canals of England. A fun read with a nice cup of tea.
I enjoyed reading a chick lit novel that had a main character closer to her 40's. She was a very likable character, although it took awhile for the story to really take off. I haven't read any of Fforde's other books, but it looks like they are all centered around gardening.. not sure if I want to read more of her stuff or not. I'm a terrible gardner and reading about someone who loves it and does it well just makes me feel guilty that I don't try harder in my own backyard :-(
A book i probably wouldn't have gone and bought myself, but i enjoyed it eventhough the end was predictable. It's an old-fashioned romance and if i could i would have slapped Althea, the main character quite a few times for her stubbornness.. The author and Althea's love for gardening inspired me to get out in my own garden and pot around.which is a plus. Chelsea flower show was also on my mind to visit, if the tickets wouldn't been sold out for 55£..
I finally found this book! I read it years ago. Years before Goodreads. Thank goodness for Goodreads and now I can sleep at night. I enjoyed the ever living daylights out of this book. It was funny, and I am a sucker for happy endings. I recommend this book as a fun light happy story.
....And since I finally found it again, I am going to see if the Library has it and read it again!!! Maybe it will even be in an Audio version by now.
This is my first katie Fforde book and I found it quite delightful. Of course, I was totally attacted by the graphics and the colours on the copy of the book I picked up at my own personal Glen Pine library. I do have this penchant for light English fare and I found it was so typically British...I am on to other books by this author now...wonderful for mindless relaxation of the mind!!
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 is the first Katie Fforde I read, and one of the most enjoyable (perhaps because she was writing more leisurely then, without publisher pressure to crank out a book every year). Althea, still bruised by her divorce and juggling the pressures of being a single mother of three adolescent children, has difficulties at work and throws herself into developing a tiny garden. . .
Le stelline potrebbero anche arrivare a quattro in realtà. Molto molto piacevole questo romanzo. La Fforde mi ha colpito favorevolmente. La storia carbura lentamente ma questo è un pregio perché riesce ad arrivare dove non ti aspetti. Credo proprio che leggerò qualcos'altro di suo anche perché devo darle il merito di non somigliare a nessun'altra autrice che io conosca.
I really enjoy Katie Fforde's books, only a few have lost me half way through. This book is one of my favorites. Althea is a mess but she's a great mother, patient to her annoying sister and better than she should be to her ex husband. But it is her relationship with dreamy Patrick that is worth the read as are the author's descriptions of Althea's gardens.
Another light read, but I didn't like this one as well. The premise is nice, that a "middle aged" woman with teenagers can fall in love and have a romance. The story just bugged me. The main character dithers and lets her children run her life. She drove me nuts. The love interest sounded hunky. It would probably make a good Lifetime movie...
Good enough to make me pick up another Fforde novel at the library... I thought the heroine was well-written--a woman weak in most aspects of her life, but as a single mother, she sticks to her principles (mostly) even in tough times. Nice quick read; great for travel when you can put it down and read a few chapters at a time.
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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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