In her emotionally powerful and unputdownable new novel Adele Parks, Sunday Times bestselling author of ABOUT LAST NIGHT, asks the question: what if love's not enough?
Eloise Hamilton is a Londoner born and bred, so it is a momentous day when she reluctantly agrees to uproot to Dartmouth, leaving behind her perfect world so her husband can finally live in his. There are compensations, however. Her mother-in-law Margaret will welcome her with open arms, and besides, she can still rely on best friend Sara to be her lifeline to London.
But both Margaret and Sara are facing their own difficulties, and thrust into unexpected turmoil, Eloise finds she is the one holding everything together for her loved ones - and by an ever-weakening thread. As her world implodes with the strain of being responsible for all around her, someone is bound to be overlooked. And the damage might be irreparable...
Adele Parks MBE is one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women's fiction writers in the UK. She has sold over 4 million books and her work has been translated into 30 different languages.
She has published 21 novels, all of which have been London Times bestsellers.
Adele has written 19 contemporary novels and 2 historical ones, Spare Brides and If You Go Away, which are set during and after WW1. Her latest novels, Both of You, Just My Luck, Lies Lies Lies, I Invited Her In, The Image of You and The Stranger in My Home are twisty, domestic noirs. Adele likes to scrutinize our concepts of family, our theories on love, parenting and fidelity.
During her career Adele has lived in Italy, Botswana and London. Now she lives happily in Surrey, UK with her husband, son and cat.
If you want to stay in touch you can find Adele on Twitter @AdeleParks, Instagram @Adele_Parks or Facebook @OfficialAdeleParks. You can sign up to her newsletter at eepurl.com/cI0l and there’s lots more info about Adele and her books on www.adeleparks.com.
I used to love Adele Parks. She writes a really involved story with complex characters, and that's still true here. However, her last three or four books have been about mums, or women who are desperate to be mums, and I'm really getting bored crapless by this. This is the first of Adele's books that I haven't purchased, and I'm glad I didn't. I borrowed it from the library instead. First of all, Sara. Really didn't like her. I have little patience in general with women who think their whole life purpose is to breed, Sara was just whiny, indulgent and pathetic. I didn't pity her at all, particularly by the end of the book. I couldn't stand Charlie either after the situation mid book. What a pair of a**holes, well suited to each other. Eloise faired a little better, though she was smug, with her perfect girls and house and husband. Again, I find it hard to feel too sorry for a woman who can afford to stay home spending ridiculous amounts on cushions etc. But I didn't hate her, she struck me as well intentioned, if shallow, certainly a better friend than Sara deserved. For me, the character which made this worthwhile was Margaret. Adele has done a great job with her. She describes Margaret's dementia very well and sympathetically. If it hadn't been for the Margaret storyline, I think I would have been dissatisfied with this, but I am glad I read it (though not bought it). Adele is a great writer, but I hope she finds something else to write about soon!
First of all, had I been unaware of who had written this - I would never in a million years had put this down as one of Adele Parks'. Her style has changed massively and in fact, I prefer this Adele. Don't get me wrong, I'll always have room on my bookshelf for the chick-lit, 'girlie banter' and Bridget Jones type dilemmas but this was a masterpiece.
Eloise is a happily married wife and mother to three beautiful girls. After years of living in London, the family move to Dartmouth to be closer to Husband Mark's poorly mother, Margaret. Margaret has dementia and a lot of this story follows her decline which was 'dealt with' spectacularly. Adele Parks certainly did her research and having a family member suffering from it, I related to a lot of this. Added to this, we followed the life of Sara (Eloise's evil best friend) and her absolute obsession with having a baby. As well as dealing with Margaret's decline, Eloise is also having to be a shoulder to cry on for Sara whilst she tries to cope with failed IVF treatments. How does this all link together? Just wait and see.
This was fantastically written and incredibly entertaining to read. There were parts that touched me (the dementia story) and parts that absolutely riled me (Sara!) but this was such a treat. Five easy stars.
I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book when I started it, as I found all the characters utterly unlikeable, however once I got to the second half, it kept me turning the pages, and it's ended up being one of my favourite of Adele's novels - particularly loved the twist at the end, which I didn't see coming at all.
Loved the writing style immediately, which is the only reason I was able to keep going as the novel plodded along. The novel deals with big issues but it feels pretty bland, middle aged and middle class, often just a long winded daily life journal of this family. I guess I must just prefer escapism than stuff about the daily grind, so this is not really too much the author's fault just a point of preference. Story wise, the main character Eloise seems to have no backbone whatsoever, and her best friend Sara is so entirely unlikeable it's hard to imagine her making friends with anyone at all, never mind bewitching several guys. That said, I think the Alzheimer's plotline was done very sensitively, as was the IVF. And the final twist was excellent and almost entirely unexpected - although the reaction from the main character felt, to me, very unlikely to say the least. Overall it's readable, the audiobook is better than the physical book (I had both) but it feels a very slow burn.
This book was next up on my World Book Night reading challenge. I'd not read any Adele Parks before so to be honest was just expecting fluffy chick-lit boy meets girl but this wasn't like that. It was more grown up if that makes sense?
Having moved her family from to Dartmouth, her husband's home town, Eloise tries to make a new life for them and is desperately wanting to fit in to the Dartmouth scene but leaving her beloved London behind and her best friend is harder than she thought.
Eloise is a bit of a Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way but if I'm honest I think it's Margaret's character that actually steals the show. As Margaret's Alzheimer's becomes more apparent we get an insight into what it's like for her living with this 'smudge' as she calls it and how it affects not only her but her family too. Alzheimer's is such a wicked condition!
As she doesn't seem to have any real grasp any more of the consequences of the things she says Margaret's revelation had the potential to rip her family apart...but then really she was the only one that did see beneath the cracks in her own fuddled way. One of my favourite scenes was the Apple Tart and Lavender Cream - I can honestly imagine this happening and I loved how well Eloise wanted to care for Margaret, they had a special relationship that made me feel warm inside.
On the flip side, I've no idea how Sara came to be Eloise's best friend. What an incredibly horrible self obsessed woman; to be that deceitful and disrespectful to someone who had only ever helped you just shows the desperation she felt at not being able to have a baby. I was surprised at how both Eloise and Sara were able to let their friendship slide so easily but then I guess we've all been there. And..considering Charlie and Sara had money worries I was surprised how they managed to just up sticks and leave but hey probably for the best....
There's a brilliant twist at end that really surprised me and I didn't see coming, I thought that it was all sewn up rather nicely and then boom! That one left me reeling!
With deep issues of infertility and Alzheimer's it's not a light read but Parks hasn't made it a dreary read either but one that's very emotive and engaging and one that would make a good read for a book club it could provoke a really good discussion.
A very mature reading. It talks about the conflicts and issues married women faces when it comes to satisfying each and every person that means alot to you. Eloise, the main character, has her husband to compromise with, a bestfriend who's going through a hard time to get pregnant and a mother-in-law who's losing her mind.
'Whatever It Takes' has a significant theme on sacrifices. It gets a bit serious at some parts and it doesn't promote much joy to reading (Eloise's bestfriend, Sara, is a big party pooper). The one thing that leaves me doubtful is how could anybody even stand a person like Sara. Eloise must've been crazy enough too, probably? Her personality to be the perfect wife, friend etc at all times gets a bit weak, especially in dealing with Sara's tantrums.
But kudos to the mother-in-law. Loved how her character turned out to be.
I like how Adele writes her stuff, she clearly knows how to put actions and thoughts into words and explain so smoothly to readers. My first Adele novel was 'Young Wives' Tales' which I thoroughly enjoyed reading and going into the minds of her characters. Adele would be my all-time favourite author because of her neat writing style.
I gave this book three stars because it left me torn. I liked Eloise and Mark, but I didn't really connect with them. Mark did annoy me with how cold he often was towards his dad, and sometimes even his mum. I absolutely loved how Margaret's illness was explored! From her point of view and others' - it really explored the struggle people go through, and I thought was brilliant! But I HATED Sara and Charlie. Their rudeness, his cheek, her complete disregard of others. The whole way through the book I was waiting for Sara to apologise, or Eloise to actually stand up to her. I can't actually tell you how angry this made me! Eloise was constantly helping Sara, and all Sara did was moan and feel sorry for herself! The way she ended everything was disgusting! I have honestly never hated a character more! If this book had not involved Sara and Charlie, or Still included them to shown them to be kinder and more thankful to Eloise for everything she does - not just being spiteful, I would've given it five stars. But they ruined it for me!!!
I daresay there is nothing wrong with this book. She's a popular author and the story telling was good. It's just that novels about people with perfect bodies and agas who are full of middle class angst are not my cup of tea.
I have only previously read two books by Adele Parks so I still feel like a beginner! Both of the books I have read I enjoyed and so I really wanted to try another of her books so I have just finished her new novel Whatever It Takes.
Eloise is a Londoner through and through. She has a wide group of friends and usually finds herself entertaining for them, she really is living her dream but her husband has lived Eloise’s dream for a long time now and Eloise agrees it is time for them to start living husband Marks dream and move their little family back to his family’s roots in Dartmouth. This is a big step for Eloise as this means a complete lifestyle change and also means leaving best friend Sara behind when her friend needs her close by.
Eloise is looking forward to being closer to her mother in-law Margret but it’s not long after they arrive that they start to notice that Margret is becoming more than a little forgetful. Eloise finds herself trying to adapt to her new life in Dartmouth but is finding she is trying to help everyone around her with their problems but for Eloise who likes everything perfect she may need to face facts that she may not be able to fix everything.
Whatever It Takes is a very emotional book which tackles a number of deep issues such as Alzheimer’s and fertility problems all which are common health problems in day to day life so it was clear that this book was going to be far from a light hearted read.
Eloise was a very loveable and caring character, one of these people who are so kind they don’t see any bad in any one. She loves her life in London but she understands that it would be a nicer way of life for their three daughters to live in Dartmouth and she knows it means a lot for Mark to be closer to his parents so she sacrifices her dream to please her family.
Sara who is Eloise’s best friend (although I really don’t know how!) is far from a loveable character she is a very negative, selfish and most of all jealous character. Sara is desperate or a baby but she has fertility problems and it just doesn’t look like she will become a mum any time soon, now usually hearing this I would be so heartbroken for anyone in this situation and rightly so but I didn’t feel any kind of sorrow for Sara. I didn’t even feel as if it was a true longing for a baby I think it was pure jealousy of what Eloise had with her girls and Sara just wanted to compete.
Adele has brought the subject of Alzheimers into this book which was heart breaking but also it gave a great insight into living with someone with the terrible condition from both how Margret was feeling and also how her family around her coped.
There were a few surprises along the way in this book which only added to what I can only describe as a compelling read but what really shocked me was the ending to this book I am sure there is no way that you could predict the outcome of this book the truth seemed to be right under our nose during the book and yet it is not until it is pointed out to us in black and white that the truth becomes clear which I thought was very clever.
A compelling and emotional read from Adele Parks, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
This is the kind of book I love. It's about people, relationships, flaws, secrets, life. I savoured every bit of it. It's the sort of book I don't keep checking which percentage I'm at on my kindle, except when I feared it was running out.
I love the books by this Author she is one of my favourites, I have read most of her books and this one does not disappoint. Eloise is married to Mark they have 3 children, Mark is a Solicitor and when he has news his Father is retiring and wants him to take over he is thrilled as for the last 15 years he has been trying to get Eloise to move out of London to Dartmouth, where his parents live. Eventually she agrees although she will miss her friends especially Sara they have been friends for 4 years she is married to Charlie and desperate for a baby they have had 4 lots of IVF and been unsuccessful of carrying a baby full term, Sara is jealous of people with Children. But could Eloise be the answer to all her prayers? The move for Eloise means they are closer to Marks Mother and Father Ray and Margaret but is Margaret losing her memory? And what doesn’t she want Mark to know? How far will Sara go to get what she really wants? I really enjoyed this book it was very easy to read and follow although there was a lot of Characters, a few twists and turns in the story, I couldn’t put this book down and was awake early this morning because of the light mornings and had to finish the book, I couldn’t wait to see what happened. Definitely recommend.
I was given this as a World Book Night book, and had not read Adele Parks before, but will now certainly read more of her books. From the blurb on the back cover I thought it would be chicklit, but it is so much more and covers a number of women’s issues in a thoughtful and adult way. There is only a handful of characters, which allows her to develop them satisfactorily, particularly the women. Issues of infertility and dementia do not make for light reading, but they are done well and sympathetically, and seeing Margaret’s illness from inside her own mind adds an extra dimension.
I enjoyed her descriptions of London life contrasted with lovely Dartmouth, which found a resonance with me as I too moved from London to a rural area. I initially found Eloise annoying in her desperate search for perfection in all aspects of her life, but came to recognise her as a loving and caring person, who eventually found the ability to be more flexible. Sara was hard to like from the start and by the end I hated and despised her. I certainly didn’t see the final twist coming.
I liked Eloise always trying to please other people, fix things that she knew she couldn't fix, until one day she offers to fix something that would involve her family and secrets come tumbling out, which change everything. I'm not sure I would offer to be a surrogate for Sara - What a HORRID character! I can appreciate that it must be really hard not been able to have kids etc but she's just so horrible about it. What I'm confused about is the fact that Sara and Charlie WEREN'T infertile, so why did she lure Mark into bed to get pregnant, why couldn't she have just waited for her and Charlie to get married. Secondly, Sara has problems with carrying babies, but coinidentally, she sleeps with her best friends husband ONCE, gets pregnant and carries it full term..... and she fails to consider the blood type!
Lets just say, this book was far fethed was was stupidly written.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
When I finished this book I literally threw it across the room (pregnancy hormones probably) but the ending completely annoyed me.
I endured this book which only got interesting past midway with Margaret's bombshell and the surrogacy drama. Sara as a character was completely unlikeable and hard to relate to and it didn't make sense why Eloise did so much for her.
The fact that it only took Sara once to get and stay pregnant in her master plan is far-fetched as she'd always had a problem keeping a baby AND nothing was found wrong with Charlie's sperm! My biggest bugbear was that after the amazing twist in the end, Eloise doesn't even confront the issue!!!!
Anyway as a massive fan of Adele Parks this was quite disappointing.
This was a really light and easy read about the essence of family and all that means.
The story focuses on the 'perfect' Eloise who is often guilty of putting everything and everyone before herself and at times the need of her family.
I really enjoyed the fact that this book is set in Dartmouth so that the local features of the area were really brought to life, and that I was able to place the characters easily in their surroundings.
Some bits of the book were a bit far fetched I felt but on the whole it was an easy to follow and believable story.
I loved this book. I've read most of Adele's books, and I think this is one of her best. I love the way she captures alzheimer from the character point of view. Having had a family member who suffered with this awful disease, I think it worked really well. Admittedly I hated Sara, and I wanted to shout at Eloise for staying friends with her, but could also see why she couldn't just leave her friend. I wanted to protect Eloise as I would my own friends. If you like chick-lit and want a real-life read rather than a romantic.
I can't help but come back and think of this book. It took me for ages to read because I didn't feel like reading it, it's a good book but it honestly takes me a lot to consistently stick to reading a book. However, once I pressed on I got more into it and it's story stays in my memory Adele Parks it's an amazing author and anyone looking for a good read that likes the sound of the topic from on the blurb should definitely read it!
I really enjoyed this book. There was some really likeable strong characters in the book but there was also a couple of characters that I found not nice but that's just life.
For me the part that I found really well written was of the lady suffering from Alzheimer's. A member of my family has dementia and I felt that Adele wrote about the character and the family around her really well. Such a very sad illness.
3.5 stars Was it not for Sara and Charlie, I could have given this book 5 stars.
•• This review might contain minor spoilers or hints about what will happen in the book ••
I didn’t know what to expect going in to this book. I chose it at random at my audiobook app and started listening, unfamiliar with the content and the author.
I liked Eloise a lot. I might not care as much for the opinion of others or totally agree with all she did and so on, but from the start to the end, she has her heart in the right place. She cares a lot for other and will do almost anything for them, she also grows a lot throughout the book.
Mark was a character who I liked and was kind of neutral about the whole way through - well until the end, that is, at that point my mind might have changed somewhat. We never got his point of view, really, so we only saw him through the eyes of others. This made me not really connect with him all that much.
I didn’t much like Sara from the beginning, but I must admit that, over the course of a very short time she has become one of the characters in a book I hate/dislikes the most. Never have I met a character whom was so self absorbed in her own life and who would do anything, no matter who she hurt, lied to or like that, in order to get what she wanted. She was thoroughly disgusting, all the way to the end. You wait a whole book for her to apologise to Eloise or for Eloise to really set her straight.
I feel like Sara and Charlie could have been the way they were, but not as important to the story, maybe just toned down a little, and this would have been really great.
The best thing about the whole book was Margaret’s illness. The way it explored it and talked about it, both from her point of view as well as everyone else’s. It was really interesting, scary and amazing at the same time. I could really feel it all, it was so great! Ray was also great the whole way through. Him observing her illness and his forcing her to the doctors and so on. I liked him a lot.
There was definitely a lot of things going on, a lot of surprising turns and a lot of different twists and important topics throughout this book. I did really enjoy it.
Elouise Hamilton has a seemingly perfect life in London. As a born and bred Londoner she cannot imagine living anywhere else.
But her husband Mark longs to return to his childhood home, Dartmouth, and when his father offers to sell his legal practice to him at a family rate, Mark is very keen to take up the offer and the chance to return.
Eventually, Elouise is persuaded to uproot herself, leaving behind her friends and her special shops and boutiques to move.
She finds it hard initially, but she has a loving and helpful mother in law, Margaret to call on and all seems to be going well.
Enter Sara. A friend who is bereft at the thought of Elouise moving away. Apparently, Elouise is her only friend. Added to that is the fact that several attempts at IVF still haven’t produced the longed-for baby.
And into the life Elouise is making for her family, comes the news that Margaret is suffering early onset of Alzheimer’s This is another thing for Elouise to deal with as both her Father in law and her husband appear unable to accept this fact.
The turmoil in which Elouise finds herself is further compounded when unexpectedly she meets Sara in London and finds she is undeniably pregnant. And she learns that Sara has taken matters into her own hands in an attempt to become pregnant, with no thought of the consequences and the lives she will affect.
This is a story, unlike the usual books I read. I was totally engrossed from the beginning, in Elouise’s life, her attempts to keep the family together and her willingness to take on more and more of the problems of others. But her life suddenly implodes and we wonder how/if she will cope.
I recommend this book. It is not particularly light reading, peering as it does delve into Alzheimer’s, overwhelming desire for a child and her own difficulties in moving from the bright lights to a seaside town.
Well worth taking from your local library as I did.
This was the first book I read of Adele Parks' and I am not sure if it impressed me much.
The problems taken up for exploration were strong but only the dementia played out well for me. Beautifully written. The other problems, be it being stuck with IVFs, a bad "best" friend, toxic relationships or extremely weird life decisions (from my point of view, don't take it otherwise), were ignored like the middle child of the family (again, my opinion). Even if I happen to believe that the characters portrayed real people and behave as extremely as they did, but still it felt as if the characteristics were forced upon them unlike the way the onset and horror of dementia upon Margaret was captured. Also, who befriends and "best friends" a person like Sara??? Totally agree with Mark on this point unlike many others where he behaves bizarrely.
The "twist" at the end wasn't exactly a twist for me. Saw that coming all way long. Hints were laid throughout the chapters for exactly this to happen, but hey, that was not the exact turn off. The hilariously wicked (the way an evil 5th grader would behave) email and the response to it Eloise displayed. My God.
If somebody is reading this and you agree with me, please suggest me a better read to satiate my taste buds.
I have read other books by Adele Parks and always find them good reads -- more challenging than the average chick lit, with complicated story lines. But in this book, as with others by her, I found it difficult to connect with the characters. Eloise was OK but shallow and a bit self-centred, and some of the decisions she made didn't jibe with the way I'd understood her character to be. Sara was completely unlikeable, rude to the point of farcical, and I couldn't see a single reason why Eloise would be friends with her, other than in a lady-of-the-manor patronage which I didn't think sat well with either of them.
Margaret's dementia was sensitively portrayed though and I thought this could have been explored a bit more. Basically there are a lot of issues going on in this novel -- dislocation, relocation, barrenness of character and physical, betrayal, lies, secrets, dementia -- maybe the scope was just too wide.
An ambitious work and engagingly written but I don't think it will stay with me.
In the beginning I could relate to the situation between the two friends, I’ve found myself in the shoes of Eloise and know exactly how it feels to deal with someone going the through the issues that Sarah was having. However as that side of the story progressed I found it got quite far fetched. The storyline that actually kept my interest, was Margaret’s. To see the thoughts from her point of view as her Alzheimer’s progressed was interesting and made me wonder if that’s actually how people feel who suffer from this.
I really loved this book. Admittedly it took a little while to get into and was a typical chick lit book with all the expected plot solutions and then, then came the smack in the face that I didn't see coming. It had comedy, tragedy, bits that moved me and bits that made me yawn but all in all, it was balanced and provided enough entertainment when I was willing to give myself to the book. This is the kind if book you take on a beach holiday to add to your escape.
An interesting book with a twist at the end. An apparently intense friendship turns out not to have been so.This interspersed with changes arising from family life make an interesting read.The impact of dementia on a loved one is particularly poignant, as all around become impacted by the effects. The closeness of the personal relationships, family choices as people age, and the influence of friends are all detailed in the book.
I love how the writer brings characters to life, brings to mind the same style as Joanna Trollope. Story touched on sensitive issues eg fertility problems and dementia so interesting to learn how characters deal with things like this. Interesting twist at the end that I really didn't see coming and leaves the reader thinking about the dilemma posed and hefty life consequences - won't say any more to give anything away! Looking forward to another of Adele Parks' well written books!