Reading Readit: Double Treat 10



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Reading Readit – Double Treat

Just before we move back into post-holiday life, while the hot weather means we feel more like sitting than doing, I wanted to share with you two new releases.


Before I Go by Colleen Oakley

Available for $28.95 via Booktopia

Synopsis: Twenty-seven-year-old Daisy already beat breast cancer three years ago. How can this be happening to her again? BeforeIGo_BookCover

On the eve of what was supposed to be a triumphant “Cancerversary” with her husband Jack to celebrate three years of being cancer-free, Daisy suffers a devastating blow: her doctor tells her that the cancer is back, but this time it’s an aggressive stage four diagnosis. She may have as few as four months left to live. Death is a frightening prospect—but not because she’s afraid for herself. She’s terrified of what will happen to her brilliant but otherwise charmingly helpless husband when she’s no longer there to take care of him. It’s this fear that keeps her up at night, until she stumbles on the solution: she has to find him another wife.

With a singular determination, Daisy scouts local parks and coffee shops and online dating sites looking for Jack’s perfect match. But the further she gets on her quest, the more she questions the sanity of her plan. As the thought of her husband with another woman becomes all too real, Daisy’s forced to decide what’s more important in the short amount of time she has left: her husband’s happiness—or her own?

Somehow to say you enjoyed a book about a young woman dying of cancer seems callous; nonetheless I did enjoy this novel. One reason is, the characters are very believable leaving me wondering if this is a true story, disguised as fiction. I like both Daisy and her husband Jack; their dialogue sounds authentic; it is easy to appreciate how two people who love each other totally, cannot talk about the elephant in the room. I’m sure many of us have experienced a total inability to communicate when simple communication is what is needed most.

I almost didn’t read Before I Go, because I have a young friend with the same cancer as Daisy, triple negative breast cancer, and I expected it to be a very depressing story, yet, in so many ways, this is a funny book. Daisy is not above taking the mickey out of herself, such as her assertion that she has always been an overachiever and now her “Lots of Cancer” just shows she excels even here. Rather than depressing it is life affirming.

This is a debut novel from Colleen Oakley and I hope it is not her last. Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for my ARC. In Australia this novel is published by Allen and Unwin.


The Maxwell Sisters by Loretta Hill

Available for $25.95 via Booktopia

Synopsis: You are cordially invited to the wedding of Phoebe and Christopher… Maxwell Sisters, The

All families have their problems. No more so than the Maxwells of Tawny Brooks Winery. Situated in the heart of the Margaret River wine region, this world-renowned winery was the childhood home to three sisters, Natasha, Eve and Phoebe.

Today all three women are enmeshed in their city lives and eager to forget their past – and their fractured sibling relationships. Until Phoebe decides to get married at home…

Now the sisters must all return to face a host of family obligations, vintage in full swing and interfering in-laws who just can’t take a hint. As one romance blossoms and others fall apart, it seems they are all in need of some sisterly advice.

But old wounds cut deep. Somehow, the Maxwell sisters must find a way back to one another – or risk losing each other forever.

What a Great Little Read for Hols hence forth known as GLRFH. This book embodies, for me, all that’s good about the beach read or GLRFH. Essentially it is a family story, but it has lots of romance, misunderstandings, weddings, and any number of plots and sub plots to keep you interested, but not confused. It is a non-taxing read, sometimes very humorous and mostly the characters are well drawn, although some are a little clichéd but that is a minor criticisms.

As it is set around the wonderful Margaret River area of Western Australia you won’t be surprised to find that fine wine and food are almost characters in themselves. If perhaps some of the stories come together just a little too easily, I forgave their simplicity because I enjoyed reading the novel itself. Two of the author’s previous novels The Girl in the Steel Capped Boots and The Girl in Hard Hat are about women working in a man’s world, in the Pilbara region of WA; so as you might expect, Loretta Hill writes about strong resourceful women. Thank you to Random House Australia for my ARC.


Which of these books would you like to read? Why? Tell us below.

Karen OBrien Hall

Karen O'Brien-Hall followed many careers in her life and loved each one! From accountancy to the hospitality industry, from managing an employment agency to Executive Assistant to the Chairman of a multi-national, when she retired Karen was in Public Relations. Whatever her career path at the time, Karen is a lifelong volunteer. Married to "the love of my life", John, her second love is community theatre where she enjoys acting and directing. Karen enjoys time in her garden and can always finds time to read, around 8 – 10 books a month. Her reviews appear on Starts at Sixty, Goodreads,The Reading Room and her own page

  1. My reading is decided by the print size. Can’t see myself reading the first but the second does sound like a good read.

    1 REPLY
    • Leone you might find reading eBooks is helpful as you can change the size of the print to suit yourself. A friend who is an avid reader has recently made the change because so few books are printed in large print.

  2. Interesting reviews.
    The second book first: Not really a man’s read, perhaps.
    The first? I will give that a try, on the basis of having ‘been there, done that’ to a degree. I nursed my wife through more than a decade of deteriorating health (strokes, COPD, developing dementia) and had her attempt much the same with/for me, especially through her last two years. My greatest concern – beyond not really wanting or needing a replacement – was that it may have been more a matter of her brain working in a direction opposed to her real want.
    I could write a book on many of the issues that arose but too much of it is still raw.
    Thank you, Karen.

    1 REPLY
    • With this history John, you will relate to many of the book’s scenarios.

  3. A personal note – in my review of “Before I go” I mentioned a friend with the same cancer as Daisy. Sadly for her husband Mo, family and friends, my friend lost her fight with TNBC yesterday, 17 January. Roz was a truly beautiful soul and all our lives are better because she was in them. I’ll try to remember not to cry because she is gone, but thank God because she was here. Rest in Peace lovely lady. (Back in November Roz shared her thoughts with us – reading this link will tell you a little about the lady in her own words

  4. I’d read them both……
    The first to remind me that I’m a fortunate woman & to allow me to laugh & cry with the central character & marvel at her courage………
    The second because I love a bloody good read

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