Lawyer and new mum Cassie has a husband who converses mainly through jokes, a best friend on the other side of the world, and a taskforce of Babycraft mothers who make her feel she has about as much maternal aptitude as a jellyfish. Husband Jonathan dismisses Cassie’s maternal anxieties, but is he really paying attention to his struggling wife? He’s started sleep talking and it seems there’s more on his mind than he’s letting on. Then sexy, swaggering ex-boyfriend Malkie saunters into Cassie’s life again. Unlike Jonathan, he ‘gets’ her. He’d like to get her into bed again too… And on top of all her emotional turmoil, she also finds herself advising a funeral director on ghost protocol and becomes involved in an act of hotel spa fraud, never mind hiding cans of wasp spray all over the house to deal with the stalker who seems to be lurking everywhere she looks. Marriage and motherhood isn’t the fairytale Cassie thought it would be. Will her strange new world fall apart around her or will tiny acts of love be enough to get her through?
Thank you very much to Black & White Publishing for kindly sending me a review copy. The front cover blends in beautifully with my bedroom walls. Since I heard the news of Lucy’s book being published, I immediately backed her and told everyone the exciting news so when the book arrived in the post, I was VERY happy.
Today is the publication date for Tiny Acts Of Love so it’s available right now!!
Cassie has just given birth but she’s having trouble adjusting to motherhood and has a tendency to overreact to pretty much everything! From the opening chapter, Cassie and her husband, Jonathan don’t seem to be in the baby mood. Most people want to show their newborn off and constantly have family and friends round to gaze down at the new face – but I found that no friends came, only family. I felt a strong connection to Cassie from the very start and after five or so chapters, I felt quite sympathetic towards her. I thought that she deserved to have more of an interesting job and the aspect of her being a lawyer put me off quite a little bit.
When Cassie bumps into her ex-boyfriend, Malkie, I expected long lost butterflies to swirl around in her stomach but if I’m honest, I didn’t feel a connection between them. Her husband doesn’t seem to give her the time of day but Malkie will and I hoped she wouldn’t do anything she would regret in the future. It was strange that readers learnt more about Malkie than they did about Jonathan who is far more important to Cassie’s life.
At times when I was reading the narrative, I thought I had lost my sense of humour because the tagline says: Never has marriage, motherhood and being a working mum been so seriously funny. I felt really bad that I didn’t find the plot amusing at all. In actual fact, I found it to be quite sad instead of light and uplifting. Now that I’ve had time to think about the book before writing my review, I can honestly say that I did enjoy it quite a lot, but I thought the tagline was quite misleading.
Now for the best bit, talking to Lucy!!
Q. Congratulations on becoming a debut author for Black & White Publishing! For those who haven’t heard of you via the wonderful world of Twitter, tell us a little bit about yourself…
A. I’m a stay-at-home mum and writer, and I live near Edinburgh with my husband and daughters. I’m a lawyer by profession, but I stopped working a few years ago. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my girls while they were little, but I also wanted to finish my first novel and pursue my dream of being a published author (though not many people knew that, at the time!)
Q. Tiny Acts Of Love is out RIGHT NOW!! How did you feel when you found out that you were going to be published?
A. It was an incredible feeling. When my agent phoned to tell me the news, my legs went weak and I had to sit down! There was excitement, but also a huge sense of relief – I hadn’t just been imagining that I was a writer, or that this was a story worth telling. Now I had a publisher who believed those things, too.
Q. What three words would you use to describe your book?
A. Funny, thoughtful, romantic.
Q. What was your high point whilst writing your debut?
A. One night I was lying awake in bed thinking about the story. I was only half way through writing it, but suddenly the last few paragraphs of the final chapter sprang into my mind, pretty much fully formed. I went downstairs and typed them in to the document, and my fingers were actually shaking. It felt as though the book was writing itself – almost like it was a living thing. I think most writers experience that from time to time, and it’s like magic when it happens. I won’t say the rest was easy (completing the first draft, and all the rewriting that followed), but I had a clear idea of where I was heading, after that.
Q. How did you come up with the gorgeous title; Tiny Acts Of Love?
A. I have to admit, this wasn’t the original title – it was my publishers who thought of this one! I love it because it’s taken from my favourite scene near the end of the book.
Q. If you could have one person (alive or dead) read your book, who would it be and why
A, My husband. He hasn’t read it yet, but he’s running out of excuses now!
Q. Who would play Cassie, Jonathan and Malkie in the film?
– Question asked by your publishers, Black&White
A. Someone who reminds me of Cassie (the main character in Tiny Acts of Love) is Louise Brealey, who plays Molly the pathologist in Sherlock. I love that combination, in Molly, of slightly lovestruck uncertainty, when it comes to Sherlock, and steely determination when she’s in her element, professionally. Jonathan is Cassie’s husband. He can be officious to the point of being ridiculous, but he’s got a good heart. I’ve often thought Dom Joly would be able to do a great Jonathan. As for Malkie (Cassie’s ex, who appears out of the blue), imagine Ewan McGregor’s Renton from Trainspotting, ten or fifteen years on, all cleaned up, with a sharp suit and a good job. That would be Malkie.
Q. How did you and your husband meet?
– Question asked by publishers
A. It was my first day as a trainee lawyer, and we’d all been shipped off to Birmingham for a four day induction course. Colin was presenting the first training session – on corporate law basics. I accidentally fell asleep! He was the perfect gentleman, however, and pretended not to notice (or so I’m told!) We got together the following year.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. I’m writing another novel and my next ambition is to have that published too. It’s also set in Edinburgh, and it’s about two women who resurrect a childhood friendship, and the unravelling of family secrets that results.
Q. Finally, what’s your favourite line from the book?
A. I hadn’t been at all prepared for what would happen, giving birth to Sophie. I had walked through a door and found myself in a parallel world. And Jonathan hadn’t come with me.
OK, that’s three lines, but I like it because it encapsulates Cassie’s state of mind at the start of the book.