A hilarious modern day social comedy.
Follow the madcap lives of the sassy Brooke and her anxious husband Dean, as they navigate the chaos caused by their double lives: secrets, syndicates and stress… money, madness and McDonald’s… political incorrectness, punters and posh people… betting, blood pressure and ballet… haves, have nots and horseracing…diversity, dilemmas and days out…gender, gyms and gentility. TRIGGER WARNING: If you are easily offended, ‘woke’ or work in human resources you may be traumatised by this author’s irreverent sense of humour.
Essex girl Brooke secretly works for Lady Townsend, who’s attempting to transform her into a lady, by offering her an eye-opening education. She exposes Brooke to some mind-boggling experiences and a class of people a million miles away from her own, resulting in some seriously funny social faux pas along the way. Brooke’s outlook changes as she takes advantage of these opportunities to better herself, with often comic results! Meanwhile her husband Dean is clueless as to why his normally ditsy wife appears to be acting so weird.
Meanwhile, Dean has been set a challenge by his boss. He’s been tasked with making their workforce the most diverse in the industry, but Dean’s unorthodox approach to recruiting, reveals that he struggles with the very concept of what he considers a ‘woke’ request. In addition, he’s still keeping his mystery shopping side hustle a secret from his demanding wife, ensuring he gets some ‘me time’ away from her and their boisterous toddler Paige.
The farcical situations they find themselves in as a result of their lies, cause off the scale stress for them both. How much longer can they withstand the deceit? Will Brooke’s transformation make her long-suffering husband feel left behind? Or will it improve all their lives? It’s that or even more chaos…
The story pokes fun at a myriad of people and institutions and is a wonderfully eclectic mix of Gavin & Stacey, Pygmalion and Legally Blonde!
Helen Field is a business woman, writer, publisher of greetings cards, funny poet, speaker, traveller and author of The Mystery Shopper & The Hot Tub.
She was born and brought up in Waltham Abbey in Essex and currently lives in a small village in North West Essex, so it would be fair to say she has earned her “Essex girl” badge!
Helen has had a varied and interesting career in retail and hospitality in UK, Europe and USA, including setting up and running her own restaurant. She runs her own training consultancy to the hospitality industry. One element of her business has been designing and implementing mystery shopper programmes all over the UK for some of the most well-known organisations. With inside knowledge of the industry and armed with thousands of funny mystery shopping incidents, she was inspired to write her debut novel, The Mystery Shopper & The Hot Tub.
Helen has recently spent time combining work and writing with travelling with her husband, including four months in Europe in a 20 year old campervan, a completely wild four-month ride round India by train and a month in an isolated log cabin in Finland.
She rides a motorbike and has three talented and amazing grown up children.
P.s. She doesn’t have a hot tub… yet!
My thoughts: I felt sorry for Brooke, she’s clearly very clever and all she wants is to expand her horizons and see what else there is beyond the Essex girl stereotypes her husband is so keen on her sticking to.
Her friendship with Lady Townsend is opening her eyes and allowing her to learn new things, like Latin, and experience a whole other world. But her controlling husband doesn’t want her to work, have her own bank account and expects her to respond to his every message immediately.
Meanwhile he’s busy acting like an idiot at work, recruiting people for one characteristic, like their ethnicity, instead of hiring the best people for the job, all to win a stupid award. I can’t believe none of his recruits have told him off, although Chloe’s mum just might! He’s also being ridiculous with his secret shopper gig, keeping it from Brooke and tying himself in knots to carry out the assignments.
They both need to sit down and have a long, long conversation about things. There’s no way all this secrecy and silliness can be sustainable. And they need to stop shoving lollipops in their daughter’s mouth or her teeth will rot as she grows them!
Bits of this were very funny, bits made me slightly uncomfortable. I know a Brooke or two and the occasionally Pygmalion-esque moments (the horse racing straight out of My Fair Lady) made me cringe for her. Being working class isn’t a crime or the worst thing ever – being a snob is definitely less appealing. She just wants to educate herself and be more independent and take an interest, there’s no harm in that.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.