McCallum’s New Heart-Warmer: Review of A Life of Her Own by Fiona McCallum

McCallum’s New Heart-Warmer: Review of A Life of Her Own by Fiona McCallum

Alice’s disappointment in her partner is apparent from the very first page of Fiona McCallum’s new book, A Life of Her Own, when upon returning home from a business trip he pecks her on the lips and eases her away from him.

While his ‘lack of romance and displays of affection’ only four years into their relationship might be enough to ring alarm bells for some, Alice swallows her disappointment, reminding herself that David has ‘plenty’ of other fine qualities.

In A Life of Her Own, McCallum has crafted a charming, gentle story about the shifting sands of a relationship and a woman who tries hard to make everything work, even when it’s all falling apart. While the story’s pace – and Alice’s progress – may not be snappy, the rewards are in the unfolding detail of our heroine’s life and her gradual awakening to what life might hold her for her, if only she can bring herself to go after it.

Early on, Alice may not be quite as assertive or as confident as we’d like, either in her working life or at home with her ‘cool, calm, collected, controlled, and driven’ partner. But that’s Alice, crippled with self-doubt, always willing to take the blame, always trying to find the good in the bad. We’ve all known an ‘Alice.’

And, let’s face it, no matter how bad things are, sometimes for whatever reason it feels simply not possible to call people out for what they are. Like ‘Alice’ we trudge on, hoping that with patience, time and understanding, the situation may improve, (meanwhile praying we win Lotto). Nor is Alice Robinson Crusoe in her fear of leaving the security of coupledom for a single life.

David, of course, remains David throughout A Life of Her Own. An un-evolved, control freak with zero heart and sensitivity who not only offers Alice no emotional support whatsoever, but chips away at her self-esteem.

At work, Alice finds herself in an equally toxic situation – utterly powerless and badly bullied. Carmel, her super successful boss at a real estate agency, a cross between a sociopath and a narcissist, places outrageous demands on Alice and has her doubting not only her competence, but her sanity.

Thank goodness for good friends like Lauren and Brett, the mates Alice made at university after returning as a mature age student to gain a degree. (Not that Alice is a senior, more like in her thirties from memory).

A return visit to her home town in the country, the ironically named Hope Springs, is another turning point for Alice and the reader, for it’s there we learn about her loveless childhood and her pattern of trying to please those who will never be pleased, like her horrible mother who has all ‘the warmth of a marble bust.’

Alice’s journey to emancipation from her dreadful husband and obnoxious boss, is far from smooth, but once she notches up her first goal on the scoreboard, she begins to sprout wings and fly. The final scene when she tells David, ‘a pathetic excuse for a man,’ that she’s leaving, is particularly satisfying.

For the first time in ages, the moment Alice arrives in her new home, she feels her luck is changing – and so do you. Her self-doubt along with the toxic relationship and job lies well and truly behind her now. The doorway to a new life beckons, allowing McCallum’s latest heart-warmer a positive and upbeat note on which to end, while leaving room for a sequel.

We can only hope. Gooo Alice!

About the author

Fiona McCallum was raised on a farm in South Australia. She now lives in suburban Adelaide, but remains a country girl at heart. Fiona writes ‘heart-warming journey of self-discovery stories’ that draw on her life experiences, love of animals and fascination with the human condition. She is the author of ten Australian bestsellers. A Life of Her Own is her eleventh novel.

Buy a copy of A Life of Her Own here.

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                      Synopsis

                      When knowledge gives you the power to change your life ...Alice Hamilton loved being a mature-age student, but now she's finished her university degree she needs to find herself a career. But the job market is tough and it doesn't help that her partner David keeps reminding her about their sizeable mortgage. When she's offered a role in a major real estate agency, she jumps at the opportunity. David is excited by her prospects in the thriving Melbourne housing market, and Alice is pleased that she'll be utilising her exceptional people skills.But Alice quickly realises all is not as it seems. What is she doing wrong to be so out of sync with her energetic boss, Carmel Gold, agent extraordinaire? Alice is determined to make it work, but how much will it affect her values?As everything starts to fall apart, an unexpected visit home to the country town Alice escaped years ago provides an unexpected opportunity to get some perspective. Surrounded by people who aren't what they seem, or have their own agendas, can Alice learn to ask for what she really wants ... on her own terms?From Australia's master storyteller comes an inspiring story about standing up for yourself, making difficult choices and chasing your dreams.
                      Fiona McCallum
                      About the author

                      Fiona McCallum

                      Fiona McCallum spent her childhood years on the family cereal and wool farm outside a small town on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. An avid reader and writer, she decided at age nine that she wanted to be the next Enid Blyton! She is the author of PaychequeNowhere Else, Wattle Creek, Saving Grace, Time will Tell and Meant to Be.

                      Books by Fiona McCallum

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