They say a change is as good as a holiday… but what if you don’t want either?
Is her family’s happiness more important than her own?
The first time Ashling Wood realises her marriage is on the rocks is when her husband, Adrian, suggests they try nest parenting. It comes completely out of the blue for Ashling, but Adrian leaves her with no option but to go along with it.
Heartbroken, Ash suddenly finds herself living a double life – one week with her children, the next cohabiting with her happily single sister-in-law. Her friends think the modern custody solution is an exciting opportunity for her to spread her wings, but all Ash wants is her family back together.
An offer to renovate a seaside cottage seems like the perfect distraction for Ash while waiting for Adrian to come to his senses. She’s determined to fix her marriage as well as the cottage, but life gets even more complicated when she meets local fisherman Dan Emerson.
Soon, each home-stay becomes more dysfunctional, while for the other week Ash enjoys the peaceful life of the beachside community. The more time Ash spends in Ragged Point, the more she questions what she really wants. Is a sea-change the fresh start she needs to move on?
When tragedy calls Ash back to the city, she’s torn between the needs of her family and her future. Can her family life fit in with a permanent move to the beach or could Ash’s new-found independence attract Adrian back to the nest?
Rachael Johns really gets women and is able to express the multilayered internal conflicts that so many of us experience, lay it all out on the page, and still make it deeply personal. She has a gift for this, which is what makes her so incredibly popular, and why with each new novel, I adore her more and more. She’s masterful at telling the stories of everyday heartbreaks. But if you’re new to her work, don’t interpret that as in any way depressing – Rachael inspires. She writes female characters who go on a journey that we all recognise and brings them out somewhat broken, but always triumphant in the end.
All the characters in Flying the Nest are familiar – if you haven’t been one, you know one. Ashling and her husband Adrian are compellingly drawn, and while you’re highly invested in Ashling’s journey, Adrian too is so well-crafted that you can’t really dislike him. He’s human.
Rachael brilliantly portrays the inner world of any mother who has had shared custody of her children – there is both exquisite freedom and awful pain in that. And guilt. Always guilt.
My only issue with Rachael’s books is that I finish them so quickly and then have to wait for the next one. Flying the Nest is wonderful – Rachael Johns never disappoints. She should get that on a bumper sticker.