It’s paperback publication day today for Milly Johnson’s latest novel, The Woman in the Middle. Congratulations Milly – I’m sure it will be flying off the shelves!
To help spread the news about the book, I’m happy to be sharing my review again.
Shay has been juggling so many responsibilities for so long and the balls are about to come crashing down. She gets little support or help around the house from her husband Bruce, who doesn’t seem to notice her anymore and takes her for granted. Her daughter Courtney has always been headstrong and given Shay plenty worries and grey hairs. She’s worried about her son Sonny who is about to get married but Shay feels there’s something a bit off about the relationship. Her own parents are divorced with her dad having recently having had a debilitating stroke and her mother needing more care as her memory starts to fail. Everything seems to land at Shay’s door, especially since her sister does very little to help. And in the background we know that there has been a tragedy which has shaped her life. No wonder she feels under pressure.
There was a lot about Shay’s life I could relate to being of a similar age and with older relatives starting to need more help and attention. Thankfully, I don’t have the marriage issues she does nor the worries about her children.
The Woman in the Middle had a rather different feel about it from most Milly Johnson books I’ve read. It seemed like a more personal, heartfelt story was being told and I think that many women of a certain age will feel like this is a reflection of their own lives. So much seems to be expected of women nowadays and sometimes it’s hard to find time for yourself as you are pulled every which way. I found the second part of the book particularly moving. So much happens in a short time for Shay and I thought that Milly Johnson conveyed brilliantly just how this affected her.
The Woman in the Middle is such a relatable and warm read. There are some truly awful characters in this book but there are plenty of wonderful people who come into Shay’s life too. Sometimes the most unexpected people make the biggest difference to her. You’ll take Shay to heart and so hope that she’ll put herself first for once as she most certainly should. I was cheering Shay by the time I reached the heart-warming conclusion!
About the book
Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation – caring for her parents and her children, supporting her husband Bruce, holding them all together and caring for them as best she can.
Then the arrival of a large orange skip on her mother’s estate sets in motion a cataclysmic series of events which leads to the collapse of Shay’s world. She is forced to put herself first for a change.
But in order to move forward with her present, Shay needs to make sense of her past. And so she returns to the little village she grew up in, to uncover the truth about what happened to her when she was younger. And in doing so, she discovers that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the only way is up.
About the Author
Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. She is the author of 18 published novels, 4 short story ebooks, a book of poetry and a Quick Reads Novella (‘The Little Dreams of Lara Cliffe’) and was an erstwhile leading copywriter for the greetings card industry. She is also a poem and joke-writer, a newspaper columnist and a seasoned after dinner speaker.
She won the RoNA for Best Romantic Comedy Novel of 2014 and 2016, the Yorkshire Society award for Arts and Culture 2015 and the Romantic Novelist Association Outstanding Achievement award in 2020. See her popular acceptance speech here.
She writes about love, life, friendships and the importance of community spirit. Her books champion women, their strength and resilience and celebrate her beloved Yorkshire.
Milly’s website is http://www.millyjohnson.co.uk. She is on Twitter as @millyjohnson, Instagram as @themillyjohnson and has a Facebook page @MillyJohnsonAuthor. She also has a monthly newsletter http://www.millyjohnson.co.uk/newsletter with exclusive, news, offers and competitions.