What would you do if you finally plucked up the courage to leave your philandering husband? Take your teenage daughter and move back into your childhood home in the small town where you spent all of your childhood years? Doesn’t sound so bad… A quick google on your high school crush tells you that he’s a lot more handsome than he was when he was in high school… and he’s still single. Not bad at all.

Unless of course you’re Evie Pleasant and you spent your childhood years wreaking mayhem – setting fire to shops, stealing things and getting up to all kinds of other mischief. People in small towns have very long memories! 

Lia Weston crafts a witty tale of a mother and daughter trying to start a new life. So much of the story strikes a chord as it speaks to universal struggles we all face at every age – of making friends, popularity and social politics, dating, and the constant re-defining of ourselves as we start the various chapters of our life. Lia’s humour glides over the challenges Evie faces leaving her husband and trying to re-insert herself back into her childhood home, without making light of the situation. But don’t worry, Evie will be fine, because Evie can bake.

“I realise some of you don’t want to give me a chance,” Evie continued. “But the funny thing is that i don’t mind. I understand why. Right now, the most important thing to me is to be the best role model I can be for my daughter. I want her to see that people are capable of change, of becoming part of a community. If she’s proud of me, then nothing else matters.” She walked over to the trestle table, which was covered by a chequered cloth.”So whether or not you decide that there’s a place for me here, and whether or not you’ll let me do my best to contribute to the betterment of the church and Sweet Meadow, I hope you accept my apology for being such a rotten kid.”

Evie whisked off the cloth with a flourish that would have made a magician’s assistant proud, and there was her trump card to a committee starved of baked goods; glorious poles of lamingtons, scones, slices, brownies, blondies, fruitcakes and, in the centre, gleaming so darkly that light disappeared into it, a majestic chocolate gateau.

Those Pleasant Girls had me laughing and cringing, often at the same time. If I hadn’t tried some of Evie’s tricks to snag the guy I thought was right for me, I definitely had friends who had. Evie’s daughter, Mary, brought back very vivid recollections of all those teenage angst years. It really was a delightful read.

Pan Macmillan very kindly offered two books to give away to celebrate the release of Those Pleasant Girls. Thank you to all those who entered! Keep your eyes out on my Facebook page for my next giveaway!

Written by Nadia

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