Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Review: The Cactus by Sarah Haywood (audio)


Title: The Cactus
Author: Sarah Haywood
Narrator: Katherine Manners
Published: May 2018, Harlequin Audio / Harlequin
Length: 10 hours 30 minutes / 364 pages
Source: Audio - via Library / Print - Hardcover via Publisher

Summary: 
In this witty and heartfelt debut, one woman’s unconventional journey to motherhood means learning to embrace the unexpected
  
Even the prickliest cactus has its flower…

For Susan Green, messy emotions don’t fit into the equation of her perfectly ordered life. She has a flat that is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic and an “interpersonal arrangement” that provides cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. But suddenly confronted with the loss of her mother and the news that she is about to become a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is realized. She is losing control.

When she learns that her mother’s will inexplicably favors her indolent brother, Edward, Susan’s already dismantled world is sent flying into a tailspin. As Susan’s due date draws near and her family problems become increasingly difficult to ignore, Susan finds help and self-discovery in the most unlikely of places.

Featuring an endearing cast of characters and tremendous heart, The Cactus is a poignant debut and a delightful reminder that some things can’t be explained by logic alone.




My thoughts: This is one of those books that start off a bit slow, with a unique, quirky character that you just aren't sure of, and by the end you know that you will never forget them and not only that, you wish with all your heart for another story featuring them. This book is one to savior, one that will eventually tug at your heartstrings and have you rooting for Susan...I know I was!

Susan is so not your typical character - she is set in her ways, likes things to be in order and can come across as a bit uptight. Her life is turned upside down when her mother dies and leaves the family house to her younger brother - this completely stuns her and she decides to fight the will and along the way uncovers a few secrets that totally upend her neatly ordered life. On top of this, she also learns that she is about to be a mother herself. Suddenly the life she thought she had total control over has just spun completely out of control and she is slowly learning how to adjust. 

As the book progresses, we see quite a bit of growth in Susan. Part of this is definitely due to the whole situation that comes up with the will - the uncovered secrets, the family drama, the relationship with her brother - and part of it is definitely her learning that she is due to become a mother herself. I loved the interactions between her and her neighbor, Kate. And we cannot forget Rob - Susan's brother's friend, who Susan actually met years ago. The friendship that Rob and Susan strike up is probably my most favorite in the whole book - he is able to break down her defenses and it is fun to watch!

I really enjoyed this book...I laughed, I teared up, I found it to be full of endearing characters and I thought it was full of insightful little lines throughout. It explores numerous themes, such as family relationships and motherhood, and more importantly it takes a look at one's own vulnerability when change occurs and how we handle it. As a debut novel, this one certainly stands out and I will be anxiously awaiting what comes next from this writer!

 
Audio thoughts: I decided to listen to this after hearing rave reviews from another blogger/Instagrammer and I'm so glad I did - thank you Kate Olson @theloudlibrarylady! I thought Katherine Manners did a fantastic job - her accent was superb and she really did such a wonderful job bringing Susan to life. Her pacing and intonation were spot on and she infused just the right amount of emotion into her voice as needed. I really enjoyed listening to this book on audio and will definitely be checking out what else Katherine Manners has narrated! 


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1 comment

  1. This sounds absolutely lovely! I'm always looking for a good audiobook, so I'll have to see if my library has this. The main character kind of reminds me of my sister, so maybe I'll send her a copy too. :p Great review!

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