The Woman who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson
Published by Avon
25th February 2016
Forget about having it all. Sometimes you just want to leave it all behind.
Audrey is often seized by the urge to walk out of her house without looking back – but she can’t possibly do that.
She is a single parent. She is needed. She has a job, a home, responsibilities…and a slothful teenage son’s pants to pick up.
But no one likes being taken for granted – Audrey least of all – so the time has come for drastic action. And no one’s going to stand in her way…
Sometimes you just need some light-hearted relief and that was what was necessary in my life when I was perusing the bookshelves in my local supermarket the other week. I spied Fiona Gibson's latest novel and immediately decided that it was the tonic I was after. I started it the very next day, and finished it the same evening.
Audrey is a dinner lady and single parent to the rather lazy Morgan. She is having a relationship with Stevie, a man whom she only ever meets at service stations up and down the country as he passes through with his work dealings - cue: highly suspicious thoughts towards Stevie from the outset. When she wins Dinner Lady of the Year she has the option of a £5000 cash prize or a week at a luxury hotel learning how to cook alongside celebrity chef Brad Miller. Initially she decides to take the cash, who wouldn't? but when her son presents her with a list of 'wants' to be purchased from her winnings, Audrey starts to question whether she has made the right decision. Without telling anyone, she changes her mind, and heads off to a week at a luxury hotel for a course in French cookery. After all, what could possibly go wrong?
From the moment she arrives in the hotel, you can tell that Audrey feels out of her depth. Her son can't use the washing machine, and Stevie fancies rocking up and emptying the mini bar. However what Audrey does learn is that she can, in fact, cook and she's pretty good at it too. Meeting new friends and enjoying herself, Audrey begins to let her hair down but then when disaster overtakes, she finds herself cutting her trip short and heading back up the motorway in the middle of the night.
Did Audrey make the right choice in accepting the cookery course, or should she have stayed at home and taken the money? Could it have solved all of the problems she now faces with Stevie and Morgan? Can Audrey get her life back on track?