Goodness, Grace and Me – Julie Houston – Review & Q + A

I am very excited for today’s post because not only do you have my book review, but I was lucky enough to get an interview with Julie Houston!

20131230-103926 pm.jpgFormat: E-Book (Kindle)
Publisher:
Published:
Pages: 305

Rating: 5/5

The Blurb
When Harriet’s husband, Nick, throws in his safe, but boring job in order to set up a new business during the current recession, Harriet is distraught. More so when she realises Amanda, her and best friend Grace’s old enemy from school is back in their lives. Amanda, it turns out, is Nick’s new boss’s wife and, because of her legal and language skills, will be accompanying Nick on his business trips to Italy. How will Nick not succumb to the ruthless charms of the utterly gorgeous Amanda once he’s away from Yorkshire and in glamorous Milan? Knowing Nick is being seduced is bad enough, but when Grace falls madly in love with Sebastian, Amanda’s precious, much younger son, it can only mean trouble ahead. Determined to fight for her man, Harriet’s seduction techniques go into overdrive. Unfortunately she is hampered in her attempts by two bolshy teenagers, an increasingly eccentric mother and a job teaching horrible children. Not to mention something very strange going on at the bottom of her garden!

Can Harriet save her marriage, and also her friendship with Grace? And what will happen if Nick’s new venture fails, especially now that the one thing Harriet has not even considered in all this mess appears to be staring her right in the face…?

(Blurb from Goodreads.com

Click the ‘continue reading’ link for my review and Q + A Session!

My Review
Thank you to Julie for sending me ‘Goodness, Grace and Me’ to read and review.

Goodness, Grace and Me was a brilliant read and will definitely put a smile on all your faces! Julie’s writing style is crisp and clear, which aids in the enjoyment of the novel.

Harriet is the main female lead and is a woman who is struggling. She’s a teacher, a mother of 3 and a wife to Nick. One unsuspected evening see’s Nick admitting that he no longer wants his job and goes into business with another man named David Henderson.

Harriet needs a gold medal and a big gold medal at that, how she dealt with what she did is beyond me! Granted, she did have a few tearful moments, but I’m sure we all would given the things she had to put up with.

Harriet has a friend in Grace and they’ve been friends even since school. Grace is the best friend a girl could ask for and in book land everyone should have a friend like her. She’s funny, confident and even through heartache she’s still smiling. I don’t think Harriet would have coped with life is she didn’t have Grace at her side. We all need a Grace.

I was very annoyed with Nick and I’m glad he isn’t my husband. He left Harriet at home with everything and then also, made her think he was having an affair with a woman called Amanda. It does take two to tango, however, and Amanda was as much to blame! She’s the type of woman that flirts with anything! I think it annoys me because I believe that if you’ve got a husband or wife at home you should be faithful, and no amount of flirting is ever acceptable! Anyway, rant over!

Goodness, Grace and Me will make you laugh out loud and think ‘Julie is clever and I love how she’s written this novel’.

Q + A Session
I was also lucky enough to interview Julie about her book! You can read the interview below!

Welcome, Julie to ‘A Book and Tea’ and thank you for participating with the interview!

Julie’s latest novel ‘Goodness, Grace and Me’ is a laugh out loud, romantic comedy, which came from a comment a pupil made to her when she was teaching.

“I started writing when one of the children in my class told me I had the biggest tits he’d ever seen! My horror turned to uncontrollable hysterics when he added, “My last teacher’s were nowhere as big and always in red – never in green!”

For those who aren’t familiar with your work, what can people expect from your latest release?

“Goodness Grace and Me” is a Romantic Comedy and, whilst essentially still chicklit, I hope it’s a little different from the usual frothy boy meets girl, girl goes shopping etc. In fact, apart from the mention of a couple of Mulberry bags and a fab MaxMara dress, shopping isn’t mentioned much at all because Harriet is broke after her husband’s company dies in the current recession and she has to return to a teaching job she was never very good at in the first place. I actually believe in ‘love at first sight’ and wanted to get over to the reader the intensity of that emotion and how, after many years of marriage and all the minutiae of everyday life, that emotion inevitably wavers. But more than anything I wanted to make people laugh and keep turning the page and hopefully that’s what readers do.

Harriet and Grace have a great friendship and have been friends since school. Do you have a friend like Grace you can always count on?

The friends I had at school didn’t continue into my adult life – we all went our separate ways and when we see each other we are perfectly friendly but there’s not a hugely strong bond between us. I think, in creating the friendship between Harriet and Grace, it must have been something I was subconsciously wishing I’d experienced. I now have a really wonderful band of women friends with whom I chat and socialise and eat and to whom I tell secrets and I wouldn’t be without them for the world. But, at the end of the day, the ‘Grace’ person is my sister. We are incredibly close and she is always there for me even though she has suffered some ill health over the years. We can still fall off our chairs with laughter remembering things from our childhood and she is always the one I would turn to – a steadfast rock.

Harriet is from Yorkshire, a teacher and a family type of gal, would you say you based Harriet’s character on yourself?

In some respects yes, I suppose I did, although I think I’m a lot more independent than Harriet. She married young whilst I was having far too good a time being single to get married straight from university as was the case with Harriet . Also, I have loved every minute of teaching – I still do one day a week now just to keep my hand in – whereas it’s never really been Harriet’s thing. Someone once said to me after they’d read “Goodness Grace and Me” ‘I know all about you and your husband now’ and I said, ‘Don’t believe all you read!’ My husband is certainly not Nick! Mind you, Harriet and I do have cleaning the granite in common. I suffer totally from CGD (Compulsive Granite Disorder!)

if your book was made into a movie, who would play your characters?

I’ve been asked this before so I’d better go with the same answers. No problem with Sebastian – he’s definitely Enrique Iglesias. Grace could be played by the ravishing Orla Brady (the Irish one in “Mistresses” but obviously with a Yorkshire accent rather than Irish) whilst Amanda has to be Cameron Diaz. Harriet’s husband, Nick is either Jude Law or possibly, man of the moment, Ryan Reynolds. As long as he is gorgeous with brown eyes. As for Harriet, I still don’t know. I guess she’s a bit close to home and so is still up for grabs!!

When you were growing up, who was your favourite author? And what was your favourite book?

Just a couple of weeks ago I hosted “An evening with Julie Houston” with all proceeds going to the NSPCC (I used to be branch secretary here in Huddersfield) and began the talk with growing up as a reader and my favourite books. I told the story that, whenever I was ill in bed as a child, the one book I would reach for again and again was “What Katy Did” by Susan Coolidge. The bit where she falls off the wood-yard swing and is paralysed used to have me in tears and I would become Katy. We were one! (I always was a bit of a drama queen.) Actually, as I write this I’m suffering from some horrible post-Xmas virus and feeling terribly sorry for myself having been left at home with a chest infection, a depressed dog and half an abandoned turkey (quite dead) whilst my lot ski in Chamonix. Not that I ski, but that’s not the point. I can feel a Katy moment coming on!

What are you working on now?

Well, they say series and sequels are all the thing at the moment, so I am half way through the sequel to “Goodness, Grace and Me.” My husband is doing up an old barn in his spare time and I was going to write a book called “Fifty Bales of Hay” (kidding!) but Harriet and Grace wouldn’t let me go so I’m having great fun with them again. Suffice it to say that Harriet is being a bit wayward now. I’ve tried to get her under control but she’s certainly showing a different side to her character this time!!

And finally, everyone who visits my blog gets asked this question, how do you like your tea?

What a great question. I can only drink very weak Earl Grey or Lady Grey, milk but definitely no sugar. I drink gallons of the stuff in big red pint pots (that’s a Yorkshire term for you!!)

Thank you so much for letting me share this with you and all the readers of your great blog,
Julie xx

You can purchase ‘Goodness, Grace and Me’ on Amazon UK| Amazon US

Find out more about Julie at www.juliehouston.co.uk and on @juliehouston2

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