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Cat Lady: The hot, must-read Richard & Judy Book Club novel for summer 2023 from the Sunday Times bestselling author

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So when I saw she had a new book out, I jumped at the chance to review it – and Net Galley sent me an advance review copy. Trying to get back into reading and this book kept me wanting to continue and found it funny in spots, also relatable if you have a cat you love. I think the only thing stopping this getting one star is that I flipping love cats and would absolutely lay down my life for mine - I am cat lady, so those segments where she just loves Pigeon so much got their hooks in me hard.

Although I was intrigued to see where the novel was going to end up, I found that the humour felt a bit forced and sometimes missed the mark for me personally.A shocking event will judder shockwaves through Mia’s life – but will she keep a cat-like balance, or flounder? She's a good wife to her husband Tristan, a doting stepmother, she slips on her suit for work each morning like a new skin. It was heading for 1-star, which is rare for me, but I’ll admit I did like the ending, which redeemed it a little - but not enough to recommend it. Sometimes she has a bit more than 'it all' - there's her husband's ex-wife who spends way too much time at their house and has way more opinions about everything Mia's doing wrong than could really be considered appropriate. Brought tears to my eyes, made me laugh out loud, gave me food for thought and was a total surprise.

There’s is no such thing as ‘just’ a pet - they are the family, heart and soul of its owner and very difficult to express to someone who doesn’t understand the significance a pet has on one’s life and how they often come first in their lives.Don’t get me wrong, if you got rid of all the uncomfortable encounters, or at least toned it down a little, it would’ve had the potential to become quite an impactful story about mental health and self discovery, and at times it was. She has made thirteen documentaries about all sorts of things, including polygamy, childbirth, geishas, body image, breast cancer and even the movie DIRTY DANCING. Its about time we had a heroine who isn't obsessed with babies (or dogs) but cares about her career and her cat. Mia is 45, and happily married (separate bedrooms), lives in a nice house (originally bought by her hubby and his first wife), is a great step mum (although the first wife/mother is always popping round); has a great job (she has to micromanage the gormless chief executive) and is in love (with her cat, 'Pigeon') and is pretty much living the ideal conventional life, but is this the life that Mia wants?

When a shocking event shatters the conventional life she’s been so careful to build, Mia is faced with a choice. What Mia is truly lacking are friends and she's so lonely that she joins a therapy group for people who are grief-stricken after losing their pets - even though hers is still very much alive. I enjoyed the fact that the protagonist was an older lady - in her 40s but she wasn't relatable to me in any way, shape, or form. When a shocking event shatters the conventional life she's been so careful to build, Mia is faced with a choice.But I did, in one night because I got glued to it and it was such a relaxing read and there were various topics I could relate to. The ending was very sweet but could only really have occurred with some kind of divine intervention! As a self confessed wannabe ‘cat lady’, I really enjoyed reading Mia’s journey from her ‘safe’ existence to her self-realisation of the person she truly is - an independent cat lady living for herself.

As she stumbles through marriage troubles, job troubles and general life problems, the one consistency is her cat. Most of her life is under complete control but little bits are fraying around the edges and she's at risk. It’s all too easy to give plot spoilers away in these reviews, so I’ll restrict myself merely to saying that after a few chapters, Mia is faced with a life choice brought about by a shattering event that tears open the superficially conventional life she’s been leading thus far. I won't say anymore on the plot as presumably with the lack of synopsis the reader is supposed to go in blind, so I've put this under a spoiler just in case it spoils it for anyone. Dawn is the bestselling author of the novels The Cows and the Richard and Judy Book Club pick So Lucky, and her non-fiction title Life in Pieces was also a Sunday Times bestseller.Sometimes she's way too open - the visit to the GP to get support with her crabs is a stand-out moment. Dawn O'Porter is a broadcaster and print journalist who lives in London with her husband Chris, cat Lilu and dog Potato. Funny, original and incredibly entertaining – the perfect Christmas book for the cat ladies in your life!

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