‘I don’t have any friends, only dog ones, because they don’t make you do bad things. I don’t want any human friends, actually. It’s for the best.’

Hope Nicely hasn’t had an easy life.

But she’s happy enough living at 23 Station Close with her mum, Jenny Nicely, and she loves her job, walking other people’s dogs. She’s a bit different, but as Jenny always tells her, she’s a rainbow person, a special drop of light.

It’s just…there’s something she needs to know. Why did her birth mother abandon her in a cardboard box on a church step twenty-five years ago? And did she know that drinking while pregnant could lead to Hope being born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?

In a bid to find her birth mother and the answers to these questions, Hope decides to write her autobiography. Despite having been bullied throughout school, Hope bravely joins an evening class where she will not only learn the lessons of writing (including the number one golden rule of ‘show don’t tell’), but may also begin to discover more about the world around her, about herself and even make some (human) friends.

But when Jenny suddenly falls ill, Hope realises there are many more lessons to come…

Hope Nicely’s Lessons for Life is a heart-warming, coming-of-age novel about loneliness, friendship, acceptance and, above all, hope.





This is a story that centres around a young woman with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and we hear her tell her story and get to understand a little more about the disorder, and it does pull at the heartstrings! It did take me a little while to ‘get’ the way the story was told but once I’d connected more with the character and understood more about how the disorder affects her, you couldn’t help but become more attached to her and cheering her on from the sidelines!

We join her as she’s about to delve into her past as she wants to find out more about her birth mother – the woman who ‘dumped’ her on a doorstep, allowing her to be adopted by the lovely Jenny. You can sense just how much they mean to one another and when poor health hits Jenny, you pick up immediately on the shock waves that sends through Hope. Her stable little world becomes a little shakier.

As Hope joins a local writing class she is faced with new challenges such as socialising and understanding all that life throws at her. It was wonderful seeing how others started to reach out to her when they understood more about her and shows you the good side of people!

An emotional read about a gutsy character, that has moments that made you tear up, alongside those that made you giggle !


#BookReview The Woman Who Wanted More by Vicky Zimmerman


Two lonely women. An unlikely friendship. And one big life lesson: never be ashamed to ask for more . . .

 No woman dreams of being unceremoniously dumped and moving back in with her mother on the eve of her 40th birthday. Food technician Kate Parker’s first response? Denial, long days under her duvet and bucket loads of cheesy pasta. A reluctant Kate finds herself volunteering at the Lauderdale House For Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 96-year-old Cecily Finn – spiky and sharp as a pin, but the spark has gone out of her. She has resigned herself to the imminent End.Having no patience with Kate’s self-pity, Cecily prescribes her a self-help book with a difference – it’s a 1957 cookery manual, featuring menus for anything life can throw at ‘the easily dismayed’. It promises the answers to essential life questions: ‘what shall one give to one’s rich aunt Emma that will be palatable but not prodigal; to one’s husband’s managing director, at once memorable and modest; one’s old love’s new love; the man one hopes will stay on after dinner; the man one hopes will not …’

.Can Kate find a menu to help a broken-hearted woman let go? If Kate moves forward, might Cecily too?The cookbook holds the secrets of Cecily’s own remarkable and heartbreaking story, and the love of her life. It will certainly teach Kate a thing or two. So begins an unlikely friendship between two lonely and stubborn souls – one at the end of her life, and one stuck in the middle – who come to show each other that food is for feasting, life is for living and the way to a man’s heart is . . . irrelevant!

published by ZAFFRE

Publication Date – 30th May 2019


Amazon UK  £7.74

hive.co.uk  £5.99

WHSmith  £5.75


What a charming and delightful book! I adored the characters – especially Cecily! – and found it to be one of those books that is heartwarming and inspiring, and even made me shed a tear or two!

Kate Parker is the main character and her life is seemingly all going swimmingly – she’s in a loving relationship with Nick who shares her passion for food and cooking (note – do NOT read this book on an empty stomach!!) and is settled in her work life, but that settled life is soon disrupted by Nick dropping a bombshell while they’re away on holiday together and it leaves her feeling very unsettled and very down on life. She moves back in with her mum who is a completely different character to her – very outgoing and free-spirited – who tries setting her up with friends’ sons and offering her the advice to stop being the victim and to move on with her life. Kate isn’t so sure she’s able to and still pines for her and Nick getting back together.

While she has some spare time, a friend gets her to volunteer at a local old people’s home – Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies – which is full of some of the most wonderful characters, the most entertaining being 97 year old Cecily! She takes no prisoners and doesn’t mince her words and seems to enjoy heckling Kate who takes on the role of cookery demonstrator! Despite their prickly start, they soon form such a wonderful friendship as Cecily takes on the role of life advisor, and lends her an amazing cookbook that combines recipes with great life advice and Kate starts taking the pages of the book to heart.

I loved the scenes between Kate and Cecily and think I need a Cecily in my life! She’s wise, witty and wonderful! She shares her own life story with Kate, but also gets Kate to question her own life plan and pushes her to explore different things in life and to stop sitting around waiting for Nick to change his mind and to find her own worth. 

What made this story even more touching was that the author based it on her own grandmother and it really added such a wonderful feel to the book, especially with the photos of her grandmother at the end. What a woman and what a story!!


My thanks to Readers First  and Zaffre for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.