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Alice has always been a trailblazer as a scientist, activist and mother. She knew her choices would involve sacrifices, but now, on the eve of her eightieth birthday, she's beginning to wonder if she's sacrificed too much.
Alice's daughter, Sappho, rebelled against her unconventional upbringing, choosing to marry young and embrace life as a homemaker, but her status as a domestic goddess has recently taken a surprising turn.
Ged has always been the peacemaker between her grandmother and mother. A tenacious journalist, she knows what she wants in life and love, yet when everything in her world starts falling apart, she begins to question whether she really knows anyone at all.
At a crossroads in each of their lives, Alice, Sappho and Ged embark on a celebratory trip together, but instead of bringing them closer, the holiday sparks life-changing consequences and lifts the lid on a fifty-year-old secret.
Can Ged rescue her family if their story is built on a betrayal?
From bestselling, ABIA award-winning author Rachael Johns comes an engrossing and wise novel about ambition, choices and what it means to be a woman.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781489261519
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Book Review: Just One Wish by Rachael Johns - Reviewed by CloggieA (27 Oct 2019)
“I want my final message to be that women should reach for the stars and embrace their independence, but that they should also follow their hearts. If I’ve realised one thing—perhaps too late— it’s that life isn’t black and white. It’s a million shades of grey and there isn’t one truth that fits everyone.”
Just One Wish is a novel by award-winning Australian author, Rachel Johns. A break-up with her lover, Christos, a sprained ankle and a crushed mobile phone: Geraldine Johnston’s already horrendous day isn’t going to improve at her mother’s house for a birthday party. Grandma Alice (Gralice) is turning eighty and, gifts received, is insisting that Ged and her mother, Sappho (call me Marie) go with her on a four-day Elvis cruise.
After they pick up their jaws off the floor (how will Ged manage to keep this died-in-the-wool feminist icon and her queen-of-the-new-domesticity daughter from coming to blows?), they eventually agree. Perhaps Ged can nose out some interesting cruise-related articles for her editor at the weekend supplement. The real drawcard, though, is Gralice’s promise to help Ged with the Alice Abbott biography she’s long wanted to write. And any distraction from missing Christos will be welcome.
But Ged wasn’t expecting to meet a handsome, ginger-haired hunk, nor what somehow follows while Marie is busy vlogging and Alice is mysteriously absent. And life from then on gets quite a lot more complicated: latent lesbian tendencies, pregnancy and paternity tests, vlogs and You-tube channels and Instagram followers, secret lovers, adultery and estrangement, publishers and public scandal, illness and regret all feature. Where will it all end?
Johns gives the reader a bunch of fun characters: apart from our protagonist, an Uber driver, a pioneer feminist, a domesticity advocate, a Mars-mission candidate and a pair of gay grandfathers make up the main cast. By the climax, a few of them are walking around with rather large secrets that are not always their own, and she throws them some very realistic life dilemmas.
While aspects of the plot may be fairly predictable, there are also laugh-out-loud surprises and shocks; ultimately, the journey to the bittersweet conclusion is entertaining and enjoyable. Johns touches on several topical themes like social media presence, Mars mission, me-too, and voluntary euthanasia, as well as age-old ones like gender equality. Funny, moving and thought-provoking, this is a delightfully engaging read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Harlequin Australia.
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