When Andi met Ethan, should found a man with a ready made family. He came with his two daughters, twelve year old Emily and seven year old Sophia. Whilst she and Sophia instantly bond, Ethan’s older daughter resents the new woman in his life, usurping her mother’s rightful role. But Andi is desperate to be a mother, she was planning her family from the very first date so she throws herself into making a patchwork family, no matter what Emily throws at her.
Female characters whose only purpose in life is to reproduce irritate me. I know so many people will enjoy this book and completely relate to Andi but she made me want to throw the book out the window. I’m not saying it’s not life-changing to find out you won’t have kids but she has an amazing job, a too-good-to-be-true husband and at least one step-daughter who dotes on her. Yet she goes on like she has nothing else in her life. She is completely obsessed with getting Emily to treat her like a mother and I just wanted to side with Emily even though she was being a selfish teenager. She has got a selfish role model after all, Andi never really thinks what anyone else wants or needs. Even when she is momentarily distracted, the hope of a baby is dangled in front of Andi and she loses all reason again.
Emily’s character actually saved the book for me. Yes she treats her step-mother horribly but Andi is such a wet blanket that she is just providing rope to hang herself with. A product of a broken home, Emily not only has to deal with every day school life but she has a mother who is an alcoholic and a step-mother that sees her as a replacement daughter that’s not quite perfect enough, especially not when compared to her sister, Sophia.
I loved the rollercoaster ride of Emily’s side of the story. Her narration doesn’t start until after the bombshell has been dropped and you’ve already been painted a picture of her as a rebel teen. She understands a lot more than Andi would expect and she’s been really stupid but she’s also been used. To see her grow into an adult from her very lowest point in life is really touching, even though she makes irresponsible choices again and again.
The Patchwork Marriage is published by Penguin and is currently available in trade paperback and ebook formats in the UK, with the regular paperback available from 21st June 2012. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.