by Cassie Hamer
I’d love to live in Cuthbert Close.
From the first few pages, I was so invested in the neighbourhood I was ready to move in! Like Australia’s answer to Marian Keyes, Cassie Hamer’s terrifically entertaining story is filled with the sort of people you need in your life— and the strain on relationships you learn to live with.
Three diverse women, Cara, Beth and Alex, are central to the story and their problems— true and imagined— come alive on the pages. The story revolves around the kind of practical issues that exist in the fast-paced lives of today’s families, where women juggle and wear a multitude of hats. Written with an authentically Australian flavour, the idyllic community of The End of Cuthbert Close is easy to picture; the characters’ motivations, desires and foibles as delicious as the scent of Cara’s spicy cooking, or Beth’s homemade quiche. I particularly enjoyed the women’s waves of guilt concerning parental expectations—each carries emotional baggage that drives their decisions and sets the tension.
"You can't choose your neighbours..."
But the seemingly easy lives of those in the close are disrupted when the impeccable Charlie Devine and her teenage daughter, Talia, move in, leaving their mark on the three families. All too soon, the expectations of the families are at stake, as relationships are challenged and cracks appear beneath the surface.
The story covers a variety of issues, giving a true sense of the difficulties faced in relationships, no matter what stage of life. The ever-present voice of The Primal Guy— Charlie’s absent husband, is a brilliant device. It adds a touch of comedic relief at turning points—like an irritating itch under the skin that hints at more. I was inspired to continue reading, and rocketed through to the end, far too easily.
Now, I’m struggling to part with my new friends in Cuthbert Close…I want to stay in the pages. And that’s the best sign for me of a tremendously entertaining book.