- Author: Margaret K Johnson
- Published: October 2015 by Crooked Cat Publishing
- Category: Contemporary Romance
Jen’s partner Michael has never been in a relationship for more than four years, so with their fourth anniversary coming up, she’s getting understandably nervous. Especially as she’s just discovered she’s pregnant, and she knows Michael doesn’t want any more children other than Kyle, his teenage son.
Jen and her partner, Michael, met at a fancy dress party almost four years ago. Michael made it clear from the start he didn’t want children as he already has a son from a former relationship. Jen has just discovered she’s pregnant and is apprehensive of Michael’s reaction and elated because she’s been quashing her desire to be a mother. Despite her friend Marcia’s urging she didn’t set out to deceive Michael, it’s just one of those unforeseen occurrences. Jen has every intention of telling Michael immediately but he arrives home on a motorbike, not very family orientated, having traded in the car. Jen is also nervous because Michael seems on edge lately and she wonders if he’s having a mid-life crisis. Not to mention the fact his previous relationships have never lasted longer than four years.
After talking to Hannah, her ex’s mother who she is very close to, Jen decides to do all she can to save her relationship with Michael, which involves drastic action. If she can find out, and understand, why Michael’s past relationships didn’t last she might be have an idea how to save her own.
We eat our pasta for a while, both busy with our own thoughts, and then Hannah wipes her mouth with her napkin. “It’s a shame we can’t find out why all those past relationships of his ended, isn’t it? If we knew that, then we’d have more of an idea of the pitfalls you might be facing.”
Something sparks to life somewhere inside me. “You’re right,” I say. “It would be good to know that.”
Hannah sighs. “Though I suppose there would be no easy way to find out, would there?”
Kyle, I think, my brain racing. Kyle, Michael’s teenaged son, has kept in touch with most of Michael’s exes. And, of course, he’s the son of one of them. I could ask him. I could do some investigating; set out to meet some of them. Why not? What have I got to lose?
Jen feels Michael has always held something of himself back and coupled with his strange behaviour, causes Jen to suspect he is planning on ending things between them. That feeling and Jen’s secret affects them both until it seems nothing will be able save their relationship.
I enjoyed reading Taming Tom Jones very much. Romance isn’t usually a genre I choose unless it has other elements to the story. This book deals with some serious issues and is well crafted, sensitive and with no over exaggerated, slushy sentimentality. Characters are well defined and mostly easy to relate to. I particularly liked the relationship between Hannah and Jen but couldn’t really warm to Marcia for quite a while, even though I was able to sympathise with her situation.
The structure of the story works really well. Jen tells her story in the present and the first person. Alternate chapters reveal Michael’s story from when he was a little boy, until the two timelines merge past with present and complete the understanding of why Michael has become the man he is. I became lost in the story and found it quite moving.
About the author
Margaret K Johnson was born in Hertfordshire, England. She now lives in Norwich, UK with her partner and their super bouncy son and dog. She writes women’s fiction for Omnific Publishing and Crooked Cat Publishing and readers for people learning to speak English for Cambridge University Press and Cengage Learning.
Margaret takes her research very seriously. For her novel A Nightingale in Winter, about a volunteer nurse in the First World War, she immersed herself in original diaries written by VADs, doctors and ambulance drivers at The Imperial War Museum. When she was writing The Dare Club, her search for authenticity had her taking part in tree top assault courses and performing stand-up comedy in London comedy clubs.
Margaret has also extensively used her own life and experience in her books, and her novel Taming Tom Jones, to be published by Crooked Cat Publishing in October 2015 is to be dedicated to all the commitment phobic men who have passed through her life.
As well as fiction, Margaret has written plays and screen plays. Her comedy GODDESS was performed at Cambridge Drama Centre to rave reviews.
Margaret has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.