The Widow’s Weeds by Allie Cresswell @Alliescribbler #ContemporaryFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #TuesdayBookBlog

It’s my pleasure to share my review for Widows Weeds by Allie Cresswell. I chose to read and review the book based on a copy kindly supplied by the author.

During the tour, the other books in the series will be discounted.

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This the third book in the Widows series and as I haven’t read the previous books, I can say it definitely works as a standalone. I soon became familiar with the characters who were showcased in previous books. In the first book, The Hoarder’s Widow, Maisie lost her husband suddenly and it was only after his death she began to understand why he was driven to hoard things to such a degree.

Minnie, in The Widow’s Mite, married later in life and when she was left alone in the large house where she and her husband lived, no-one guessed the dire straits Minnie found herself in. But there was hope on the horizon. The Widow’s Weeds centres around Viola, and includes the ladies from the previous books. They have become friends through Gwen, the catalyst, helping abused and vulnerable women to heal and hopefully begin new lives. Maisie’s story runs alongside Viola’s as she copes with house renovations, an over attentive admirer and her prickly daughter’s wedding.

Viola’s husband was an unpredictable abuser, she never knew when some usually small thing would set him off. Her garden was her haven and she spent hours crafting a beautiful and calm space until the day she found herself in hospital, lucky to be alive.

From the shower room came a gush from the cistern and then a frantic knock and rattle as the ancient plumbing protested at the shower being switched on. Still, she did not move her head. Instead, she practiced the art perfected over the years of abandoning her body to inhabit her mind, withdrawing to that secret chamber where no one could intrude.

The story alternates between Maisie’s and Viola’s perspectives, two complete opposites, although they have a shared love of gardening and a need to come to terms with both past and present. Maisie is a gentle soul, always thinking of others and putting them first, as opposed to waspish and disagreeable Viola. From the beginning we know how horrendous Viola’s life had been and I could only feel sympathy for her, yet at the same time wonder why she stayed. Life hadn’t been kind to her and the final blow completely knocked her for six and sent her off the rails.

Allie Cresswell has insightfully created a cast of fully formed characters, taking the reader into their lives with descriptive prose loaded with imagery and flashes of humour. Themes of abuse, manipulation, bereavement and alcoholism are dealt with sympathetically and without being gratuitous. The Widow’s Weeds is about women helping other women, forging friendships and finding the strength to deal with what life throws at them and is ultimately, despite all that happens, an uplifting story.


123851164One evening, Viola goes missing.
The explanation—a visit to her son—seems doubtful, and her women friends’ messages go unanswered. A spiky, caustic woman, Viola’s heavy drinking makes her tiresome company, but they know nothing of her troubled past.
Yet, Maisie misses Viola. Recently, their shared love of gardening has almost blunted Viola’s barbs, and Maisie is much in need of a close friend. Her house is a building site, her daughter’s wedding is looming. Most worrying is her friendship with handsome, formidable Oliver Harrington. She cannot work out what he wants from it, nor, really, what she wants, either. She barely has time to wonder where Viola has gone.
As Maisie grapples with her present-day preoccupations, Viola’s tale unfolds: a dark landscape of tragedy and suffering. Their two stories collide in an explosive finale. Can the two women rescue each other?


Allie CresswellAllie Cresswell is the recipient of two coveted One Stop Fiction Five Star Awards and three Readers’ Favorite Awards. Allie was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil. She went on to do a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London. She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

Find out more about Allie on her WebsiteFacebook and Twitter

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