Books · Crafts

Laura’s Handmade Life – Amanda Addison

Laura Lovegrove has moved to Norfolk with her husband Adi and two children Lilly and Daisy because of Adi’s job. In terms of their finances everything is now suddenly becoming much harder one of the main reasons for the relocation.  Laura is trying to fit into life in the country and nothing is going to plan.

Laura is trying to be a good wife but her husband Adi is withdrawing further and further away from her and she does not know why. Isolated in a village where she is slowly starting to make friends means she has no one to talk to and ask for advice then someone from her past turns up? Will he make her see what she has been missing?

Laura is trying to be a teacher at the local college and in terms of her pupils she is succeeding. From the college point of view and her boss she is somewhat lacking in preparation, avoids health and safety rules and lets the pupils craft and art just come from their hearts.

And Laura is trying to just do that, work with her crafts from her heart. Her heart lies in vintage fabrics and fashion , and her passion if not obsession for these causes much sadness in her life but it takes a long time and a near disaster for Laura to realise that perhaps vintage does not have to remain that be brought up to date. And so begins the new life for Laura.

This is a debut novel and in the main taps into the chick-lit market even more so if you are a fan of crafts, there are plenty of ideas that jump off the page and the descriptions of colours, textures and projects will hail any crafter. However the story is rather weak in parts and it was a struggle to read in parts. Adi is a very one-dimensional character and his rather annoying attitude never really making his mark in the book or with Laura. If it was me I would have quite happily strangled him with a vintage frock! More could have been made of the teacher side of Laura’s life as this did have some very funny moments.  For me this book needed a bit more polishing, in sewing terms the tacking stitches could still be seen and that made me cringe at parts. However, I will pick up her next novel which is currently in progress.

I admit to falling in love with the cover of this book it would be great to have a touchy feely version with all the fabrics on it. I really want to make some bunting, but I never seem to have the time amongst all the other things I make.

The book has references to all the stitches that can be used at the beginning of each chapter (as well as patterns at the end of the book) and this brings a homely comfortable feel to the book. The novel did not really live up to that, and some areas were coasted over too much which would have made better reading e.g. the students at the college Laura teaches in. Other areas were too much e.g. the yurt was not properly explained and I had to look it up as to what it was and then only did I understand the relevance to the novel. So much more could have been made of this and brought in line with the craft element of the story.  This is where the novel fell down for me, but not so much that I can say I did not enjoy it. 

I will read the next novel (working title Laura’s Handmade Christmas) because I feel that there is more to come with this author. I also think that reading about her background on her website, there is some probably autobiographical elements throughout the book which does draw me in. Perhaps a more craft related book might be the way for this author to go rather than novels?