Saturday 17 October 2009

The Handbag and Wellies Yoga Club - Lucy Edge

"Can a city girl flower in pastures new ? ... What happens when an urban girl swaps her kitten heels in the city for karma in the country?" The title, strapline and front cover all give the impression that this is going to be your usual work of chicklit, so as I pulled it off the bookshelf, I was expecting romantic tales of rolling in the hay with the local hunky gentleman farmer and a modern, sexed-up version of The Good Life ! So I was surprised to see that this is actually a memoir, where Lucy Edge relates, with heart-wrenching honesty, her problems with infertility.

Having been a career girl and travelled the world, Lucy, now in her early forties and having found her man, decides it's time to move to the country and get on with having kids. She is stunned and angered to learn that one of the celeb-mummies' best-kept secrets is that, despite what the glossy mags would have you believe, you have only a 4% chance of having a baby after the age of 40, even with IVF. Why are women not told this, so that they can take the necessary measures, such as freezing their eggs, before it's too late ? That is a very good point and hopefully, this book will make a few women sit up and listen and react, avoiding themselves some heartache further down the line.

This is a true life story so she doesn't get her "and they had lots of children and all lived happily ever after" happy ending. But that is not to say that it is a depressing, tragic tale. Supported by her fellow "Bad Girls" yoga-friends and bolstered by a few spiritual epiphanies, she manages to work through the pain and disappointment to find acceptance, contentment and an alternative happy ending. It's actually a very positive, uplifting, empowering story.

Yoga plays a big part in the book - when she's looking for new friends, she realises that her "tribe", where she will find her soulmates, are almost certainly hanging out at the local yoga classes. The closest I have ever come to anything vaguely relating to yoga is watching an episode of Yogi Bear and Booboo (!), so the many references to positions were totally lost on me, but her straight-talking, light-hearted way with words had me hooked right up until the end.

Lucy's previous book, Yoga School Dropout, focused on her yoga experiences in India. Her fans who come to this book expecting more tales of yoga and mysticism may be disappointed, as it focuses more on the other aspects of her life. But that opens up a whole new "mainstream chicklit" market and I'm sure many new readers will discover and thoroughly enjoy Lucy's funny, warm and engaging style of writing. Not at all what I expected but a great read nonetheless.

star rating : 4.5/5

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Ebury Press (6 Aug 2009)
ISBN-10: 009193009X
ISBN-13: 978-0091930097

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