Cover Image: The Marriage Mender

The Marriage Mender

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Member Reviews

Another fabulous read by this very talented author. Her style of writing and totally believable cast of characters grabbed me instantly. Loved it!
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I loved One Moment, an emotionally charged and poignant book, but I'm not a fan of this one. I had high expectations and maybe it was the wrong approach as it's a different type of story.
I will try again but it wasn't my cup of tea.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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This is a book about relationships and how complicated they can be.  It was both entertaining and keeps you interested and enough twists and characters with secrets.  Recommended
Thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy of this book
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I really enjoyed this book.  It was a great storyline with excellent characters.  I would highly recommend this book as it was a great read.
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Marriage guidance and relationship counsellor Alison Bentley lives with her husband, Chris who is a photographer, and is mum to nine-year-old Matilda, and step mum to sixteen-year-old Josh. Lydia, Josh's mum left Chris when Josh was still a baby and she hasn’t been around since. But on his birthday, Lydia turns up to see her son...

Set in West Yorkshire this is a delightful tale and I immediately connected with Alison, despite her job as a relationship counsellor. The fact that a lot of the story takes place in the Bentley family home could have made this rather tedious, but this wasn't the case at all. The storytelling is interspersed with italicised sections some of which made me smile. This was my third novel by Linda Green and I adore her writing style and the way she manages to get the reader rooting for her believable characters so quickly. A clever, engrossing tale about complicated relationships within blended families.

Disclosure: Thank you to Quercus for providing a digital ARC of The Marriage Mender by Linda Green via Netgalley for review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Alison is a marriage counselor. When her husband's ex returns to claim her son back, the son she abandoned 16 years ago, it inevitably puts a strain on Alison's family.
Her job is to save other people's relationships, but can she save her own?


I read a few books from this author, and I always enjoyed them.
While this was a good read that held my interest steadily, I found that the second half of the book fell flat, and therefore I struggled to stay invested in the story. The twist at the end was unexpected, but I'm still puzzling over who the in-between italic chapters were about.
It was an OK read, so I give it 2 stars.
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This is a good family drama with well described characters. Parts of it seemed familiar and I realised it was a reprint that I had read before. Equally good the second time around !
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I originally read this in 2017 and vaguely remember the plot but was intrigued to reread and see if my thoughts remained the same. 

Alison is a relationship councillor who is married to Chris. She is step mum to Josh whose mum abandoned him when she left Josh and Chris when Josh was a baby. Alison and Chris have daughter Tilly and at the start seem a strong family unit. The family begins to implode when Josh’s mum comes back and is still the rock and roll chick she was when she left 16 years ago. She creates chaos in the lives of the family and rifts which extend out beyond them.

The story deals sensitivity with difficult subjects like rape, abuse, abandonment and addiction. We see how the perfect family is torn apart by these and other issues and how the myriad of characters deal with things in their own way. It is interesting that Alison as a councillor tries to heal her own relationships and is unable to do so without outside help. 

I particularly liked the character of Barbara, adoptive mum of Chris. She shows compassion, understanding and complete loyalty to her adoptive child and his family and great courage meeting his birth mother.

As with last time I read this I would give 4 stars. Mainly this is because the ending is far to abrupt and the return could have been expanded a chapter or two.

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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My first thought upon finishing this book was "WOW!" and then it went something like "where has Linda Green been all my life?" Seriously though, this is not my usual genre and when I do read contemporary fiction I tend to be rather picky about them. But this? This was something else entirely. It's a feel-good family drama with love and laughter, sadness and heartbreaks and yet it was still something so much more than that. I can't even begin to put my finger on it...but whatever it was, I loved it. And I loved this book!

The story opens with an initial therapy session to which Alison and husband Chris have come to help them identify the issues they have been facing and how to address them. Which is kind of ironic since Alison is a relationship counsellor herself, and she cannot help but see the irony here or the utter ridiculousness of their situation. Their 9 year old daughter Matilda called her the "marriage mender" as she helps keeps people's mummies and daddies together when they are rowing about stuff a lot. And here she is seeking her own marriage-mender.

But what has lead her and Chris to this point? Well, where do they start? Chris was the first to speak. It all began on Josh's 16th birthday...

It began like any other day, except that Matilda was bursting with excitement waiting at the breakfast table for her big brother Josh to make an appearance so they could shower him with their gifts. He was ecstatic with the guitar Chris and Ali had bought him and the amp to accompany it closely followed by the black on black clothes Matilda had lovingly chosen for him at Oxfam. And later that day, their gran was coming over and together they would enjoy a birthday tea together completed with an enormous chocolate cake that Ali had made. But something happened between those two events that set the wheels in motion to bring change into their happy contended lives.

Although Alison isn't Josh's biological mum, she has loved and nurtured him for ten years as if he had been. She met single dad Chris when Josh was just six years old, his mother having walked out and left him when he was just six months old. Chris had returned home from work to little Josh screaming in his cot in a sodden nappy with his mother, along with her belongings, gone. And then one day, Chris walked into a library with Josh where Alison was telling the gathered children a story. After that, they were regular fixtures at storytime until Josh invited Alison to his birthday party...and the rest is history. Or is it?

The knock on the door was surprising. Alison wasn't expecting anyone just yet with Josh over at Tom's and Chris having gone for a walk and Barbara wouldn't be arriving till Chris collected her. But as soon as Alison opened the door she knew exactly who it was standing in front of her. Lydia. After sixteen years since walking out on them without a word, she was back. The fact that it was Josh's birthday was hardly a coincidence for with her was a gift for the son she abandoned. Little did Alison know that with Lydia's return would be wreaking ball driven right into the heart of their happy family.

So why has Lydia returned after all these years? Why now? She wants to see Josh and the young man he is becoming but surely she had to know that her sudden reappearance after sixteen years without a word would throw his life into turmoil? He's a teenager and is not equipped to deal with such a disruption to his life, particularly with his exams approaching. But she had a special gift she had always meant to give him should she ever seen him again...and in that moment when he unwrapped it, Alison knew that Josh was going to give his mother a chance - he was that sort of person. But with that chance came broken promises, impromptu visits, drunken insults and broken hearts. And in the middle was Alison, trying to do the right thing for everyone...to keep her family together and keep everyone happy.

Soon cracks began to appear. And the sniping started. And then after one too many drunken outbursts and attacks on their family, Lydia threw a grenade into the mix with explosive consequences that no one could have foreseen. And in a blink of an eye, Josh was gone. And in the aftermath, blame was assigned as tears fell and life began to fall apart.

Then when Barbara revealed a secret that she was never to reveal, Alison knew then that her family needed help. And so she and Chris sought relationship counselling to help find a way through the rubble and back to each other.

But nothing prepared either of them for what was about to come...

I absolutely loved THE MARRIAGE MENDER, almost reading it in one sitting if not for the extremely late hour and needing sleep. That said, upon waking this morning I went straight back to it and didn't stop until the last tear-jerking page. Completely absorbing from the first page, THE MARRIAGE MENDER is a delightful and emotional read that is sure to tug at your heartstrings.

Ali was a wonderful character and I connected with her from the beginning, caring for her deeply as well as her beautiful family. Even Matilda I found to be endearing, and I am not one to be enchanted by children, but she had an uncanny knack of the most uncomfortable questions but she is rather intelligent beyond her years. Her relationship with her half-brother Josh is an endearing one to read. Chris is a wonderful father and husband although he could be annoyingly silent when you just wanted to shake him into sharing what was deeply troubling him and why. He was incredibly hurt by Lydia so his wanting to protect Josh from his train wreck of a mother is completely understandable. Barbara is Chris' mother and is the stoic matriarch with enough love and understanding to envelop the family in. Until secrets are revealed to put everyone and everything they knew to the test. But it was Josh who my heart went out to the most, having his world turned upside down and is so utterly confused by the new revelations in his life. His struggles were heartbreaking to read as is the final extreme decision he made.

The issues addressed in THE MARRIAGE MENDER cover abandonment, domestic violence, alcoholism, adoption, runaways, teenage pregnancy and depression which may be a trigger for some but each is approached and explored sensitively.

Overall, THE MARRIAGE MENDER is a wonderful emotional read that is compelling from beginning to end that even when I turned that final page I wasn't ready to let go of the characters and their stories. This is my first read by Linda Green and, if this book is anything to go by, it won't be my last.

A well-written family drama that is perfect for fans of Nicole Trope, Kerry Fisher and Julia Roberts.

I would like to thank #LindaGreen, #Netgalley and #Quercus for an ARC of #TheMarriageMender in exchange for an honest review.
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EXCERPT: Polly turned to my form. It was only a matter of time before she found out now. I waited, watching her face for the sign. To be fair, she didn't even flinch.

'Ah, Alison, I see you're a counsellor yourself. What sort of areas do you cover?'

I hesitated. Aware how utterly ridiculous it was going to sound. I thought of what Matilda always said when people asked her what her mother did. She called me a 'marriage mender'. Said I kept people's mummies and daddies together when they were arguing a lot. My stomach tightened as I wondered what on earth she would think if she could see her marriage-mender mummy right now.

'Relationships,' I said to Polly, trying to keep my voice as low and as even as possible. 'I'm a relationship counsellor.'

The silence hung heavily in the air. Chris put his head in his hands.

I smiled weakly. 'It is rather ridiculous, isn't it?'

'Not at all,' said Polly. 'I'm divorced. I'd say that's more ridiculous.'

ABOUT 'THE MARRIAGE MENDER': The only relationship she can't save is her own . . .
Alison is a marriage counsellor. Her job is to help couples who fear they have reached the end of the line. But the trouble with spending your time sorting out other people's problems is that you tend to take your eye off your own. Even when her husband's ex Lydia arrives on the doorstep demanding to see her son, Alison thinks she can handle it. But what Alison doesn't realise is that Lydia is the one person who has the ability to destroy their perfect family. And sometimes the cracks can run so deep that even a marriage mender can't repair them . . .

MY THOUGHTS: I read this in one sitting, and I loved every word. The Marriage Mender is beautifully written, it's characters so very real that it is impossible not to care about them. I felt like I was right there with them as their family life fell apart after Lydia inserts herself back in Chris' and Josh's lives while Alison scurries about trying to keep everyone happy and hold everything together.

Dramatic humour abounds. I laughed. I cried. I gasped, both in horror and in astonishment. I threw up my hands in exasperation. I air punched in triumph, and groaned in despair. The Marriage Mender is a very emotive read.

All the way through I was rooting for Chris and Alison's relationship. I wanted it to work out. They obviously love one another, deeply, passionately. But is that enough?

Complicated family relationships. Humour. Lies. Secrets. A delicious combination with enough twists to keep my mind spinning.

The Marriage Mender is not predictable. The outcome is up in the air until the very final page. A compelling and entertaining read, and one I wholeheartedly recommend.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.7

#TheMarriageMender #NetGalley

I: @lindagreenbooks @quercusbooks

T: @LindaGreenisms @QuercusBooks

#fivestarread #contemporaryfiction #familydrama #mystery #sliceoflife

THE AUTHOR: Linda Green wrote her first novella at age nine. Unfortunately the pony-based, time-travel thriller genre never took off. She did, however, go on to become an award-winning journalist and has written for the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday and The Big Issue. Linda lives in West Yorkshire, is married to a sports photographer for a national newspaper and has a six-year-old son.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Marriage Mender by Linda Green for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage
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Absolutely fantastic.  I have some questions left unanswered and would love to have known more re the ending but then I reflected on it and it fitted and I don't want to know more. 

 I don't want to say too much as if I do there will be spoilers.  Safe to say started this in an afternoon and finished reading late that night as I wanted/needed to know what happened next. 

I was given an advance copy by netgalley and the publishers but this in no way influenced my review.
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Literally read this book in one sitting - Linda Green's writing is just so easy to read, and captivating.
This story was really interesting, it didn't particularly feel original - but the characters were written so well that the lack of originality in the plot didn't matter. The characters just felt so real. They were flawed, yet so likeable. I could relate to each of them. 
The ending was slightly far fetched, but because of that it helped to wrap everything up nicely - even though it wasn't particularly believable. 
Overall I really enjoyed this book, and it was the perfect read for sitting in the garden on this sunny day!
Bring on the next Linda Green book!
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“The Marriage Mender” is a story about – surprise, surprise! – a marriage mender. Alison’s job is to help other couples, to make them understand each other better, to help them to solve their problems, to help them to find they love again. She is married to Chris and they have a daughter, a nine – year – old Matilda, very resolute girl with a tendency to ask wrong questions at the wrong time. They are also raising Josh, Chris’s son from his first relationship. Everything looks brilliant, till the day when Chris’s ex Lydia re-appears and wants to renew contact with Josh, who she walked out on when he was a baby. Chris can’t forget her for this, and doesn’t want anything to do with her but right now it’s about Josh. Is Lydia going to mess up the family’s life? Did she change? Are her intentions really innocent?

Alison. I would say she is really good at her job and I also warmed to her and to her calm, quiet way. I liked her but there were moments that I felt really desperate with her and I wanted to shake her and yell at her, woman, stop being so understanding! Stop speaking all the time as if you were in your office, stop being the peacemaker for a while, make a mistake, say something wrong, and stop calling people “love” all the time! But yes, she wanted to make peace with everybody, I guess that in real life she would be a little grey mouse, not outstanding, sitting in a corner girl. I liked her composure in crisis situations, even if the situations were concerning her or her family, as it’s not so easy to keep your cool when it’s about your closest ones.

There were also the children that have brightened the book, the way Alison and Chris were dealing with them was really good in my opinion, although there were moments that they were treating them too much as partners and not as children. Sometimes I was up to my nose with Matilda, yes, she was a very resolute and clever girl but I had the feeling that the whole world is turning around her, she was the real apple of the eye of the whole family.

I totally enjoyed reading about Alison’s clients, they were like a breath of fresh air to the story and made the book much more interesting. It also happened that one couple that Alison was counselling is going to be much more significant than I have supposed and although some may say it was too big a coincidence, I enjoyed this part of the book and liked how the two stories intertwined. At the beginning of each chapter there were also some short snippets of notes from very different therapy sessions, I don’t know if they were real or not, but they were great and added much light – hearted feeling to the read. Some of them were really funny, some of them ridiculous, some of them make me roll my eyes at the thought of a people being so careless in their relationships.

As the story continues, it reveals many secrets that the characters keep. And while I understand that Chris was so hurt in the past, I really don’t follow his way of thinking and not telling Alison about such important things that happened in his life. They were great together, Alison and Chris, and it was a real pain to see them struggling to communicate, and I actually hated Lydia for spoiling their perfect little life. Although I must also ask myself, what with the hidden secrets, was their life really so perfect? In theory – yes, so again, why did Chris hasn’t opened himself to Alison earlier? My guess is it wouldn’t change her feelings to him.

Altogether, it was a really good read about some important issues that you can meet in your life, some very unexpected situations and how to deal with them. Written in a great, engaging way, Linda Green has for sure found her voice and gave us a great story. My only problem is the ending, which seemed a little too rushed and not as well polished as the whole book but it’s just a little thing that didn’t spoil the story. “The Marriage Mender” is a novel about people like us, with very realistic problems and the way the characters were trying to come to term with those problems seemed also very real and not too pushy. Truly recommended!
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As I was reading this book I kept getting the feeling I’d read it before. After I finished it I discovered it was first published in 2014 so I obviously read it previously,   It didn’t however stop me from enjoying this  family drama.  A very good story which kept me interested the whole way through this book.
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I’m a big fan of Linda Green’s books and this one certainly did not disappoint.
Being a ‘marriage mender’ for other people and then having to work at your own relationship can prove very difficult.
The characters were drawn very well and the storyline raced along at a good pace. I found it a real page Turner and would thoroughly recommend.
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WoW I just love the way Linda Green writes her books that are always so beautifully written and I am always hooked within the first few pages and I end up stay in my chair until i have finished the book on my kindle, This was was no different to the other two I have read,
The Marriage Mender by Linda Green was just Beautifully written and I loved it, especially as it was a easy read and the words just flowed and had a perfect ending. 

I am a big fan of Linda's books now especially as this book kept me up all night reading it. So glad I don't have work today! These are so good.

Big Thank you to to Quercus Books, Netgalley and especially Linda Green for the advance copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.
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The Marriage Mender 
I give this book 3.75 stars 

Alison is a marriage mender. Her job is to help couples who fear they have reached the end of the road. So when her husband's ex Lydia arrives on the doorstep demanding to see her son, Alison thinks she can handle it. But what Alison doesn't realise is that Lydia is the one person who has the ability to destroy their happy family. And sometimes the cracks run too deep to ever be repaired . 

A good,well written family drama. Down to earth characters that felt real.A storyline that delves into how our past effects who we are today,the struggles we endure and what family means to us. An easy to read,enjoyable book.
With thanks to Netgalley,Linda Green and Quercus Books
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Told over three parts, from a happy family unit where cracks start to surface on the arrival of Josh's birth mother, to the aftermath of her initial return, followed by more heartache and family secrets uncovered.  Alison, Josh's step Mum is a councilor who focuses on mending marriages,  but will this help mend her own families troubles... 

From the very first to the last, this story will keep you gripped on a rollercoaster of emotions on numerous counts.  Another great read from Linda Green, look forward to the next book.
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Alison is a marriage counsellor. Her job is to help couples who fear they have reached the end of the line. But the trouble with spending your time sorting other people's problems is that you tend to take your eye off your own. Even when her husbands ex Lydia arrives, on the doorstep demanding to see her son, Alison thinks she can handle it. 

Alison and her husband Chris have their lives up-ended when Chris's ex-wife Lydia turns up on the doorstep to dee her sixteen year old son Josh. Chris and Alison have a daughter, Matilda. Lydia left when Josh was just a baby. Things start to go wrong from the day Lydia returns. 

This is an emotional rollercoaster read. The story covers; adoption, abandonment, missing persons, trust and alcoholism. We get snippets from Alison giving counselling to other couples. I felt Chris and Alison could be living in any house in any street as their story was realistic and relatable. I also liked Chris's mother Barbara who didn't take anyone's side. The only person I didn't really like was Lydia. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story which held my attention throughout.

I would like to thank #NetGlley #QuercusBooks and the author #LindaGreen for my ARC of #TheMarriageMender in exchange for an honest review.
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The Marriage Mender is an absorbing read. 
Alison helps couples to save their marriage, however, behind closed doors, hers begins to fall apart.
Alison's family consists of Chris (husband), Josh (Alison's stepson), and Matilda - (Alison and Chris's daughter.)
Alison's world begins to fall apart when Lydia - returns to Josh's life - upsetting the family dynamic.

The story moves between Alison and Chris's family to Alison's clients - this was a good contrast and kept the story entertaining.

The dramatics that play out on the page keeps the reader hooked and it was an easy read.
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