What Women Want, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


A heartwarming and witty novel about female friendships and how they will outlast any man from the author of The Secrets Women Keep Bea, Kate and Ellen have always known that they can depend on each other, no matter what.

But as each reaches a new phase in their life, their bond is put to the test. Recently-divorced Bea's job is in jeopardy as she grapples with a new boss and her power-hungry younger colleagues.

At home she has to deal with a stroppy teenage son and the gaping hole left by her ex-husband.

Feisty, impulsive and never one to give up, she throws herself back onto the dating scene.

Her friends will hold her steady. Stressed-out Kate contends with an empty nest now that her children have left home, a frantic pace at work as a GP and the growing realisation that her marriage has definitely lost its shine.

Reliable, hard-working, how can she find the energy to keep going?

At least her friends will lift her spirits. Then Ellen, who has devoted herself to her two children and her small art gallery for the last ten years since her beloved husband died, falls head over heels in love with Oliver. When Oliver forces Ellen to re-evaluate everything about herself and her future, so Bea and Kate are driven further away from their friend and from each other as they react differently to this unfamiliar stranger in their midst. A novel about love and life and the issues that face women today as they try to decide what they want - and come to realise what they really need...


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I was asked to review this book by a PR company in England, who kindly sent the book to me all the way to Australia. On the back, this looked like the type of book I read for my chick lit fix – three women, all friends who each have different problems but get through it. The cover also had a quote from one of my favourite writers, Penny Vincenzi (as an aside, her new book is released in Australia in September). However, the women in this book were older than your usual chick lit (perhaps I should call it mummy lit?) – late 40s or early 50s. Never mind, it was still interesting even though I’m nowhere near that stage of my life!Although this book subscribed to the usual setting of three friends, very different in nature but who have a strong bond, there were differences that made the book stronger for me. Each of the women has a strong career, something I usually find lacking in chick lit. (Kate is a GP, Bea works in publishing and Ellen runs an art gallery). Even though they are of similar ages, each is facing a different problem: Bea, newly divorced, is looking for love while controlling a teenage son; Kate is worried that her husband is becoming increasingly distant; and Ellen has found love in the shape of Oliver – but how will her children react? Each of these stories is told with gentleness and humour. The strength of the trio’s friendship is exemplified by Bea’s determination to find out exactly what Oliver is hiding in order to protect Ellen. Although Bea’s detective work is intense and well-researched (she is a publisher after all), the climax where Ellen finds out about Oliver is not that powerful. The epilogue is probably more powerful as it again demonstrates the strength of their friendship and doesn’t tie up everything neatly, making this book more true to life.This was a light read, easy to pick up and put down (I tested this to the nth degree, as I was on call 24/7 while reading this book). The characters are engaging and strong (I’d love to see Bea in her own book) and defies many of the chick lit stereotypes. There’s no Manolos and cocktails, these women really could be the friends of a real person. Enjoyable.