Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Review: - Laura's Handmade Life by Amanda Addison

Those of you who have been paying attention to my posts (or lack thereof) lately may have noticed that I'm on a bit of a handmade/self-sufficiency kick at the moment. Surprisingly it's lasting longer than such fads usually do, although that may have something to do with the fact that my sister and I have just signed up for our first craft fair in August (eeeeeek) so now I'm freaking out trying to make enough stuff in time. Anyway, that's kind of by the way except for the fact that Laura (of the Handmade Life) pretty much does in this book exactly what I'm trying to do. Here's the blurby bit from Goodreads:

Laura Lovegrove didn’t really want to leave her busy life in Ealing – all her friends lived there, it was easy to keep her two little girls entertained, and she had lots of quiet space to work on her fabric designs. But when architect husband Adi is relocated to rural Norfolk, Laura puts on a brave face and ups sticks to the sticks. She knew village life would be different, but she wasn’t quite prepared for a pokey cottage, nosey neighbours, errant poodles, and even a significant ex turning up. Worst of all, a house fire at Laura’s cottage destroys most of her beloved vintage clothing collection. Left with just scraps of fabric, Laura is determined to breathe new life into them. At the village’s sewing group she learns how to back stitch, cross stitch and a whole lot more – her new love for sewing could be her fortune! She turns her scraps into purses, bags, ties, even dog leads (which should solve the poodle problem), and soon is inundated with orders. But Adi is growing increasingly distant, just as ex Chris starts to show a whole lot of interest in Laura and her designs …

Straight up I have to get one thing out of the way. Laura spends a lot of this novel going on about how great living in Ealing was. My parents just moved to Ealing and I really have problems believing anybody would think it was that great. However I am prepared to admit that I'm biased against it because they moved from gorgeous, green and leafy, almost the countryside but still close enough to London to class as London Hampton Hill and that's where I spent my whole life before moving to Kent. Now that's out the way! 

Pretty much every summer I go on a bit of a 'chick lit' splurge. So far this is the sum total of this year's 'splurge' but I really enjoyed it so I'm probably going to go find more books like it and treat myself a bit. My favourite thing about the book was that after her collection of Vintage clothes is damaged in a fire, Laura, despite having little sewing ability, decides to repurpose all of her vintage fabrics into scarves, bags, small chicks for her kids at Easter and the like. Also, she does all of her sewing in a yurt, which just seems ridiculously cool to me. 

If you enjoy (as I do) books about women who leave a situation where they were happy, move to another place where they are initially unhappy and drift apart from their husbands and then discover their talent for something they can immediately make tons of money from and be totally successful and fulfilled, you will like this book. Also if you're into making stuff. 

Oh, and just because I haven't mentioned Chris (Laura's art school ex who magically reappears in her life) it's because I kind of disliked him. He was a bit drippy and vague and I didn't really buy Laura being that into him. Especially not over her husband, who was kind of an arse at times, but mostly quite great. 


  1. Huh, I've never heard of the crafting fiction genre before. I love the idea of breathing life into handiwork, so this must have been a good read. Especially since there is a sense of fulfillment from living off of your work!

  2. Hmmmm. I think I'll watch for this one reappearing in the shop and give it a go, it sounds rather nice and very appealing! I like 'domestic talent' chick lit - people who discover a knack for baking or craft or whatever - rather than those ones where women make it as top magazine contributors or something. I prefer being able to relate to my ladies, and have a little drool over their stuff even though it's all in my head!

    Yeah, I'm not sure that made sense. But if you stumble across any more like this, throw them our way so we know what else to look for! :)

  3. You have just reminded me that I've totally been to Ealing! Which, yeah, apart from location-wise, I kind of feel like it doesn't have TONS going for it, but I did just go in this one pub so how would I know?!

    I think I've seen this book a few times and liked the cover and stuff, but have always kind of passed it by... But it sounds pretty nice and easy-going, if that's even a descriptive word for a book (which it clearly is not)

  4. You signed up for a craft fair!? Bex, that's AMAZING! Seriously, I could never ever have enough skill or confidence to do anything like that. Let us know how it goes, won't you?

    I usually go on a chick-lit kick too, but I haven't yet. I'm into my Classics at the minute, possibly because they're so immersive. That's a word, right? My spellcheck seems to think not. *glares suspiciously at red zigzag*