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Book Review | The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnson

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts about The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnson.

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Book cover for The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnson.  Orange background with the title in white and author name in blue.  3 caricatures of a woman with dark hair sandwiched between an older lady and her family
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster UK (14 Oct. 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 448 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1471198995
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1471198991

Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation – caring for her parents and her children, supporting her husband Bruce, holding them all together and caring for them as best she can.
Then the arrival of a large orange skip on her mother’s estate sets in motion a cataclysmic series of events which leads to the collapse of Shay’s world. She is forced to put herself first for a change.
But in order to move forward with her present, Shay needs to make sense of her past. And so she returns to the little village she grew up in, to uncover the truth about what happened to her when she was younger. And in doing so, she discovers that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the only way is up.

Book Review

I know I’m always in for a treat when I step into one of Milly Johnson’s worlds.  The Woman in the Middle took me to the depths on many levels.  It’s one of my top reads this year.

You don’t have to be a part of this generation to be able to relate to this story.  If you have an emotional connection with anyone in your life – friend, parents, partner, children, sister (or remember what it’s like to be 16) you’ll be emotionally invested.  I can guarantee it!

When we first meet Shay, she’s just going through the motions and putting everyone’s needs before her own.  Until a catalyst strikes, quickly followed by more events, which force her to step back.  She needs to resolve her past before she can move forward.

Along the way there are a few secrets and surprises.  The way Shay handles herself shows how her confidence grows and gives her a voice.  I literally fist pumped the air at one particular scene!  I even dreamed about it.  That’s some powerful storytelling right there.

I always enjoy Milly Johnson’s characters and apart from Shay (who is an inspiration) I think the one who stands out for me is Courtney.  She really is unique, walking to the beat of her own drum! Of course, she would attend Tommy Tanner’s boxing classes 🙂  I loved her transformation.

I’ve felt the rawest of emotions as I’ve walked by Shay’s side (both dark and light).  The challenges she faces are experienced by many in their day-to-day lives.  I’m not going to share what they are – you’ll need to discover them for yourself.  But I will say that Milly Johnson writes about these issues sensitively … whilst not holding back. She says it as it is. 

The Woman in the Middle is a world where sacrifices are made, challenges bring strength, and secrets revealed lead to wholeness. 

I felt like my heart was broken and then put back together in a different way!  I had a few late nights reading this story because I just couldn’t put it down.  I loved it!

The Woman in the Middle by Milly Johnson is out now, published by Simon & Schuster in hardback, eBook and audiobook.

Milly will be joining My Weekly for a virtual event on Thursday 21st October at 7pm – register for free here.

The cards available in the printable mindfulness card deck

Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. A Sunday Times bestseller, she is one of the Top 10 Female Fiction authors in the UK, and with millions of copies of her books sold across the world, Milly’s star continues to rise. Milly was chosen as one of the authors for The Reading Agency’s Quick Reads 2020 campaign. My One True North is her seventeenth novel.   Milly writes from the heart about what and where she knows and highlights the importance of community spirit. Her books champion women, their strength and resilience, and celebrate love, friendship and the possibility of second chances. She is an exceptional writer who puts her heart and soul into every book she writes and every character she creates.

Twitter @millyjohnson

Books by Milly Johnson

The Happiest Ever After

Together, Again

The Woman in the Middle

My One True North

Sunshine Over Wildflower Cottage

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