A very very happy publication day to Rachel Marks, who succeeded in brightening up a week that was really gloomy for me!
Title: Saturdays at Noon
Author: Rachel Marks
Publisher: Michael Joseph Books
Date of publication: 6 February 2020
Format: Advance Copy
When Jake and Emily meet, sparks fly.
And not the good kind . . .
Emily just wants to keep the world away.
She doesn’t want anyone to know all the ways her life is messed up.
Going to anger management every Saturday, talking to strangers, was not part of the plan.
Jake just wants to keep his family together.
He’s also messed everything up.
Going to anger management is now his best hope for bonding with his six-year-old Alfie.
Emily can’t understand why Jake – who seems to have it all – is even there.
Jake can’t understand why Alfie – who never likes strangers – lights up around spikey Emily.
Everything they think about each other is about to change.
But can they change how they feel about themselves?
Some books give you hope. Saturdays at Noon did just that. And a little more!
Are you familiar with anger? I know I am! Do I need anger management? No!!! Well, I don’t think so… And Jake and Emily feel the same.
Jake, stay-at-home dad, finds himself at anger management to save his marriage and connect better with his son. Emily, waitress, ends up there after an ‘incident’ But do they really belong?
In the midst of grownup problems is cute Alfie, six-years-old and experiencing the world in a way that baffles his parents…
I dare you to read this novel and not fall for those characters. Saturdays at Noon was just what I needed. A reminder we are all messed up in some way, that we don’t get anything perfectly, but that it’s okay. And most of all, that life has a weird way to solve issues.
I don’t often fall for guys in books. Something always bothers me. But Jake, with his efforts, his struggles, and his desire to make things better, simply won my heart. I couldn’t resist and the more I learned about him, the more sides of his personality I discovered, the more I wanted to spend time with him. Believe me, it doesn’t happen a lot. In fact, it rarely does. So kudos to the author for creating such a fun, caring, vulnerable, and sexy character!
Emily, oh Emily! I wanted to hug her despite understanding very quickly that this would have landed me a weird glance and a ‘what the hell?’ Haha! The walls around her are high, so high that only little Alfie finds a way through, like a teeny tiny mouse. Their bond is almost instant. Why do some souls just click? Well, there is something in the two of them that recognise the other as an ally.
From there, the road is bumpy! Between each Anger Saturday, Emily, Jake, and Alfie evolve, and dance a curious dance. One step forward, ten steps backwards! They all have personal issues to deal with, and subtly, the author creates doors so they can understand themselves and each other better. It is through the others’ eyes that this little tribe gets to evolve and move forward. Finding out about what drove everyone to where they currently stand is fascinating, heart-breaking, but also weirdly reassuring. We all mess up and no one has the answers.
Alfie is at the centre of this book, and if you are lucky to listen to Saturdays at Noon in audiobook, you will hear the author’s son Jacob! Alfie is inspired by Rachel Marks’ son and maybe this is the reason why me, the woman who really doesn’t like kids, adored spending time with this fun, fragile, and sweet boy. Autism is a big word, and there is a lot we don’t know. Myself, I was puzzled at some of the things Alfie did, because, as the author shows in the book, it is easy to misread signs from an external point… And she offered me a way in. And it was hard, but rewarding, and oh so lovely.
And eventually, the same lesson applied to the adults. From the outside, judgement is easy. But behaviors and words take root in our experience, so why not be a little more understanding?
There is so much wisdom, empathy, joy, and challenges, all glued together with Lego parts in this book that it is an absolute delight to read Saturdays at Noon. Hilarious moments and stolen happiness dwarf the frustrations of everyday life. I love how the anger management sessions seem so useless, but end up being just what Emily and Jake need to find their way to a better life. A better life with its struggles, because I am not a fan of absolute happiness. What’s the fun in it? Rachel Marks made me fly and enjoy the romance and victories, but kept my feet on the ground, finding the perfect balance for a sweet and uplifting novel that warmed my heart and made me smile. I will not forget Emily, Alfie, and Jake!
You can get your copy of this novel here!
A massive than you to Sriya and the publishing team for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. This review is my unbiased opinion.
Rachel Marks studied English at Exeter University before becoming a primary school teacher. After having her first son, she decided to focus mainly on being a mum, teaching one day a week and nurturing her creative side by starting a small photography business.
Despite always loving to write, it wasn’t until she gained a place on the 2016 Curtis Brown Creative online novel writing course that she started to believe it could be anything more than just a much-loved hobby. Her inspiration for her first novel came from the challenges she faced with her eldest son, testing and fascinating in equal measure. When she discovered Pathological Demand Avoidance, a poorly understood Autism Spectrum Disorder, she could finally make sense of her son’s behavior, and the idea for the first novel fell into place.
When not writing, she loves dragging her husband and two boys around Europe to off-the-beaten track and sometimes sub zero destinations, snowboarding and sightseeing, the kind of trips that would undeniably be easier without children but only half the adventure…