An uplifting story of love, loss and second chances that celebrates friendship and human connections, Being Netta Wilde is the first book I’ve read by this author.
Being Netta Wilde
Netta Wilde was all the things Annette Grey isn’t. Netta Wilde was raw, unchecked and just a little bit rebellious. She loved The Clash and she loved being Netta Wilde.
Annette Grey is an empty, broken woman who hardly knows her own children. Of course, it’s her own fault. She’s a bad mother. An unnatural mother. At least, that’s what her ex-husband tells her.
The one thing she is good at …
the one thing that stops her from falling …
is her job.
When the unthinkable happens, Annette makes a decision that sets her on a journey of self-discovery and reinvention. Along the way, her life is filled with friends, family, dogs, and jam. Lots of jam.
Suddenly anything seems possible. Even being Netta Wilde again.
But, is she brave enough to take that final step when the secrets she keeps locked inside are never too far away?
When I started to read the book, I didn’t realize that I was going to like it or be cheering for Annette to shed her baggage as much as I did! I was so fascinated by how the author literally peeled off layer upon layer of Annette for us to see Netta Wilde re-emerging from her past.
This could be a story of so many middle-aged women – suddenly becoming redundant in more ways than one. Not only did she lose her job, she seemed to lose her identity and value to her family. How she tentatively takes the hand she’s been dealt and then gradually turn it around to make her redundancy a thing to be celebrated is the essence of this story. Though, she’s supported by her new friends who’ve become family, it’s her own inner strength and resources that she digs deep into to forgive and accept herself and move forward. It’s no surprise that when she does accept herself, her children too are drawn back to her.
The story explores the various stereotypes that women are subjected to by society and how they allow this to affect their self-esteem. Finally, we are our own saviours!
The elements of friendship, community, complicated family dynamics, romance and self-reinvention make this story a very engrossing read and one that will stay with me a long time.
Meet The Author
Hazel Ward was born in a back-to-back house in inner city Birmingham. By the time the council knocked the house flat and packed her family off to the suburbs, she was already something of a feral child who loved adventures. Swapping derelict houses and bomb pecks for green fields and gardens was a bit of a culture shock but she rose to the occasion admirably and grew up loving outdoor spaces and animals. Especially dogs, cats and horses.
Strangely, for someone who couldn’t sit still, she also developed a ferocious reading habit and a love of words. She wrote her first novel at fifteen, along with a lot of angsty poems, and was absolutely sure she wanted to be a writer. Sadly, it all came crashing down when her seventeen-year-old self walked out of school after a spot of bother and was either too stubborn or too embarrassed to go back. It’s too long ago to remember which. What followed was a series of mind-numbingly dull jobs that paid the bills but did little to quell the restlessness inside.
Always a bit of a smart-arse, she eventually managed to talk herself into a successful corporate career that lasted over twenty years until, with the bills paid and the children grown up, she was able to wave it all goodbye and do the thing she’d always wanted to do. While taking a fiction writing course she wrote a short story about a lonely woman who was being made redundant. The story eventually became her debut novel Being Netta Wilde.
Hazel still lives in Birmingham and that’s where she does most of her writing. When she’s not there, she and her partner can be found in their holiday home in Shropshire or gadding about the country in an old motorhome. Not quite feral anymore but still up for adventures.
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