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‘Smart, brave and often very funny . . . profoundly moving’ Sarah Haywood, author of The Cactus

This morning Gigi left her husband and children.

Now she’s watching Real Housewives and drinking wine in a crummy hotel room, trying to work out how she got here.

When the Twin Towers collapsed, Gigi Stanislawski fled her office building and escaped lower Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry. Among the crying, ash-covered and shoeless passengers, Gigi, unbelievably, found someone she recognised – the guy with pink socks and a British accent – from the coffee shop across from her office. Together she and Harry Harrison make their way to her parents’ house where they watch the television replay the planes crashing for hours, and she waits for the phone call from her younger brother that never comes. And after Harry has shared the worst day of her life, it’s time for him to leave.

Ten years later, Gigi, now a single mother consumed with bills and unfulfilled ambitions, bumps into Harry again and this time they fall deeply in love. When they move to London it feels like a chance for the happy ending she never dared to imagine. But it also highlights the differences in their class and cultures, which was something they laughed about until it wasn’t funny anymore; until the traumatic birth of their baby leaves Gigi raw and desperately missing her best friends and her old life in New York.

As Gigi grieves for her brother and rages at the unspoken pain of motherhood, she realises she must somehow find a way back – not to the woman she was but to the woman she wants to be.


An unforgettable novel about love – for our partners, our children, our mothers, and ourselves – pushed to its outer limits.

Reviews

A profoundly moving story showing the redemptive power of love and acceptance - of friends, family and also of ourselves. Smart, brave and often very funny . . . I was captivated
Sarah Haywood, author of The Cactus
Illona Bannister is the best friend every new mother wants-the one who tells you it's OK to fall apart and the one who makes you laugh until you get back up again. This first novel is a wise, big-hearted, triumphant story of marriage and motherhood
Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lies that Bind
A beautiful and unflinching story of loss, motherhood and love in all its forms. Both heartbreaking and funny, Bannister perfectly captures the brilliant darkness of existing. I adored this brave debut.
Ella Berman, bestselling author of The Comeback
Gigi is sharp and funny and endearing
Kirkus Reviews
A big-hearted novel, beautifully written and riven with a rich seam of humour
Yorkshire Living
Bannister's emotionally raw debut offers an unflinching glimpse of new motherhood
Publisher's Weekly
This book ripped me open and stared right inside of me. I have never read words that described so perfectly so many of the feelings I've had (and still have)
Mia Vaughan @cigarettesandcalpol
A powerful and compassionately told story of loss, grief, love and motherhood
Daily Mail
An incredibly raw and unflinching debut that will stop you in your tracks
Heat, 4* review
The most perceptive and engaging story about motherhood that I've read
Tillylovesbooks via Twitter
A thematic companion to Kiley Reid's Such a Fun Age, Bannister's novel is a searing insight into the complexities of motherhood and the interminable frustration of the tiny needs, musts, and wants that keep a family moving. A gripping, introspective read
Booklist