This story redefines our picture of what a family is and can be. We should all be so lucky to find a family half as happy as the one built in the pages of this book.

About the Book

For a young woman in 1960s England, falling in love can be a crime—and could cost her everything . . .

In 1963 Manchester, England, a pregnancy is enough to get eighteen-year-old Janine thrown out by her mother—regardless of whether the baby’s father is Janine’s much older married boss, who’s taken advantage of her. Having spent her lonely childhood immersed in romantic books, Janine gets practical and rents out one-half of a stone cottage to wait for childbirth.

She isn’t alone long though. Laura, a newly divorced with an eight-year-old boy and a difficult past of her own, moves into the other half of the house. The two women become friends, and their relationship grows. But after Janine’s daughter is born, a social worker starts hovering, strongly suggesting that Janine allow the Catholic unwed mother’s home to put her child up for adoption.

To hold on to the happiness she’s found, Janine will have to stay strong against malicious forces—and accept help from some unexpected friends—in this richly emotional novel about finding out who you can truly depend on and who you really are.

First place winner, I AM Writing Romance Competition

“So beautifully written, sensitive, thought-provoking and quietly affecting, The Semi-Detached Women is an outstanding and unforgettable novel.” – The Book Magnet

My Thoughts

I was a little hesitant when I picked this book up. Even the first chapter or two didn’t quite sell me. But after just a bit, I was enraptured as we watched fate push these two women together in their time of need. Their similar, but very different, experiences offer them a chance for true, human connection. The atmospheric, isolated setting provides the perfect backdrop for a vulnerability not often shared, especially during the time period. The beautiful writing told a funny, sweet, heartbreaking, infuriating, and love-filled story.

We still aren’t where we need to be in terms of LGBTQ-plus rights, but the vision of terror and bigotry depicted in this book is heartbreaking and real. The early sixties weren’t that long ago – the baby in the story would have been about the same age as my mother now. These women could easily have been my grandmother. And, in the U.S. South, in some places, unwed young mothers and LGBTQ-plus teens still have horrible experiences at home.

This story might be historical in nature, but it still matters today. It shows us how much things have changed, but also how much things have stayed the same. The character building and the character growth within the story are awe-inspiring. One of the characters experiences the best growth arc I’ve ever seen in a story.

The idea of found family, and the family you choose being more important than the family you’re born with, has been a hot topic in media lately, and this story hits on that theme especially well. It’s one I completely agree with. My dad isn’t my blood, but he’s my dad. Period. If something happens to my husband and I, we have tons of relatives that could take care of our daughter, but some of our best friends are first on the list. Family is what you make of it, not genetics.

I also really appreciated the representation of at least the idea of pansexuality/panromantic ideas. We don’t get much (except for the famous wine bottle line), I think because people don’t get it really. But I also appreciated that both ladies weren’t that concerned with labels. That internal battle is authentic and hard. Seeing that representation is important, especially for young people. But even for people my age. Some of us don’t figure ourselves out until later in life.

I am so pleased I got to read this book and look forward to reading other stories by this author. I enjoyed it so much, and I appreciate the author and Love Books Tours for including me in this tour.

Question of the Day

Have you read any good found family books? Tell me about them!

Who’s It For?

If you like more modern historical fiction, especially romantic suspense, then you’ll enjoy this book. It does have several triggers and features some troubling topics, so you will need to be cognizant of that before reading. Even though it was in the description, I didn’t realize how I would take the interference of the social worker. That was difficult for me.

Content Warning: Sexual Assault, Job Loss, Pregnancy, Sexual Shaming/Moral Policing, Infidelity, Homophobia, Drug Use, Divorce, Attempted Child Removal(to protective custody), Alcohol Use, Adult Language, Adult Situations, Religious Ideology, and More. This list is not meant to be a complete list of all subjects that a person may find offensive or triggering.

About the Author

Alex Quaid lives in a little corner of England where Cheshire, the High Peaks of Derbyshire and Greater Manchester meet. Alex writes from the study of an isolated farmhouse, looking out onto steep fields bounded by dry stone walls and two streams overhung by willows. The streams meet at the bottom of the hill in a pond (Alex calls it a lake, but the neighbours disagree) surrounded by trees, reeds and blackberries. From its grassy banks Alex can observe fish, geese, ducks, moorhens and a heron. It is the most beautiful and peaceful place in the world.

This is the setting for Alex’s first novel, The Semi-Detached Women, a lyrical story of a healing friendship between two very different, and damaged, women, and how guardian angels can come in surprising shapes and sizes.

Alex’s spare time is spent as an ex officio shepherd and, right now, anxious step-parent of six (formerly seven) Canada Goose goslings.

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