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Flying the Nest

de Rachael Johns

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Flying The Nest is an engaging women’s fiction novel from bestselling Australian author Rachael Johns.

Ashling Wood is blindsided when her husband of twenty years casually suggests they try nest parenting while she’s busy preparing the oranges for their daughter’s soccer game. Her first instinct is to believe Adrian doesn’t understand what the term means, but he’s clear, he wants a trial separation and feels nest parenting, where the children remain in the house and the parents move in and out on an alternate schedule, is the best solution for them all.
The adjustment is difficult for a heartbroken Ashling who misses her children, ten year old Payton and fourteen year old Saxon, when she’s not with them. Taking on the renovation of a friends seaside cottage in Ragged Point during her ‘off’ weeks is a welcome distraction, and though she is certain the arrangement will not be anything but temporary, as the house undergoes a transformation, so too does Ashling.

I can’t imagine what it would be like should my husband so casually and carelessly announce one ordinary morning that he wanted a separation (touch wood). My sympathy was definitely reserved for Ashling from the start, and even though she seemed stuck in the denial phase for slightly too long, I think Johns portrayal of her character’s emotional state was sensitive and believable. There was a brutal scene in the marriage counselor’s office in particular where I really felt Ashling’s pain, and I was glad she finally got angry at Adrian, and found the impetus to take charge of her life.

The community of Ragged Point is a delightful haven for Ashling. Johns deftly creates the character of a small coastal community, and it’s there that she rediscovers, and is able to nurture, the parts of herself that have been dormant while helping her husband build their podiatry business, and raising their children. I liked the development of Ashling’s relationships with Jedda and Dan, who are great supports, but also have interesting stories of their own that add depth to the story.

Written with heart, humour, and warmth, Flying the Nest is sure to resonate with women who need to redefine their lives, whether because of a relationship breakdown, children leaving home, or other change of circumstances. Ashling’s journey is not without its challenges, but it is ultimately rewarding and inspiring, as is this novel. ( )
  shelleyraec | Nov 9, 2020 |
I always look forward to a new novel from Rachael Johns and Flying the Nest was no exception. This story combines the breakdown of a marriage with a new life in a small country town. Rachael Johns always brings sparkle when she writes about rural settings and the fictional town of Ragged Point was no exception, with its drama and warmth.

Flying the Nest starts with a bang, as the main character’s husband asks rather casually one morning if she’s heard of nest parenting. It’s Adrian’s subtle-as-a-sledgehammer way of telling Ashling that he wants to separate. Ashling is shocked and devastated, having had no idea that her marriage was no longer on solid ground. As she and their two children adjust to nest parenting (kids stay in the family home; each parent moves in and out), Ashling wonders how she can get Adrian back. To be blunt, she’s rather a mess for a long chunk of the novel. But then an opportunity arises for Ashling to renovate a small cottage on the beach in Ragged Point. It is in Ragged Point where Ashling starts to heal and see things more clearly, helped by new friends and a sense of belonging. But what happen if Adrian changes his mind? Will Ashling give up her new life for the old, familiar one?

I enjoyed the plot of Flying the Nest, as there were always things happening, whether it be in Ashling’s family or in Ragged Point. Ragged Point was a lovely fictional town, full of great people and more than a hint of drama. As I’m familiar with that area north of Perth, it was easy to picture the old and new houses (particularly the type of cottage Ashling was renovating). The characters of Dan and Jedda were wonderful, and I looked forward to reading more about them. (I’d love to see a story where Jedda is the star, as she’s got gumption and drive as well as some vulnerabilities). As for Adrian – well, he was never my favourite, and I don’t think he was meant to be. He was weak and selfish, chopping and changing his mind in addition to breaking his own rules. It made it difficult to see why Ashling wanted him back so desperately. As for Ashling, I found her very needy (especially initially) which I think was due to my own biases. I found it difficult to understand why she couldn’t stand on her own two feet and get a job instead of…well, sitting around. I understand that she hadn’t really been in the workforce, but she did have skills (Cleaning! Writing! Organisation!) and a degree that could have been deployed. She had a good role model in Hayley in that respect and I wish Hayley had pushed her that little bit harder. (Speaking of Hayley – she’s another strong character who could be a great lead!)

The writing is engaging, with Ashling telling the story in first person so the reader always knows what she’s thinking and feeling. Over the course of the novel, Ashling gains confidence which was pleasing. It’s like a coming of age story, but in later life with the complications of children, past relationships and joint bank accounts.

Thank you to Harlequin for the ARC. My review is honest. ( )
  birdsam0610 | Nov 6, 2020 |
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