The Woman in the Middle – Milly Johnson


Release date: eBook and Hardback 14th October 2021, paperback 3rd March 2022


Shay Bastable is the woman in the middle. She is part of the sandwich generation – caring for her parents and her children, supporting her husband Bruce, holding them all together and caring for them as best she can.

Then the arrival of a large orange skip on her mother’s estate sets in motion a cataclysmic series of events which leads to the collapse of Shay’s world. She is forced to put herself first for a change.

But in order to move forward with her present, Shay needs to make sense of her past. And so she returns to the little village she grew up in, to uncover the truth about what happened to her when she was younger. And in doing so, she discovers that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find the only way is up.

My review:

Long time blog followers will know that I LOVE Milly Johnson books and I wait every year with anticipation for the latest book. This book did not disappoint. I was lucky to be given an advanced copy through NetGalley.

This book really hit a nerve. I am at that time in my life where my kids are getting older (almost 21, 18 and 13) and they need me less and I am finding that I have time to re-discover myself. I am fortunate that my parents aren’t elderly and demanding of my time, but I do want to spend time with them and do stuff with them.

Shay is at that crossroads. Her marriage is a bit stagnant, her elderly parents have failing health, her kids have flown the nest and she worries about the choices they are making. And, alongside this, Shay has some things from her past that she has never dealt with.

I really loved the little threads of stories that Milly wove into this book – and with Shay being the centre, like a maypole. I’d love to see another book set in the village Shay grew up in. My favourite part of the novel is where Shay goes back to revisit her past.

This is a great book – and easy read (I hate that term) but one which tackles tough issues: Loss/grief, mental health, adultery, parenting, identity…… I also think it’s one of the darkest Milly has written (no spoilers, but when you read it you will see what I mean!).

Completely recommend this book, a perfect read as the long autumn nights draw in.

Links to buy this book:

Click to buy on Amazon

Click to buy from Waterstones

Click to buy from an independent book shop on bookshop.org

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