Publication: 8th August 2019 – Trapeze
Two mothers. Two daughters. One school place.
Imogen and Lily are old friends – they’ve shared hangovers, unsuitable boyfriends and wild nights out together. But now they’re mums, and their partying days are behind them.
When a place comes up at one of the best primary schools in the area, both women want it for their daughters. From faking religious beliefs to bogus break-ups, Imogen and Lily will go to any lengths to secure the perfect school for their children – and so will all the other mothers.
Will their friendship survive the strain? Will their marriages take the pressure? And when a sexy new vicar arrives on the scene, will the mothers’ keep focus for long enough to keep their eyes on the prize?
A hilarious, heartwarming read, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Fiona Gibson.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE SCHOOL RUN, the entertaining debut novel by Helen Whitaker. A huge thank you to Tracy Fenton and Trapeze for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of the novel.
There is nothing more competitive than getting your child into one of the best schools in London, as Helen Whitaker shows in her novel. We have two friends, Lily and Imogen. They used to live together and be best friends. Marriage, children, and career made them lose contact, but now they are both living in the same area and competing to get their daughters into the prestigious St Peter and Paul’s Infant School. The competition is high and all the parents are ready to do anything to get a place for their own children. And while Lily and Imogen try to rekindle their friendship, they also have to face problems at home and with their jobs.
I didn’t know that getting a child into a school could be so stressful. Helen Whitaker portrays a detailed and realistic picture of parents who are willing to pretend they are religious and go to mass every Sunday just to have their child going to the right school. We see them join the organic mothers group, flirt with the hot vicar, hunt for a house by the school to be in the catchment area, and argue over the characters of the Nativity. Some stories made me laugh, some stories were utterly incredible and yet believable.
The chapters alternate between Lily and Imogen. Sometimes I didn’t like them and I found them frustrating, like when Lily kept asking Imogen to babysit her daughter or when Imogen was so keen to live by the school that she would buy a place she didn’t like without asking for the opinion of her boyfriend. I also found them relatable and human. They are mothers trying to do their best for their children, they have to juggle work, house, school, and sometimes with no much help from their partners. They are superwomen and I couldn’t help but sympathize with them.
The story is refreshing and funny, with a few emotional and heart-warming moments while addressing more serious issues. A story not only about parenting and marriage, but also about friendship and loyalty, THE SCHOOL RUN is a compelling read that I highly recommend!
Helen Whitaker is a 37-year-old, journalist and mum-of-one living in Walthamstow. She is the former Entertainment Director of Glamour, and has written for a number of publications including Stella, The Telegraph, Fabulous and Total Film. Helen is currently Acting Deputy Editor at British Airways High Life magazine.