The Cactus

Sarah Haywood. Park Row, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1899-6
A cactus is the perfect metaphor for Haywood’s hilarious and endearing debut about a prickly woman who thrives no matter her environment. Londoner Susan Green is a controlling single 45-year-old woman who is successful in both her professional life as a civil service worker and in her personal life with formally scheduled liaisons with Richard, a similarly organized and methodical businessman. Susan’s disciplined life is rocked when her widowed mother dies and the will specifies that Susan’s undeserving, ne’er-do-well younger brother, Edward, whom Susan despises and has little to do with for good reason, can inhabit the family’s suburban home until he wants to sell it, at which time the proceeds will be evenly split. To make matters even more complicated, Susan discovers she is pregnant with Richard’s child, whom she will raise alone because she doesn’t want to be beholden to anyone. She intends to prove that her brother, now living in the house with his buddy, Rob, had undue influence on the content of their infirm mother’s will. As Susan builds a case against her brother, she forms a dubious connection with Rob, hoping that will help her garner the truth about Edward’s motives. What she eventually learns—not only about her mother but also about herself—thoroughly alters her approach to life, which Haywood lovingly and humorously demonstrates is actually a very good thing. The novel is consistently enjoyable, anchored by the splendid character of Susan. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-7783-6912-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5385-1603-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-5385-1602-7
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-7783-6907-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5385-1604-1
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