When It All Went to Custard by Danielle Hawkins
Jenny Reynolds is a part-time building control officer and full-time mother, and she wasn’t having a great day on the 23 February, even before she learnt that her husband was having an affair. She is embarrassed and surprised but discovers that her honest reaction is relief, not heartbreak. But being a solo mum is a hard job, and there is the added complication that she is probably going to lose the family farm. She doesn’t really know what she is doing, and she doesn’t want to ask her ex-husband for advice.
When It All Went to Custard follows Jenny’s life over the next year, with all the ups and downs of family life and farming, of complicated family relationships and creating new boundaries with her ex, and also a slow burning and surprising spark with a farming neighbour.
Although I’m a city girl, I enjoyed learning a little about farming in this entertaining novel. I also thought the scenes with Jenny and her young children were endearing. In fact, the whole book is endearing. Jenny is such a plucky character, even when things seem to be going from bad to worse. But I never gave up hope that things would turn around for Jenny, so I was very pleased with the ending. This book hits all the right touches, with engaging characters that draw you in, with great themes of family and resilience and having a go at things.
I love When It All Went to Custard, it feels like a warm bath; it has so much humour, heart and soul. I will look forward to Danielle Hawkins next novel with anticipation!
Reviewer: Karen McMillan