Review: 'The Misadventures of a Playground Mother' by Christie Barlow (2016)
After a year of country living, Rachel Young is finally getting into the swing of things. Her four kids are happy and content at the village school, and she’s managed to navigate the choppy (shark-infested) waters of the playground mafia.
Or… so she thought.
When playground mum Penelope Kensington moves herself and her kids into Rachel’s home, after discovering husband Rupert has been having an affair, Rachel knows she must ask them politely to leave. The problem is, Penelope never takes no for an answer.
As Rachel tries to deal with Penelope, she also meets new school mum Melanie. Melanie is a breath of fresh air, but her arrival sends ripples of gossip through the playground. Melanie has a few secrets in her closet, and it seems she’s not the only one…
Ever since I read her novel ‘Kitty’s Countryside Dream’ (click here to read my review), which I really enjoyed, I haven’t been able to stop myself from picking up any book that has author Christie Barlow’s name on the cover. Since then I’ve read her novels ‘Lizzie’s Christmas Escape’ and ‘A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother’, and I currently have her latest upcoming release, ‘Evie’s Year of Taking Chances’ waiting for me. However, today I have a review of the sequel to ‘A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother’ to share with all of you. ‘The Misadventures of a Playground Mother’ had been part of my to-review shelf for quite some time already, so it was definitely time for me a few weeks back to finally give it a go!
It has been roughly a year since Rachel Young, her husband Matt and their four children made their big move to the countryside. One thing Rachel was keen to leave behind was the challenge of getting along with the Playground Maffia, but the school gate politics in their little village turned out to be almost just as fierce. When Rachel’s ‘frenemy’ Penelope Kensington is dealing with some marital problems, she moves into the Young family home and Rachel is having incredible difficulty getting her out again. Luckily she meets new mum Melanie during the school pick-up and a friendship blooms up between the two of them. But every day at the school gates continues to bring new challenges, especially with someone like Penelope Kensington roaming the grounds…
I read Christie Barlow’s ‘A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother’ last year, and even though I wasn’t completely blown away by the book, I was curious to check out its sequel, ‘The Misadventures of a Playground Mother.’ In this second book we once again join Rachel and her family, but while the first book focused a bit more on actual playground politics, this one seems to move away from that a bit. The focus is really on Rachel and some of the other mums, particularly Penelope, who is one of the most frustrating characters I’ve personally ever come across. The fact that Rachel lets her get away with all the things that she does was quite unbelievable to me, and I couldn’t help but feel things just went on for way too long. Kudos for Rachel being a saint, but almost any other person would have already given up on Penelope way sooner, if you ask me…!
I’m glad Melanie, a new mother with kids going to the same school, was introduced to the story, because this really added a nice new touch to it all. While I did enjoy the book more than the first one, I still couldn’t help but not get a real click with it and the characters. I’ve really liked all other Christie Barlow’s reads I’ve read so far, but these books just don’t really seem to work that well for me. That being said, I’m sure there are readers out there who will really enjoy this, so don’t let my review put you off. All in all, ‘The Misadventures of a Playground Mother’ is a rather entertaining sequel with some nice elements in there, but still not entirely the novel for me.