Never Greener by Ruth Jones. Audiobook narrated by Sharon Small.
I’ve discovered that when it comes to audiobooks I prefer to listen to two types; a good old crime / murder mystery that keeps you guessing or a character-led read that feels like I’m talking to a friend about their latest news. Never Greener falls into the latter category and I have to say, it had a familiar, cosy feel that I always looked forward to dipping back into.
Author Ruth Jones is also an actress and best known for writing and starring (as straight-talking Nessa) in the brilliant TV show Gavin and Stacey. So I was a fan of her and I’ll admit that was what enticed me to listen to this book, as the synopsis is not one that usually appeals – it is a little chick-lit, not a genre I tend to read.
So, onto said synopsis: When she is 22, Kate Andrews has an affair with an older, married man, Callum McGregor. She falls for him hard, but when the chips are down, he chooses his wife, Belinda and Kate is left heartbroken. Years later, Kate is now married to Matt, has a daughter, Tallulah and is a successful actress. Yet she is never satisfied with her life. On paper she has it all, but deep down she has never gotten over Callum. When she is booked to appear at her old primary school, she has no idea that Callum is now working there and seeing him again ignites something inside her. Is she going to throw away all she has now for a man that didn’t choose her all those years ago?
I found Kate a tricky character to like. She is very self-obsessed and although harbouring heartbreak for most of her life, this didn’t elicit sympathy from me, as she had a very spiky edge that made that difficult. As she is the lead character, I found that I would look forward to chapters that focused on one of the other characters – Hetty, for example, a supporting character who gets her own endearing story line that always brought a smile to my face. And Callum – the man who has such a hold over Kate – is, well, a little boring. Plus, he happily cheats on his pregnant wife with a 22 year old he just met, so he’s not winning a lot of Brownie points there.
Overall, Never Greener held my attention even if I wasn’t completely invested in the lead characters. After all, relationships are tricky beasts and nothing is ever simple – something this book does capture really well. Also, Sharon Small is a great narrator, she hits the accents (a mix of Scottish, Welsh, Yorkshire and Southern) on the head and differentiates perfectly for each character, so listening was a pleasure.