Ever feel like you’re losing a race you never signed up for?
Everyone in Amy’s life seems to be getting married, having children and settling down (or so Instagram tells her), and she feels like she’s falling behind.
So, when her long-term boyfriend surprises her with a dream holiday, she thinks he’s going to finally pop the Big Question. But the dream turns into a nightmare when, instead, she finds herself on the set of a Big Brother-style reality television show, The Shelf.
Along with five other women, Amy is brutally dumped live on TV and must compete in a series of humiliating and obnoxious tasks in the hope of being crowned ‘The Keeper’.
While inside the house, will Amy learn that there are worse things than being ‘left on the shelf’?
A funny, feminist and all-too-relatable novel about our obsession with coupling up, settling down and the battle we all have with accepting ourselves, The Shelf introduces the freshest new voice in women’s fiction.
Mixed feelings about this one; I actively avoid ‘reality’ tv, but if that’s your thing then you’ll love The Shelf.
Amy feels all her friends have left her behind; while they are settled with children she is still living the single life but with a key to her boyfriend’s flat. Surely that’s a sign that he’s ready to settle down and, as the date of their holiday approaches, Amy convinces herself that he’s about to pop the question – surely? How wrong could she be?
I really struggled with the idea of this one to begin with, failing to understand why Amy just didn’t turn tail and run (as I would have, at speed!) but as I got to know the characters I began to relax and enjoy the story. With a good mix of characters, this is definitely one for the women to enjoy – and show how much more we can all do for ourselves! It is a book for all the feminists to relish and I nodded my head so often I’m surprised it hasn’t come loose! It’s a good read, despite the fact that this kind of tv show becoming ‘must not miss’ viewing says an awful lot about current society. I shuddered at the very thought of it, but overall – and in a strange kind of way – it was enjoyable. For me, this is a four star read.
My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.
Tags: women’s fiction
- Format: ebook, hardcover, audiobook
- Size: 400 pages
- Publisher: Zaffre
- Publication Date: 18 June 2020
- Links: Goodreads
- Google Play
- W. H. Smith
Helly Acton is a copywriter from London with past lives in Zimbabwe, the Middle East and Australia. Born in Zimbabwe, Helly and her family emigrated to the East Sussex coast when she was fifteen years old. Here, she finished school and spent her holidays in Saudi Arabia, where her father was working. She studied Law at King’s College London before following a more creative path into advertising. At 26, Helly took a career break to travel in Africa and Asia, before landing in Sydney. Six years and one life-affirming break up later, she returned home and threw herself into online dating in the city. Helly uses this experience as a single woman in her early thirties – torn between settling down and savouring her independence – as a source of inspiration.
Helly currently lives in London with her husband, Chris, and their dog child Milo.