Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Book Review for Worn Out Wife Seeks New Life by Carmen Reid. @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks

Posted July 31, 2021 by WendyW in Blog Tour, Blogging, Book Excerpt, Book Review / 15 Comments

Worn Out Wife Seeks New Life
by Carmen Reid
Publication Date July 27, 2021
Published by Boldwood Books Ltd
Purchase Here Buy on Amazon US - Buy on Apple - Buy on Kobo - Buy on Google - Buy at Barnes and Noble
Genres: Action & Adventure, City Life, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Europe, Family & Relationships, Family Life, Fiction, Friendship, General, Great Britain, Holiday, Holidays, Humor, Humorous, Later in Life, Marriage & Divorce, Marriage & Family, Marriage & Long-Term Relationships, Mashups, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Sagas, Small Town & Rural, Topic, Travel, United States, Urban & Street Lit, Women
Pages: 276
Format: ARC

Tess Simpson needs a break!
Under appreciated at home, overlooked at work and now her beloved dog Bella has died. Tess has simply had enough!
So in a spur of the moment act, Tess books a holiday of a lifetime for her, her two grown up kids and useless husband Dave. Maybe they can use the break to reconnect with each other?
But when the kids refuse to go, and Dave breaks his leg, Tess’s dream holiday looks seriously in doubt. And then there’s River Romero, the glamourous LA screen writer who is supposed to be house-sitting for Tess whilst she’s away….
Everything about River sounds so much more exciting than Tess’s boring life in Stratford Upon Avon. From her beautiful LA condo and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, Tess wonders whether a bit of River’s LA life might be exactly what she needs? So when River suggests a house swap, Tess jumps at the chance!
With Dave happily ensconced in the summer house at the bottom of the garden, the kids not needing mum anymore, Tess packs her bags and heads off for the adventure of a lifetime.
But real life isn’t like the movies, and when Tess arrives in LA, things aren’t exactly as they seem.
Will Tess find what's she's looking for or is getting away from it all isn’t all perhaps not all it’s cracked up to be?

Please visit the other wonderful bloggers on this tour for more reviews and information on this amazing book.


Chapter One

Brightest sunshine, so hot it almost stings the skin. The heart-lifting blue sky soars high above and, always in the background, the lulling boom and swoosh of the turquoise ocean.

Beside Tess on a sun lounger is her husband, Dave. His usually pale and puffy body is starting to change. Walking, swimming and being outside all day means he’s turning honey-brown and he’s leaner than he’s been in years. She looks past Dave to her almost grown-up children, Alex and Natalie, who are relaxed and soaking up the sun. Alex has his headphones on and his eyes shut. He’s breathing deeply, hands calmly by his side, no sign of his usual, restless, twitchy energy to be seen. Natalie’s hair gets blonder and her tan deeper with every passing day. The biggest change with Natalie is that she’s not looking at her phone, or in yet another stroppy rage, instead she’s just back from yoga class and she’s sipping on a holistic smoothie, bright blue eyes fixed on the bright blue ocean, as she contemplates a swim.

Tess can feel her own heartbeat slowing as her shoulders sink back into the lounger.

Massaged, pampered, organic beachside bliss like this does not come cheap. But she has finally, after too many years of waiting on the sidelines, been raised up to partner level at her accountancy firm and with the enhanced salary and extra bonus, she has, at last, been able to make this perfect holiday of a lifetime happen for her family. They’re all together again, but happy, relaxed and really enjoying each other’s company. She and Dave are getting on so much better. And the feelings of sadness, loneliness, even hopelessness that have been troubling Tess lately, they’re evaporating in the gorgeous heat of these languid, beachy days.

How many weeks would she need to spend here to truly rejuvenate? To reset herself? Rediscover herself and her marriage? Not to mention her waistline and her inner joy?

Was three weeks even enough?

Remember way back, Tess, when you enjoyed wearing a bikini? Had hair halfway down your back? When you had fun, and sex, and big ideas… and a spirit of adventure?

* * *

‘Hi Tess, just a heads up that he’s here.’

The sight of her colleague, Sophie, at her office door with the warning that the group CEO, John Lloyd, had entered the building snapped Tess instantly from her daydream. She quickly closed the browser window where she’d been comparing luxury Cambodian beach resorts, daydreaming about an unforgettable family holiday, and felt her heart skip a beat.

John Lloyd was here and everyone knew why. He was here to make the new partner a formal offer and discuss terms. Then he’d have some further discussion with the other partners, and then there would be an announcement to the whole Leamington Spa office.

Tess had been mentally preparing for this morning for days now. She’d been interviewed twice for the partner position, once in Leamington, once in London. Six sharp new items of career clothing now hung in her wardrobe, not to mention the new pair of shoes and the freshly cut and darkened bob, done at eye-watering expense in Leamington’s priciest salon.

At last, right at the tail end of her forties, Tess felt ready for the big step up. Yes, she was behind the male colleagues who’d joined when she did, but had become partners several years ago. She suspected this wasn’t just because she was a working mother, who kept to her hours meticulously and never worked weekends, but also because she was quiet, hardworking and low key – not any kind of company headline maker. She wasn’t ‘an innovator’ or showy in any way; she increasingly preferred the way she’d always done things and the clients she’d worked with for years. She was at home in a comfortable shoe and loose-fitting trouser suit, rather than anything more attention grabbing. Over the years, she had perhaps become more reserved at work and enjoyed being the diligent details person, ruthlessly good at maths and accounts. She suspected it had been almost two years since she’d last updated her LinkedIn profile.

During all her time at the company, she’d been a full-time working mother, plagued with the guilt that she wasn’t doing either the mothering or the full-time working bit as well as she should. She’d hoped that as the children got older it would become easier. But she learnt on the battlefields of the recent years that teenagers were challenging and exhausting, as needy and prone to melodrama as toddlers and, actually, she’d probably had it best during the primary school years.

Although she kept thinking of him as a student, her twenty-two-year-old son, Alex, was now, after a difficult finals year, a graduate working in London, and her nineteen-year-old daughter, Natalie, was in her first year at uni in Edinburgh. So there was just her husband, Dave, and their old dog, Bella, in the house and Tess could finally see how she could dive much deeper into her career and become the focused, driven, and yes, important person in this company that she’d only recently realised she would like to become.

‘I’ve held back,’ she’d told the interview panel. ‘I didn’t think more ambitious career goals would combine with the amount of time I wanted to spend with my family. But my children have left home, the company is more family friendly than ever, and I really want to focus on what I can do for this business now.’

She had thought when she’d said it that it was true, but way at the back of her mind was the suspicion that she was only pursuing this because she couldn’t really think how else to spend the next decade and a half of her working life.

Now, waiting anxiously for John Lloyd to turn up in her office and offer her the partnership, she was much more sure that this was what she wanted. She straightened the items on her desk: the notebook, the pens, the small pile of papers. Then she stood up and walked round the small room, adjusting the blind, turning the plant on her desk and wiping the trace of dust from the frames of her accountancy certificates on the wall. Yes, Leamington Spa partner – she was ready. Bring it on.

The phone on her desk beeped and she startled, feeling a rush of nerves.

‘Hello, Tess here.’

‘Hi, Tess.’ It was Katrina at reception. ‘Mr Lloyd wants to know if it’s okay to come to your office.’

‘Yes, yes… of course.’ Tess thought she could hear some hint in Katrina’s voice. Excitement? Expectation? Everyone was waiting for this announcement. And she knew, from several open discussions, that everyone was expecting it to be her.

Tess stood beside her door, feeling her heart thud. She decided she should open the door in a welcoming gesture. But this was something of a mistake because it was a long corridor and Tess found herself saying hello to John Lloyd before she was sure he was in earshot and then over-smiling at him for the long, long minute it took him to get to the door.

‘Hello, Tess, how are you?’ the elegant Mr Lloyd, in blue pinstripes and a pink satin tie, asked as he reached her. ‘Now, please call me John,’ he added.

This felt a little too soon. John Lloyd had only been in the job for four months and at her interview in London, he’d been firmly ‘Mr Lloyd’ in her mind.

‘Hello… John… come on in and take a seat.’

In the corner of her room was a low coffee table for client meetings, with three comfortable chairs surrounding it, so this is where she sat and faced him. She found herself wondering about pink satin as a tie choice… with a gold tie clip. It struck her as a little showy. What would Dave say if she suggested a tie clip? Or a pink satin tie? Or… well… even a tie? The fuss he made on official school ceremony days when teachers had to wear ties.

‘So, one point seven million pounds. One… point… seven… million!’

For a moment, Tess had no idea what John Lloyd was talking about. But she was pretty certain it couldn’t be her new salary.

‘The Hambold review,’ he added helpfully.

‘Oh, yes… quite a bit of money,’ she added.

She guessed £1.7million could buy thirty bars of gold, at current prices, or a super yacht, a New York apartment… maybe even a minor Impressionist painting.

This was how much money she had saved Hambold Mechanical by spotting, not a loophole, just an opportunity – a new tax ruling that the company had not fully understood how to take advantage of until she’d pointed it out and helped them to redraft their annual accounts submission. And the good thing was, she had been conducting an independent accounts review, so the oversight hadn’t been made by anyone at her firm. Even better, she’d already heard that the £1.7 million saved wouldn’t be spent on super yachts or gold bars, but on expanding the UK operation by creating an extra department and taking on new staff.

‘It’s the biggest saving we’ve ever made on an independent review,’ John Lloyd was saying, ‘We’ve gained Hambold as a client and we want to make a bit of a fuss about it, Tess.’

‘Oh, well… thank you very much… Mr… John,’ Tess replied, feeling the slight prickle of embarrassment across her neck and cheeks. ‘Good to hear Hambold are pleased with the work.’

‘Very pleased. And we’re very pleased with you. Now…’ he leaned forward and something of a troubled look seemed to settle on his face.

All the hope, expectation and excitement she’d built up around this moment faded on the word ‘now…’

He wasn’t wearing the right expression. He definitely did not look as if he was about to congratulate her and this was so unexpected, she wondered how on earth she was going to react.

‘Although we feel it is very much overdue, you’re not going to be made partner,’ call-me-John said, quietly, seriously and sincerely, because he was clearly someone used to delivering professionally disappointing news.

Tess was sitting down, but it still felt like a blow to the back of the knees.

‘Right…’ she heard herself murmur.

‘I know this may not be what you expected to hear.’

She managed to repeat. ‘Right,’ again softly and then focused all her effort on not crying. Not crying. Not at all. No hint of it.

‘How would you like to move to something interesting in London, instead?’ John Lloyd suggested. ‘I’d like you to come back down to head office, have another chat with us and see what might suit you.’

‘Well… that’s… something I’d not thought about.’ She swallowed hard. ‘But definitely interesting, John.’ Sounding absolutely calm and professional, even when she was in total turmoil on the inside, was something she’d perfected over the years in the job.

‘Yes, come down and meet the team there. I’ll get Helen to put a date in the diary with you.’

‘Great… that sounds great. Thank you,’ she said, making eye contact and smiling as brightly as she could.

Tess knew straight away that she would go to London for that meeting, to the swanky, glassy building in the heart of the city. And it would involve as much serious prep as the interviews – with a blow dry, an on-trend outfit, and further deep study of the company website for all the latest up-to-the-nanosecond jargon: dial back John, we don’t have the bandwidth for a pivot, let alone a paradigm shift. And then, most likely, she would turn the London role down and stay in her Leamington job, because she liked it here. She fitted right in. She liked the town, liked her colleagues, liked her clients – many of whom had been with her for years.

But she wasn’t going to be a partner and, further down the line, she wasn’t going to be a board member either… unlike her male colleagues. And she couldn’t help thinking that it really wasn’t fair. She worked hard, and she was excellent at her job. But it seemed to require a degree of thrusting over-confidence to get into the upper ranks, and she didn’t have that. Not even a shred of it. She was the quiet person, doomed to be overlooked, despite making the biggest ever tax saving on a client review.

And who the hell was going to be the new partner, she thought with a burst of outrage? They must be bringing someone in from another branch. She jumped straight to the conclusion that it was bound to be a guy, younger than her, all thrusting over-confidence, ready to do the networking, LinkedIn videos, commutes to London and business leadership that she wasn’t thought to be capable of.

Tess knew she should ask John who was getting the partnership and why, about what she’d done or not done to be passed over like this. But instead, she let John talk about her London ‘promotion’, which she was almost certainly going to turn down.

‘So, let’s discuss this further when you come down,’ John went on, ‘And you’ll get a decent bonus, of course, that will reflect Hambold joining our client roster. And I’d like to add that you, personally, have done a brilliant job. I want to show you off to the rest of the company; have people inspired by your work.’

Squarely meeting her in the eye, he added: ‘I am sorry about the partnership, Tess. Just timing, I suppose…’

Then, putting his hands on his knees and looking as if he was about to stand up and conclude their talk, he added: ‘There’s someone we believe will be a better fit.’

‘Oh… am I allowed to know who?’ she asked hesitantly, ‘Or do I have to wait for the announcement?’

‘No… I think I can let you know. She’s with this branch – it’s Jamila Khan.’


Tess hoped she hadn’t allowed too much surprise into her voice. But her first reaction was surprise. Jamila was young, early thirties and relatively new, she’d been in the Leamington office for not quite two years… and, of course, she was very much Tess’s junior. But that sour grape was quickly followed by the realisation that Jamila was a really excellent choice.

That was the truth.

Jamila was charismatic and extrovert. She was engaging and unbelievably smart. And yes, she had confidence and definite leadership potential. Tess could understand the choice immediately. Compared to Jamila, Tess realised with a horrible lurch, she was a bit boring and old school. She would have been the comfortable shoe choice, the sensible pump, she thought, toes curling and now she could feel herself blushing again with the shock, the disappointment and the humiliation of it all.

As the fresh wave of upset broke over her, she looked quickly up at the ceiling and wondered how she would avoid crying.

‘Jamila will be an excellent partner,’ Tess heard herself say, ‘really excellent. And I’ll look forward to meeting with you and the London team.’

‘I totally understand that this is going to be difficult for you,’ John Lloyd said with an obvious note of sympathy, ‘especially in a small branch like this. You can tell everyone straightaway that you’ve been offered an opportunity in London.’

Tess nodded.

‘Now, I’m going to go and talk to Jamila for half an hour or so, which gives you some time to… umm… let it all sink in,’ he added, getting to his feet.

She was nodding vigorously. She thought she might shake the forming tears out of her eyes she was nodding so hard. This was such a sharp and humiliating pain. It made her think of that one time in her life when the guy she had liked so much had turned up to meet her with his brand-new girlfriend.

‘And Tess, let’s have a call later this week,’ John Lloyd said, as he made towards her office door, ‘when the announcements are over and we’re all adjusted to the news. Because I want to listen to you.’

‘Do you?’ She wasn’t sure what he meant.

‘Yes. You’ll have me on the line. If there’s anything you want to discuss, any ideas you’d like to share, this will be your chance. You’ve worked here for seventeen years. There’s a great deal I can learn from you.’

And that was such a kind thing to say that unfortunately a tear spilled over from the edge of her left eye. But she tilted her head away and, as he left the room, John Lloyd made out that he hadn’t noticed.

* * *

My Review:

Worn Out Wife Seeks New Life by CArmen Reid was fun, and surprisingly very deep. It was quite a bit different than what I expected. From the cover and blurb, I expected a lot more comedy. But, while very funny in spots, this book is much more serious, and heartwarming than I thought it would be.  It’s quite an emotional journey that the main characters go on, and it’s a very satisfying book to read. 

Tess Simpson is fed up with her life. After being passed over again for a partnership in her accounting firm, she plans an exotic vacation to Thailand, she gets an entire summer off from work, and finds someone to lease her home while they are gone, her plans are taking off!  The only hitch is her family doesn’t want to go with her.  Her son is busy working in London in his first job out of University, and her daughter has a new boyfriend she can’t stand to leave.  Her husband Dave is reluctant to go, but when he has an accident and sprains his ankle and ribs, he can’t possibly leave home.  

River Romero rented a house near the famous Stratford-Upon-Avon to research a new movie script she’s writing, but when the family she’s renting from changes plans, she convinces Tess to swap homes with her in Los Angeles.  Tess decides to leave her husband Dave to live in the summerhouse at the end of the Garden and allow River to rent the home, while she travels to Los Angeles for the adventure she’s been craving.  

This book was fun, satisfying, emotional, and thought-provoking all at the same time.  It was a bit difficult to get into.  I couldn’t sympathize with Tess at all at the beginning of this book.  However, she grew on me very fast once she traveled to Los Angeles.  Once the swap was done, I was pulled into the stories and enjoyed it very much.   I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

15 responses to “Blog Tour, Excerpt, and Book Review for Worn Out Wife Seeks New Life by Carmen Reid. @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks

  1. I can totally see how this book could be more deep than funny. It sounds like, from the blurb and your review, that the main character is at a crossroads in her life and that always brings a lot of thoughts. Wonderful review!

    • Thank you Tessa, you’re right, it’s the conflict so many of us have between all the pressures in our lives and are we really doing what we want to do.

  2. Wonderful post Wendy. I can see how the deeper themes would be a part of this story. I think as a working mom, I wanted to take off and leave everything behind a few times. This is a book and author that I am not familiar with, so thanks for introducing the book to me.

    • Thanks so much Joanna, an except makes the blog post so long, but, it gives the reader an idea of the writing style.

  3. Wonderful review Wendy! I’ve not heard of this author but this sounds like a story I would enjoy. Off to see if I can! Have an awesome weekend!🤗📚💜☕