Publisher: Escape Publishing-Harlequin Enterprises
Date: 1st August 2014
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
There’s a sexual revolution going on, but not in Gayle’s life. She’s never felt so old, so unattractive, and so helpless. Your husband asking for a divorce could do that to you. Now she’s the scandalous new neighbour, the single mum, the divorcee, who needs a job but doesn’t know how to balance her own cheque book.
And then Steve and Ray arrive in her life, the former with chocolate hair and hurt eyes, the latter with a tomboy daughter and an uptight attitude. Suddenly, being separated doesn’t feel so shameful. This is the story of how Gayle lost her home to find true friends; her marriage to find a new life; and her husband to find love.
Hooked on a Feeling is set in Sydney, Australia in 1975. It was somewhat different to the two previous books I have read by Ainslie Paton. Even though in 1975 I was a young adult - this felt like historical fiction to me! Ainslie Paton captures so well attitudes of those times towards women, divorce, veterans of Vietnam and er.... the way some Catholic schools approached perceived misbehaviour and which parents to not care about and which ones to pander to.
While this book has an interesting enough plot, it is the characters and their relationships to each other that made this book for me. There is Gayle, who has just set up a life for herself and her son Dean, now that she has left her husband and carries the burden of being 'divorced'. She longs to find herself and a job so that she can support herself and feel a sense of being in control of her own life.
Ray and Steve are brothers and they live across the road. Ray is an architect, he has a daughter - Kim and his wife committed suicide some years earlier. Ray grew up admiring his older brother Steve, but also feeling he never measured up, however now because of a number of happenings things are rather strained between Ray and Steve. Yet there is a bond and love present as well.
Steve is a returned vet from Vietnam, every so often he goes on drinking and drug binges and indulges in mind blowing sex with a number of women. Gayle is attracted sexually to him, and also finds something happening between herself and Ray. Ray says of Steve " Steve is like this great bloody bull rampaging about the place, knocking down fences, battering trees, but he can be crippled by a thorn in his hoof". Hazel a local in the neighbourhood has loved Steve for years, but Steve has worked at turning her away because he would be 'bad news' for her. Steve is a character you might dislike, but for me - while I didn't like lots of his behaviour, I kinda liked him.
The two kids Dean and Kim are typical children, totally wanting to explore their world and experience as much as they can. While Gayle likes Kim, she thinks that perhaps she leads her Dean astray. There is a scene that happens in the book at school, where Dean stands up for Kim which touched me as a teacher! I was applauding Dean and the same time I was totally appalled by how it all played out.
There are a number of complications and things that happen that had me unsure of exactly how it would all end, however Dean and Kim had it all sorted correctly before the adults did. Kids see and hear and know more than what they are often given credit for!