One Glass is Never Enough – Jane Wenham-Jones
Having previously enjoyed Perfect Alibis by the very same Jane Wenham-Jones I looked forward to reading more of her work. But I found this one quite different to Perfect Alibis. Whereas PA was sexy and lighthearted, One Glass is Never Enough has an altogether serious and more meaningful tone.
The strapline on the back of the book sums it up perfectly – “Three women, one bar and three different reasons for buying it.” The three women in question are Sarah, Claire and Gaynor. Sarah is currently in the middle of a rather messy divorce. She’s now a single mother of three children and they’re all finding it rather difficult to cope. Greens Wine Bar is Sarah’s security, and her home. Claire’s incredibly ambitious and is trying to prove her worth and business acumen to her nonchalant father, who doesn’t appear to have noticed how well she’s doing. Gaynor, a bored and wealthy housewife, is the only one who doesn’t seem to have a reason for investing in Greens, except perhaps for the entertainment value.
But soon enough Gaynor’s reasoning seems to become apparent. Her marriage to Victor is slowly coming apart at the seams. He is spending more and more time in London, where he works, leaving Gaynor alone and wondering what exactly he’s up to. Surely he can’t be having business meetings all hours of the day and night? And then there’s odd behaviour, his lack of interest in sex… Gaynor suspects the worst. But every time she attempts to have a conversation with him, he doesn’t want to know. At a loss, Gaynor throws herself into helping the other girls at the wine bar and making it a success.
And a success it is. Business at Greens is booming and all three girls are delighted. But, as always, not everything is plain sailing. Just as their business takes off, problems in their personal lives start to take over. Sarah is under increasing pressure to look after her children and protect their feelings after their absent father stands them up yet again; Claire’s so into her work that she doesn’t notice her devoted boyfriend is feeling neglected; and Gaynor is convinced Victor is having an affair and throws caution to the wind in her unlikely friendship with the moody but hunky Sam.
As these events, and many more besides, unfold, Wenham-Jones has woven some very poignant messages into the tale; infertility, depression, drug and alcohol addiction and more. The characters in the book truly go through the mill and I personally cared enough to hope they’d come out of the other side unscathed.
I really enjoyed this book. It has deeper themes than your average chick-lit, real problems that people face, and I think it’s great that they’ve been addressed in such a way, bringing them to the attention of people that may have otherwise remained ignorant. I have to raise my theoretical glass to Jane Wenham-Jones on this one, particularly as I know that some of the problems the characters in the novel faced are drawn from her own personal experience, and she’s bravely written about them.
Not as playful as a lot of her work, but definitely worth a read.