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Picture the perfect family... Now forget it & read this.
An achingly funny novel on modern motherhood and married life, as told through the e-mail correspondence of two sisters.
When your family snapshots resemble NSPCC ads and it takes a quick-witted au pair to prevent your guests from burning alive, you have well and truly arrived in motherhood...
Charlotte and Nell are sisters who live thousands of miles apart, each coping, or rather not coping, with the incalculable demands of motherhood. The daily battle to avert domestic disaster and keep up with the Dickenson-Jones's is abated only by their hilariously candid e-mail exchange.
They address some crucial questions, such as: if your son hasn't noticed that you've given Benny the hamster away, it is safe to assume he's forgotten? What is the unassailable law of nature that guarantees a cool, elegant paint, chosen with a loving homemaker's care, will dry to the colour of greying ham? And will a glass of chardonnay make it all better?
Charlotte and Nell are separated by continents but united in tales of over-busy lives and family mishaps - how to cope with children demanding their attention 24/7, husbands who are oblivious to the madness their world has become, as well as coming to terms with the fact that they are no longer the youthful free spirits they once were.
And God Created the Au Pair is perhaps what Bridget Jones might write if she got married, had children and began to wonder whether being single had its advantages after all...
'Desp@tches from the Home Front' is a much-loved weekly column in The Times, detailing trials and tribulations of family life on both sides of the Atlantic.
Both authors live in London and have four children each. Benedicte Newland lived in Toronto, Canada for five years and her husband was deputy editor of The National Post.