Cover Image: Saturdays at Noon

Saturdays at Noon

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Emily and Jake meet at anger management classes, and the only thing they seem to have in common, is that neither of them thinks they should be there.

Jake’s son, Alfie, makes a connection with Emily. A connection which Jake doesn’t understand, especially when he is struggling to develop the same connection to his difficult six year old. But when a change in circumstances means Jake needs to go back to work, Emily appears to be the best choice to look after Alfie.

As Emily and Alfie grow closer, Jake is forced to change his view of his son’s challenging nature and embrace his differences. 

Aww I loved this book! So refreshingly honest and cute but heartbreaking at the same time. Written in a compelling and beautiful way, Saturdays at Noon is a story about love, challenging familial relationships and acceptance.

The writing is beautiful and I never would have guessed this was a debut novel, Rachel manages to portray the difficulties of raising a child who is different, in a world where people are quick to judge, brilliantly but honestly. She doesn’t sugar coat some of Jake’s behaviour, but she also avoids portraying him as a bad dad. 

Emily is another character who may initially seem unlikeable because of her spikey personality but is written in such a way that you can’t help being drawn to her and wondering about her back story.

Of course the show stealer is Alfie. The chapters told from his point of view were both funny and poignant and totally melted my heart. I’m not going to say anything more as I don’t want to give any spoilers but this little boy is a superstar! 

I connected emotionally to this fantastic story and therefore would highly recommend it!

4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (rounded up to 5)

Thank you to the NetGalley and the publisher (Penguin UK - Michael Joseph) for providing a copy. All opinions are my own and provided willingly
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Emily doesn’t think she should be there. Jake just wants to save his marriage. Alfie can’t stop worrying.

But somehow, they all end up spending their Saturdays at anger management class. Emil and Jake don’t see eye-to-eye, but an unlikely friendship between Emily and Alfie forces them together. This is a novel about family, struggle and friendship, and it is wonderful.

The novel alternates between the three narratives of Jake, Emily and Alfie, and each character is so excellently crafted by Marks that I couldn’t help but fall in love. Little Alfie is absolutely precious and I loved the insights into his mind throughout the novel. I loved the portrayal of his consciousness, and how affected he was by his anxiety. I also loved his enthusiasm, his love for Emily and his innocence - he was just such a sweet character. Emily is guarded and keeps her cards close, but her character slowly progressed through the novel as she opened up and revealed her secrets, and this was really shown in her narrative. And finally, Jake, who I was initially unsure of, captured my heart as he revealed he is just a over-worked Dad desperate to give his child the same beloved childhood he had.

There were some lovely moments of humour in this novel, particularly from Alfie, and I definitely laughed out loud a few times. I really liked Marks’ writing style, and will definitely be looking out for further works by her after this incredible debut. I found the beginning just a tad slow, but as soon as I fell for the characters I knew I was hooked. It was the ending that really made it a 5 star read for me. It had that will-it-won’t-it back and forth for how the ending was going to play out, and I really wasn’t sure which way it was going to go. I was almost sure, but there was just a little part of me that thought it might end a different way, and I was definitely gripped for the last 100 pages.

I would definitely recommend this novel. It took the concepts of contemporary fiction and romance and twisted them into a unique debut, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thank you to @michaeljbooks and @netgalley for this copy of Saturdays at Noon in exchange for an honest review.
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I have to say that I really enjoyed this book which quite surprised me!  It is probably not the sort of book I would normally read but I thought I would give it a go - it’s good to read some different things now and again!  Anyway, I found it fascinating seeing inside the world of a special child - I only have one myself who is pretty “normal” so it was an eye opener to see what parents of autistic children have to deal with.  (I’m sorry - I have probably not used the correct terminology there but as I say; this is not a world I am familiar with; please forgive me if I have offended anyone).  The demands of Alfie, who I found to be an amazing and very endearing little boy, would floor the majority of people in my opinion, although I am sure that for parents in a similar situation, this book would ring true in many ways.

I loved the way that the relationships developed and thought the story moved along at a great pace -  not too fast but not too slow either.  And I liked the way that things were gradually discovered - things from the past which helped to make sense of the present.

I would highly recommend this story to anyone and thank Net Galley & the publishers for letting me read it in return for an honest review.
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Jake and Emily meet at anger management classes. Jake has a son, Alfie. Alfie has his own issues. At times he can be difficult to handle. But when Emily meets Alfie, they form a bond. She can get him to do things others can't.  Emily has trust and anger issues due to her dysfunctional childhood. Jake's marriage is on the  verge of breakdown. 

This book is an insight to children with autism. It also deals with alcoholism, anger management, addiction and a use to name a few. The characters are complex but believable. Its beautifully written. It's an emotional roller coaster of a read. You will be thinkinh6of this story long after you've finished it.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Penguin and the author Rachel Mark's for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Hurrah for this heartfelt and beautiful book. Having recently been signed off work sick, I knew I needed to pick up a book which would wrap me up in it and carry me away into another world.

This is exactly what this book gave me.  

By the end of the book I felt like these were three characters (Emily, Jake and Alfie) who I personally knew. I was sad to think that I might not have anything to do with them again.

The book made my heart sing, ache and rejoice at various moments. It was a book filled with hope and love, and I can tell that Rachel Marks writes from the heart.

I will definitely read more from this author.

[TW: sexual assault, childhood sexual and physical abuse, serious violence, blood, addiction (alcohol and drugs), and bereavement]
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A beautifully written, superb debut about family, love, being different, and acceptance.

Emily and Jake meet at an anger management class. Emily has to attend due to a court order, and Jake is going to save his marriage, and to help him try to bond with his 'difficult' son Alfie. Emily isn't sure why Jake is there, and Jake can't understand why his stranger shy son likes Emily so much! Told from Emily's, Jake's and six year old Alfie's POV, we go on a journey with these characters, seeing how meeting each other impacts their lives.

Oh my gosh this book! I thought it would be a romance book, but it was so much more than that! The romance was definitely in the background, and this story was more focussed on the characters, and the many issues and obstacles they faced in life. The characters were so well written, and the story so realistic and believable, my heart just ached for them all! I was seriously in tears several times, and my husband was giving me concerned looks as I sat reading in a mountain of tissues!

My emotions were everywhere reading this heart wrenching book, and was strangely uplifting at the same time?!

⭐I loved Emily, who with her heart breaking past, didn't let many people in. Her spiky exterior hid a lovely, but vulnerable young woman.
⭐I loved Jake, who was so frustrated and angry at not being able to understand or help his own son.
⭐I loved Alfie, a misunderstood boy, who just wanted everyone to follow his rules, and couldn't understand why they wouldn't!
⭐I loved how the characters were all so very flawed, because that made them all the more relatable.
⭐I loved the sensitive way that Rachel Marks wrote about Alfie. It was obvious that she had been through this herself, knew about the Autistic spectrum, and it shone through in the writing from all of the character's perspectives.
⭐I loved how it showed you could love your child, but still be so incredibly frustrated with them.
⭐I loved how it showed the different ways in which people see the world.
⭐I loved how this book showed that you cant judge people on first impressions, because you don't know what other people are living through.

As a teacher, I could definitely see where the plot was going to go, in terms of Alfie, but the characters made the story so special, that I didn't mind. Honestly I just wanted the best for all of them, and to give them a hug, because they were all doing their very best in their own situations.

Saturdays at Noon was a fantastic debut by Rachel Marks, and I feel that is definitely worth a read.
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This is an absolute gem of a book with sparkling characters you are guaranteed to fall in love with. Based in an unusual setting of weekly anger management classes Emily clearly doesn't want to be there, won't tell anyone why she is there, and clearly doesn't think much of the proceedings.
Jake is a dad desperate to save his marriage but struggling enormously as a house husband and primary carer of his 6 year old son.
His son Alfie is amazing but also presents with some highly challenging behaviour. This puts a huge strain on the marriage and all sorts of doubts arise at to their parenting abilities versus something being awry in Alfie's development.
Jake's wife ups and leaves for an indefinite stay in Paris and Jake returns to teaching but in order to do this has to find suitable childcare.
Enter the unlikely 'nanny' Emily whose own story is one that will break your heart. She makes an instant connection with Alfie and it is as a result of her care of the child that it is discovered Alfie suffers with pathological demand avoidance, a very specific profile within the autism spectrum disorder.
Don't let that put you off though! This is not a self help book, a parenting manual or a medical tome. Saturdays at Noon is a warm, funny, quirky, sad look at life, love and the curveballs life can throw at us all.
I did not want this book to end and would happily read it again and again.
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Saturdays at Noon is genuinely one of the best books I've ever read. It's so endearing, emotional and uplifting; I just want to read it all over again. 

The story follows Jake who is struggling to cope with his son Alfie and is seemingly drifting further and further from his wife Jemma. Emily is also struggling with various aspects of her life and when she bumps into Jake at anger management classes she doesn't realise how their lives may be changed as a result. Jake brings Emily on board to help out with Alfie and we witness such a beautiful bond grow between Emily and Alfie throughout the story. 

I was sucked into the world of the characters from the first page. Rachel writes with such emotion and captures human interactions and behaviours with incredible accuracy and precision. She tells an extremely raw and honest story which is heartbreaking, yet at the same time heartwarming; I wish I could have read on for another 400 pages. I often find with stories like this that endings can be very cliched and almost fairytale-like, but Rachel did a great job at avoiding this; she stayed true to the story and the realness that we had seen throughout. Please everyone just go and read this book, you won't be disappointed. I can't wait to see what Rachel does next, I'll be first in line for her next book that's for sure. All the stars!

Thanks to Michael Joseph for a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.
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Sometimes the best novels are those written about ordinary people dealing with difficult circumstances. Saturdays at Noon is about an extraordinary six year old boy Alfie and his dad Jake. Alfie is clearly on the spectrum displaying extremely challenging behaviour but is THE most wonderful, loving intelligent quirky boy whose current passion is Lego. 
Jake  is a stay at home dad struggling minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day to parent Alfie to the best of his ability, mostly feeling like he is failing miserably. When Jemma, Alfie’s mum decides to take a break from their marriage who is going to take care of Alfie??
Meet Emily, a damaged, cynical young woman who Jake meets when they are both attending an anger management course. From a chance encounter at the cinema, Emily seems to have a natural affinity with Alfie. Despite not knowing her background, could Emily be the one to help fix this broken family and herself at the same time too??
With a dollop of romance on the side, this is a celebration of parenthood with all its many ups and downs which are multiplied when the child in question is ‘wired’ slightly differently. It’s a touching, funny, compassionate yet candid insight into daily life living with a child who doesn’t quite fit in. A square peg in a round hole. What I loved most about the writing is the intense love Jake and Emily feel for Alfie and no matter how challenging his behaviour, that love is totally unconditional, with his ‘differences’ almost irrelevant. The blossoming relationship between Alfie and Emily is joyous and heartwarming with their conversations peppered with the innocence and naivety only the very young possess. They make wonderful memories together as a threesome, navigating the obstacles that Alfie throws at them constantly but I liked that labels for this unlikely trio weren’t important. I found myself smiling as I read every word of this delightful story, marvelling in the fact that love for a child is fierce and all consuming and precious despite all its imperfections.
This has to be by far one of THE loveliest novels I have read in a long time. The writing is superb;Rachel Marks has captured the essence of parenthood perfectly. To develop characters who feel so alive and relatable and who you can fall in love with is always going to make a novel special . I don’t quite know what I was expecting when I started reading this novel but I was mesmerised by every word. Saturdays at Noon captured and melted my heart so that I didn’t want it to end.  I felt such attachment towards Alfie and Jake and Emily that I didn’t want to say goodbye and if I could award it ten stars I would.
My thanks as always to the author and publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to read in exchange for an honest review.
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I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this but, for a debut novel, it's remarkably accomplished!

Jake and Emily meet at anger management classes. Emily is a bit of a mystery for most of the book, but Jake gets off to a poor start by berating his son in front of her. She's not impressed by his lack of patience - but then, what does she know about Alfie and the day-to-day problems the family has to deal with?

This is a truly lovely story, beautifully told. As we get to know all three of the main characters better - Jake, Emily and Alfie - their lives begin to interweave and we learn all the little details which matter. I'm not surprised that the author has written about what she knows; I think her knowledge shines through and she has written about what is to her a true life situation in a friendly, very readable manner. As well as enjoying this book, I feel I've had an insight and a new understanding and I recommend this as fabulous fiction which gets right under your skin. I'm very happy to give this one 4*.

My thanks to publisher Penguin for my copy via NetGalley. This is my honest, original and unbiased review.
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When Emily and Jake meet at an anger management course they have no idea how their lives will change. 
Through Jake Emily meets Alfie, a little boy who sees the world differently to most people. 
She begins to understand how he thinks and how he processes things and how his family can understand him better.
This is a must read for all those people who look at children "musbehaving" in a supermarket or a park to allow them to better understand the world of autism in all its forms. 
A really well written  book discussing a much misunderstood condition.
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Thanks to netgalley for the chance to read this book.

Jakes marriage is on the verge of breaking down and his son Alfie is proving to be difficult to handle. 
Emily has been though a tough childhood and feels let down by her family, 
Jake and Emily meet at anger management, Emily meets Alfie and forms a bond with him, getting him to do things others struggle with.
What does the future have in store for Jakes marriage and how will this affect Emily and Alfie.
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A well written and beautifully observed novel from Rachel. I enjoyed keeping up with all the characters and in particular Alfie, hoping that all would turn out okay for him..
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I devoured this book in one evening and I’m not even sorry about it. 
I went into this book expecting your normal run of the mill romantic comedy but it was so much more than that. 
It is the story of a frustrated father whose marriage is on the verge of breaking and whose son is not like normal kids.
It is the story of a woman who has been wronged so much in the past and wants to keep to herself. 
It is the story of a young boy with a form of autism who doesn’t understand why people wont follow his rules. 
This story is told in the perspective of all three of our main characters and is written so beautifully that I fell in love with each of their stories. The characters were well developed and I couldn’t help myself wanting to know more about their lives. 
As much as I would love to sit here and discuss the whole book and why it is now one of my favourite books, I want you to pick up this book. I want you to take the time to read it yourself. Immerse yourself in the ups and downs of these three characters lives.
This book took me on an adventure that I will never forget. It is a compelling read with family and love at its forefront. It’s a story of self-acceptance and learning to change. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed reading this book because it was so believable.Alfie,Emily and Jake all have problems and none of them are perfect!Meeting Jake on the anger management course was clever and we don’t know why Emily is there for some time.Her empathy and care of Alfie is unexpected and yet very real.I totally recommend this as an excellent read.
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Saturdays at Noon is the debut novel from Rachel Marks. The book focuses on marriage, autism, parenting and anger management. There’s complex relationships but some really great characters and subject matter that makes you stop and think. It’s beautifully written and I would highly recommend this book.

Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin and the author for the chance to review.
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Rachel Marks structures her fabulous novel about family, marriage, parenting, autism and broken lives around a anger management course run on Saturdays at noon that Emily and Jake attend. Shaven headed, spikey Emily first encounters 6 year old Alfie hiding under a table in a cafe, striking an immediate connection with the boy. Jake, Alfie's distraught father, and Emily most definitely do not get on, Jake loves his son, but his marriage to Jemma, a marketing executive, struggles under the weight of Alfie's angst, rage and meltdowns that leave their home in a constant state of being wrecked, whilst being out in public with their son is a never ending nightmare. Jake refuses to countenance the autism label for his beloved, if difficult son, he would rather be condemned for poor parenting. Alfie never forms connections with others, but he does with Emily, and Emily who is struggling to get over a disastrous relationship with a married man, adores Alfie.

Circumstances dictate that Jake, who had given up his career in teaching to care for Alfie, has to return to work, so he ends up hiring Emily as Alfie's nanny. She does not find it easy as she endeavours to implement the rules and behaviour that Jake insists is imposed on Alfie, but after a while Emily develops the confidence the challenge this regime. Slowly but surely Alfie blossoms under the changes, revealing a creativity around his obsessions with lego and comic superheroes that result in him and Emily storyboarding, filming stories with her expensive camera and her photographic skills. Jake and Emily's relationship might not have got off to the greatest start, initially he is resentful of just how much better she is with his son than he is, but feelings for each other spring up amidst their shared bond of love for Alfie, but Jake is still married. Could their relationship possibly survive the obstacles that stand in their way?

Marks places the romantic elements of her novel firmly in the background, it is Alfie, his misery of living in a world that fails to understand him, and Emily, with her own traumatic history, her sensitivity to his condition, a form of autism, and Jake, barely surviving being his father, that are centre stage. laying the framework for Alfie's needs to be recognised and addressed. This in turn shifts Jake's perspective on Alfie, paving the way for his improving relationship with him, whilst understanding Alfie will still be Alfie, and life will always be challenging for him, given his condition. Marks creates characters with skill and she develops them brilliantly in a immersive read that is never less than riveting. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Penguin Michael Joseph for an ARC.
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This is an amazing book with complex believable characters and a message everyone should read.  

This is no ordinary romance or family saga; this wonderful book informs without preaching, and introduces four fantastic characters.

Emily has trust and anger issues due to her dysfunctional childhood.

Jake And Jemma’s marriage is feeling the strain of looking after son Alfie, who has behavioural difficulties..

I loved this book.  I laughed and cried with the characters, felt Alfie’s injustice, Emily’s betrayal, Jake’s conflict and Jemma’s loss of control.

This is a book to remember and return to .
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This book is so far from the standard romantic story that I expected to read, and it drew  me in from the first page. Emily and Jake meet on Saturdays at the anger management class they both have been instructed to attend. Jake, a stay-at-home father, has a young son Alfie who is on the autistic spectrum, and has very challenging behaviours which Jake and his wife Gemma struggle to handle. Alfie takes an inexplicable shine to the spiky Emily, and the story is told around how these relationships entwine and ultimately play out.
The characterisation is first class, I immediately felt I knew these people, and was completely invested  in their back stories and their lives. The characters gradually grew and developed as the story progressed in a very natural and convincing way.
The story deals with issues of acceptance, trust, forgiveness and self esteem, which are sensitively explored, and how sometimes people who appear to be making progress with getting their life back on track, can suddenly press the self-destruct button when things begin to overwhelm them.
At the heart of the story is a little boy who does not understand why he is the way he is, or why he behaves as he does. Ultimately all Alfie wants is to be loved unconditionally. 
This is a thought provoking theme for a book which I enjoyed immensely. I did not want to leave these lovely characters behind when the book ended. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy a story with real depth and heart, which this has in abundance. I will look for more of this author’s work.
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my advance copy of this title.
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