Cover Image: The Women of Primrose Square

The Women of Primrose Square

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Member Reviews

This is a heartwarming book that will give you hope in humanity. Another wonderful book by Claudia Carroll... It's the second time I come visit the Primrose Square and its inhabitants. This time we enter the home of Frank and his family, Violet and Emily. Frank who is going through a gender transformation, Emily who is recovering from an alcoholic past and trying to regain the love of her family and Violet who is trying to make peace with her past. This is a wonderful book with 3 very serious topics but so heartwarming that it will touch you deep inside. And it's so well written! a 5 stars book!!!! I highly recommend it! If you want high quality women's fiction / chicklit book, this is the one!!!
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I really, really enjoyed this book & would highly recommend it. Lots to keep me turning the pages. Will definitely read more by this author.
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I adored this book. I read the first one so this felt like going back to a favourite place. Well crafted with the layers and layers that Claudia writes so well, this book is an absolute joy!
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I had enjoyed reading The Secrets of Primrose Square so was looking forward to reading this sequel. I wasn't disappointed, this was a lovely easy to read book. I really liked the three main characters and could empathise with each of them. 

Although this book as with the previous one is based in Primrose Square, the story could be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel. This is a well written story of family, friendship, relationships and new beginnings. I enjoyed how the characters developed throughout the book and liked the satisfying ending. 

A perfect summer holiday read or for a wet afternoon on the sofa. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A deliciously heart warming enlightening tale about the women living in Primrose Square. This book is like unwrapping a beautiful present each tissue paper thin layer at a time to get to a treat in the middle. The multi stranded tale weaves effortlessly bringing laughter and a few tears. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I miss the characters now I’ve finished it (5 minutes ago!) highly recommended. 

Thank you Netgalley.
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The stories of several residents on Primrose Square in Dublin. Frank, whose life changes forever on the day of his fiftieth birthday, his wife Laura, neighbour Violet and new resident Emily.
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Reviewed by Emma Crowley

I was thrilled to see that Claudia Carroll had decided to write a follow up story to her brilliant book The Secrets of Primrose Square which was published last year. I had enjoyed that story so much and felt Claudia had created a wonderful space packed full of characters with realistic, difficult but ultimately heart-warming and life affirming stories to tell. I had wondered would she write anything else set on Primrose Square as there was a real feeling at the end that there could be a lot more to come from the residents and that several were waiting in the wings to share their various stories. Thankfully Claudia felt the same and now here we are a year later and we have The Women of Primrose Square which was another fantastic, at times hard hitting and a very much thought provoking story.

This is a brilliant, dynamic and modern story with three very distinct characters at its centre all battling with problems and issues which affect how they are living their lives on a day-to-day basis but soon connections are established between the trio and it's not long before the magic of Primrose Square, the strength and resilience of the characters and above all else the bonds of friendship and community spirit start to weave their spell. Will all involved find the resolution, forgiveness, acceptance and understanding they so desperately seek and very much deserve?

As I write this review The Women of Primrose Square sits at number one in the  Irish original fiction charts and this is a place it very much merits. I quickly become all consumed by the storylines and it felt like I was returning to a familiar setting even though the characters that featured in the first book very much play a secondary role in this new story if any part at all. That didn't bother me at all because this wasn't a continuation of their lives rather we were expanding further into Primrose Square to meet different people and to see how their lives have been altered by the situation they find themselves in. This can easily be read as a stand alone book but I would urge you to read The Secrets of Primrose Square at some point too simply because these are two excellent books which highlight that Claudia Carroll is enjoying her writing just as much as she ever has and that she shouldn't be classed as light women's fiction because this story has so much depth and emotion and deals with topics very relevant to the ever shifting tides in today's society.

The characters in this story are complex and flawed but never dull and they each have some unique qualities hidden deep down that when they come to the surface they can use these to help others. Sometimes you need other people's viewpoints in order to make sense of your own situations. I can't say I favoured one character over the other because they each had such varied stories that kept me interested and intrigued as to how their problems could be overcome. That's testament to Claudia's writing that I liked all of the three main characters equally because usually I am drawn to one character. 

In an absolute cracker of an opening chapter, that leaves you open mouthed in shock but yet really does set the scene for the themes of the book, we meet Frank Woods. He is just about to turn 50 and unusually for his personality he would love to have a fiftieth birthday party but everyone he asks be it family members, work colleagues or the residents of Primrose Square all say they are too busy. He is devastated that wife Gracie, son Ben and daughter Amber apparently couldn't care less about this milestone birthday. As he arrives home dejected and wanting to let loose and be his normal self, he opens the door and in that moment his life is changed forever. It's not Frank who gets the biggest surprise rather it's his friends and family who have gathered to throw a surprise party. What that surprise was you'll just have to read this wonderful book and see.

Frank was such a brilliantly written character who had so many sides to his personality. Such research must have been undertaken in order to portray him in a meaningful, considerate and respectful manner. He is a multi faceted person and I was glad he wasn't over the top instead we follow him as he attempted to come to terms with the events at the party. All poor Frank wants to do is reach out to his family, to explain and to be understood but Gracie is so wrapped up in her work as a lawyer that she is easily able to compartmentalise things and she is just not that open to speaking at all.

As for Ben and Amber the words anger yet innocence spring to mind. The scene between the pair as they enjoy a movie night was one of the best I have read in a book in a long long time. Such a simple explanation if only the entire world could view things the way Amber does – uncomplicated with no strings attached and just letting things be the way they are with no need for change. To many Frank may seem staid, boring and unpredictable but he was a character with such depth and layers who as with the others showed normal and predictable don't exist. Before he knows it Frank finds himself inhabiting one of Violet Hardcastle's rooms and through his own circumstances he can perhaps set about changing the fortunes of a woman who has not left her house in years.

Violet, or 'Violent' Hardcastle as she is known, is the resident crank of the square who sits in her window yelling expletives at those she judges to commit misdemeanours. She writes letter of complaint at every opportunity and really is a woman who was old before her time and is being eaten up with something hidden very much deep in the recess of her heart and mind. The house is falling down around Violet who has a layer of armour surrounding her as well as hoards of junk and royal souvenirs but this was not always the case as the house was once one of the grandest on the square. Due to her financial difficulties and the fact she can not even cross the threshold of her own house out into the open air she agrees when pressed by neighbour Jayne to take in some lodgers to earn some money. 

Violet is full of sharp comments and retorts and is known as mad and a lunatic she doesn't want to get close to anybody but slowly starts to realise she needs company and that if she continues the way she has been going she will slowly fade away in her house. She is sour, bad tempered, uptight and not someone you would wish to sit down with and have a nice cup of tea and a chat. Surely there had to be a very valid reason for the way Violet was acting? She couldn't have been like that all her life. There is always a reason behind the actions, views and opinions of people and when the truth emerges re Violet. It's bitter-sweet and heartbreaking and again another storyline written to perfection.

The final piece of the puzzle is Emily Dunne, who herself had made a very brief appearance in the previous book. She is recently discharged from rehab and deep down she knows she has an awful lot to make amends for. But she is struggling with accepting that all her cruel, hurtful and detrimental actions of the past had such devastating, far reaching long lasting consequences on those around her. I felt Emily even though she had gone through the process of rehab was still rebelling against it and that she still had a long road on her journey to getting back to the person she was before drink took a firm hold that's even if she remembered who that person had been. 

Emily was eaten up by anger and resentment and she was very much down on her luck with all family doors being closed to her due to her actions that to many were very much unforgivable but when you are in the deep grips of an illness you really have no idea what you are doing or capable of not to mention you have scant regard for those around you who love you. As Emily reluctantly accepts a room with Violet the pair really rub each other up the wrong way and the reader wonders will Emily ever be able to apologise to those who are desperately waiting to hear it in meaningful way or has she gone too far down the path of hurt and destruction and doors will forever remain closed to her? 

Emily was a character who was opinionated, unruly and at times very rude. It was like she couldn't leave her wild days behind her that the essence of that person still has residues left inside her. She needed to exorcise them before she could seek the forgiveness of those who had been affected most by her actions. But slowly I started to warm to her and again it's because of the way Claudia wrote her character. She really does show the warts and all of everyone and I love that everything is not all sweetness and light. That the characters are struggling for various reasons because life is not a bed of roses for everyone in reality so why should it be the same for people in books.

So many themes, emotions and issues are explored throughout The Women of Primrose Square and all are handled and dealt with so well. Never once do they feel forced or contrived instead all the strands of the story work separately when the need arises but when brought together combine to make a truly memorable and remarkable story. Honesty, equality, loyalty, acceptance, forgiveness, pain, humiliation, suffering, trauma, love and understanding. All these feelings and many more are explored in this book that has you from the very first chapter and it is impossible to stop reading once you begin. Claudia Carroll deserves every success with this superb read and please don't say it will be the last we have heard from Primrose Square.
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What a lovely, warm, heartfelt read but with a core morality that really made me think. Thank you! I recommend this book to anyone.
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This is a very good book that is a perfect holiday read. 
It is well written and the storyline is at the right pace. 
Excellent book. I will look for more books by this author
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.  I loved loved this book and need to read the first one.  I would recommend this book to other readers.
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Beautiful book, I absolutely loved this title, so much that I had to buy the other book in the series! Such a lovely story!
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I really enjoyed The Secrets of Primrose Square and, when I reviewed it, I said that I’d love it if the author took us back to Primrose Square in the future.  She did!

This time, the focus is on the women who live in this leafy Dublin square, although there are some male characters involved.  Frank and Emily both have life-changing situations to cope with, and the author dealt with these real-life issues in a compassionate, well-researched way.

We also meet their landlady, Violet Hardcastle, who had dealt with a difficult past, and Frank’s wife, Gracie, whose life has been turned upside down.

A beautiful book that I didn’t want to put down.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bonnier Zaffre for an advance reader copy in return for an honest review.
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I adore Claudia Carroll and this book doesn’t let you down. It’s full of strong female friendships, the kind we all need in our lives, strong supportive, not perfect but real. Deals with serious issues and is an emotional read at times. Engaging read from Claudia again, great follow up to the first book.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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Having read The Secrets of Primrose Square, I was looking forward to reading the follow up and I was not disappointed, it was like being reunited with an old friend (and some new ones). 

The book starts with Frank, who on the surface seems the perfect husband and Dad, however by the end of the first chapter it gives you the real Frank, which I have to be honest as I was reading it I did gasp as I was not expecting it - I don't want to mention anymore about Frank as this will spoil his part of the book however it leads him to moving out of the family home and living with Miss Hardcastle. 

Miss Hardcastle as not left her house in decades and throughout the novel you learn more about why she has not left the house, I did love her as a character as she was definitely one which I grew to love as the novel went on and my opinion definitely changed. 

You also meet Emily who is fresh out of rehab and trying to get her life back on track whilst making amends which she finds is easier said than done. 

I love how the topics were written in such an understanding and also informative way and the development of the characters were interesting as you learnt alot about their past and not everything was perfect. Having read the previous novel it was nice to see previous characters pop up and knowing where there still has continued on to. 

I had many emotions whilst reading this novel from laughter/annoyance to at one point I had a few tears. 

This is defiantly a book I would recommend, and cannot wait to see further novels from Primrose Square.
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A lot of heavy issues were dealt with in this book. I enjoyed it overall.. The book could have just been about Violet, or Frank, or Emily. There was plenty of material. In that sense I can't help feeling their stories were rushed. But it held my attention throughout, and I couldn't help feeling for each of these characters, and also for Gracie, Frank's wife. She's the one person I felt we could have heard even more from.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an early copy in return for an honest review
A very good read and one I can highly recommend to others. 
I could not put this down.
Thoroughly enjoyable with an amazing cast of characters that you cannot help but engage with.
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I was a big fan of the first Primrose square novel, so was really excited to read this one. It did not disappoint. It’s quite an emotional read - Frank’s storyline in particular - and I wasn’t expecting that but this just made it an even better read. Great for fans of Marian Keyes. I hope there’s more to come in this series.
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The end of the first chapter had me still gasping a couple of hours later! This book goes for the big punch straight away and makes you want to keep reading.
This is the second book in the Primrose Square series, following the residents of a leafy Dublin suburb. This time we are following Frank who has been keeping a secret for as long as he can remember and it is going to be exposed in the most public fashion. We also meet Violet Hardcastle, an elderly lady who sees the bad in everyone and everything. However, she has a tragic past that has made her the way she is. We also see Emily again; we first met her at the rehab centre in the first book. This time, though, she gets a starring role, but can she hack the pressure?
When I saw the title of the book ‘the women’ and read the blurb, I was a little perplexed as Frank is mentioned; however, it all begins to make sense the more you read.
I loved Violet’s backstory. I could have read an entire book about her and what had happened to her. It was beyond tragic. It was hard to believe her past was set in the 60s as it seemed more like the Victorian era. The way she spoke and the actions of those around her were so antiquated and didn’t sit well with the love harmony that you think of being the 60s. This is intentional, though. It was very well done.
Frank’s story was very hard to get my head around. I thought the author navigated what could have been potentially a million minefields very well and certainly opened my eyes to the struggles of people in similar circumstances to Frank.
It was great for there to be cameos from the ‘cast’ we had met in the first book. We got to see Jayne again, who is such a heart-warming character!
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read that covered a range of issues and topics. I really hope that this isn’t the end of Primrose Square and we get to go back soon to meet some of the other crazy characters that must be living behind those doors!
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I really enjoyed this engaging book, which dealt with very emotional subject matter in a warm and witty way. 

Claudia Carroll's well-observed writing style reminded me of Marian Keyes' books and this may appeal to her fans, as it did to me.
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What a wonderful sequel, I just loved this book. Not only did it bring back such great characters from Primrose Square, but the story was just so good. Another great summer read.
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