Sarah Haywood - The Cactus - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781473660649
    • Publication date:25 Jan 2018
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    • ISBN:9781473660977
    • Publication date:25 Jan 2018

The Cactus

a Richard & Judy Autumn Book Club read 2018

By Sarah Haywood

  • Hardback
  • £14.99

Susan Green likes to be in control. But at 45 her perfect life starts to unravel, and real life in all its messiness shows her that it's never too late to bloom, or to learn how to let go.

It's never too late to bloom ...

'The Cactus will be compared to Gail Honeyman's 2017 hit, the appealingly eccentric Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine' The Sunday Times
'Wonderfully funny and astute' Red
'Funny, compelling, well-written...for fans of Marian Keyes who demand a bit of grit in their comic writing' Emerald Street
'An original, engaging and totally believable character' - Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project
'Legal battles, lapses of logic and the joys and fears of motherhood are explored in this astute, funny and moving novel of a woman learning how to let go' Daily Mail


People aren't sure what to make of Susan Green - family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand, but Susan makes perfect sense to herself, and that's all she needs.

Age 45, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward - a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits.

Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan's greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control.

When she discovers that her mother's will inexplicably favours her brother, Susan sets out to prove that Edward and his equally feckless friend Rob somehow coerced this dubious outcome. But when problems closer to home become increasingly hard to ignore, she finds help in the unlikeliest of places.

This sparkling debut is a breath of fresh air with real heart and a powerful emotional punch. In Susan we find a character as exasperating and delightful as The Rosie Project's Don Tillman. An uncompromising feminist and a fierce fighter, it's a joy to watch her bloom.

Biographical Notes

Sarah Haywood was born in Birmingham. After studying Law, she worked in London and Birkenhead as a solicitor, in Toxteth as an advice worker, and in Manchester as an investigator of complaints about lawyers.
She now lives in Liverpool with her husband and two sons.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781473660618
  • Publication date: 25 Jan 2018
  • Page count: 384
  • Imprint: Two Roads
The Cactus will be compared to Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine...there is terrible poignancy — Patricia Nicol, The Sunday Times
Legal battles, lapses of logic and the joys and fears of motherhood are explored in this astute, funny and moving novel of a woman learning how to let go — Daily Mail
'Funny, compelling, well-written...for fans of Marian Keyes who demand a bit of grit in their comic writing' — Emerald Street
Fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine will love The Cactus ... wonderfully funny and astute — Sarra Manning, Red
The trend for "up lit" continues to make its mark, in titles including Sarah Haywood's debut The Cactus (rigid, lonely-but-doesn't-realise woman in her 40s falls pregnant and is forced to make connections; great cover) — Alison Flood, The Bookseller
An ideal read for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine — Closer
This book is charming and easy to read, the perfect tonic to this absurdly grey February — The Pool
Hilarious and endearing ... anchored by the splendid character of Susan — Publisher's Weekly
An original, engaging and totally believable character — Graeme Simsion
Susan Green is an independent and endearingly prickly woman whose life is spiralling out of control. You're gonna love her. — Marie Claire AUS
If, like me, you never stopped to think what a child born of The Rosie Project's Don Tillman and Bridget Jones might be like, there's one way to find out. Read Sarah Haywood's The Cactus. Meet Susan Green. She doesn't understand how funny she is, which is delicious. — Julia Claiborne Johnson, author of BE FRANK WITH ME
Equal parts intelligent, funny and devastating, Haywood breathes life into an unlikely heroine in a bold, emotionally-charged debut. — Phaedra Patrick, author of THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER
Glorious...it twists and turns through human nature wonderfully. Like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Rosie Project ... a book you just want to read at any opportunity. — Kat Brown
Heartfelt and funny, this big-hearted debut will delight fans of The Rosie Project. — Book Riot
A joyful, funny and very insightful story. Incredibly well written and wonderfully imagined. Effortlessly entertaining with captivating observatoins. — Random Things Through My Letterbox
There's been a trend for 'difficult' female protagonists ... but set-in-her-ways Susan is difficult in her own unique way — Wear and Where
A heartfelt and charming story of one woman's transition from a solitary, orderly existence to a messy life full of love. — Booklist
I adored this book. LOVE LOVE LOVED it. — Debbish.com blog
A warm, witty portrait of a woman finally creating the family she deserves — Kirkus Reviews
A very readable, often funny tale of how sometimes we think we have life under control, but really, that's just impossible; it's better to just go with the flow and actually enjoy ourselves along the way. A very useful life lesson. — Books on the 747 blog
A very compelling and enjoyable read — A Ticket to Everywhere blog
Funny, touching and so beautifully written, with a twist that knocks you off your feet — Years of Reading Selfishly
Best cover. Kick-ass feminist, quirky story within. The definition of win-win. — Lady Sharon blog
Susan is a fantastic character, who you end up loving deeply by the end — Not Maud Gonne blog
I fell in love with the warm, feminist heart of this novel — Where the Books Go blog
Warm, uplifting, funny and bittersweet — Talking About My Shelf blog
Gloriously funny and poignant, The Cactus introduces us to Susan Green, a 45-year-old woman who's seemingly in-control life begins to unravel in a very messy and, er, prickly way. You will love her. — InStyle AUS
Insightful, funny and incredibly entertaining. Haywood has created a character who is both irritating and intriguing in equal measure and I bloody loved her! — A Novel Girl
Wise, witty and introspective The Cactus is a terrific debut that cannot fail to move you ... candid and warm — WHSmith Fresh Talent 2018
An immense pleasure . . . I loved this novel very much — Mrs B's Book Reviews
Refreshingly different and often unpredictable, yet providing enough hope to keep the reader turning pages — Fredericksburg
Haywood's novel is humorous and reveals the vulnerability of someone who believes she's above all that. It poses the question: do we ever really have control over anything in our lives? — British Weekly
Sarah Haywood's charming, funny, poignant debut, The Cactus, is that rare gem, a story of womanhood and motherhood that is never reductive and seldom predictable — Yakima Herald

Julie Corbin

Julie Corbin is Scottish and grew up just outside Edinburgh. She has lived in East Sussex for the last twenty-five years and raised her three sons in a village close to the Ashdown Forest. She is trained as a nurse and combines running the medical department in a boarding school with writing novels, short stories and currently a radio play.Her psychological thrillers have been described as 'creepy and gripping' (Closer) and 'remarkably assured... suspenseful narrative' (Daily Mail)She speaks at writing events, book groups and libraries, and runs writing workshops for beginners and more experienced writers.Visit Julie's website at www.juliecorbin.com and follow her on Twitter @Julie_Corbin

Karen Campbell

Karen Campbell is a former police officer who lives in Glasgow with her family. She began writing in earnest on the renowned Glasgow University Creative Writing course.www.karencampbell.co.ukwww.twitter.com/writerkcampbell

Karen Robards

Karen Robards is the internationally bestselling author of over forty romantic suspense novels, which have regularly appeared on the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, among others. She is the mother of three boys and lives with her family in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.You can find out more at www.karenrobards.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorKarenRobards or follow her on Twitter @TheKarenRobards.

Kate Fenton

Kate Fenton was born in Oldham and educated in Cheshire, Manchester and St Hilda's College, Oxford. As a BBC features and documentaries producer she worked for Radio Wales, the World Service and Radio 4. She lives on the North York Moors with her husband, actor Ian Carmichael. To find out more, visit Kate's website, www.katefenton.com.

Kate Jacobs

Kate Jacobs left her native Canada to earn a graduate degree at New York University - and made her home in Manhattan for a decade, where she worked at Redbook, Working Woman, Family Life and LifetimeTV.com. Currently she lives in Southern California with her husband.

Katie MacAlister

For as long as she can remember, Katie MacAlister has loved reading. Growing up in a family where a weekly visit to the library was a given, Katie spent much of her time with her nose buried in a book. Despite her love for novels, she didn't think of writing them until she was contracted to write a non-fiction book about software. Since her editor refused to allow her to include either witty dialogue or love scenes in the software book, Katie swiftly resolved to switch to fiction, where she could indulge in world building, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes. Two years after she started writing novels, Katie sold her first romance, Noble Intentions. More than thirty books later, her novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and placed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. She also writes for the young adult audience as Katie Maxwell.Katie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and dogs, and can often be found lurking around online.Contact KatieYou can write to Katie at katie@katiemacalister.com or via snail mail at:Katie MacAlisterc/o Three Seas Literary AgencyPO Box 8571Madison, WI 53708, USA

Kay Langdale

Kay Langdale is the author of five novels: Away From You, Choose Me, Her Giant Octopus Moment, What the Heart Knows (Rowohlt, Germany) and Redemption (Transita; published as If Not Love by Thomas Dunne Books.) Visit Kay's website at www.kaylangdale.com. Follow her on Twitter: @KayLangdale.

Kevin Brockmeier

Kevin Brockmeier lives in Arkansas, USA. His short stories have won many awards. THE BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEAD is his first novel to be published in the UK.

Lisa McInerney

Lisa McInerney's work has featured in Winter Papers, Stinging Fly, Granta and on BBC Radio 4, and in the anthologies Beyond The Centre, The Long Gaze Back and Town and Country. Her debut novel, The Glorious Heresies, won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2016 and the Desmond Elliott Prize. Her second novel, The Blood Miracles, was published by John Murray in April 2017.

Lou Wakefield

Born and brought up in Leicester, Lou Wakefield is a writer, director and actor. Highlights of her eclectic career include being in the original cast of TOP GIRLS at the Royal Court and the Public Theatre in New York; playing Janet in the ROCKY HORROR SHOW at the King's Road Theatre in 1975, and Jackie Woodstock in THE ARCHERS. TV appearances include INSIDE OUT, MORSE, THE BILL and CASUALTY. Amongst her many television productions, she has directed CORONATION STREETand BROOKSIDE. She wrote the award winning FIRM FRIENDS for ITV, and co-writes the highly successful Ladies of Letters for BBC Radio 4, which stars Prunella Scales and Patricia Routledge.

Louise Welsh

Louise Welsh is the author of eight novels including The Cutting Room, A Lovely Way to Burn and Death is a Welcome Guest. She has received numerous awards and international fellowships, including an Honorary Doctor of Arts from Edinburgh Napier University and an honorary fellowship from the University of Iowa's International Writing Program. Louise Welsh is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.

Lucy Dillon

Lucy Dillon was born in Cumbria. She won the Romantic Novelists' Association Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, and is the bestselling author of four other novels: The Ballroom Class, Walking Back to Happiness, The Secret of Happy Ever After and A Hundred Pieces of Me. Lucy now divides her time between London and the Wye Valley where she enjoys walking in the Malvern Hills with her basset hounds, Violet and Bonham. You can follow her on Twitter @lucy_dillon or on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/LucyDillonBooks.

Mandasue Heller

Mandasue Heller was born in Cheshire and moved to Manchester in 1982. She spent ten years living in the notorious Hulme Crescents which have since become the background to her novels. Not only is she a talented writer, but she has also sung in cabaret and rock groups, seventies soul cover bands and blues jam bands.www.facebook.com/mandasue.hellerwww.twitter.com/mandasueheller

Marianne Kavanagh

Marianne Kavanagh is a writer and journalist. She has worked on staff for Woman, Tatler, the Sunday Telegraph magazine and British Marie Claire, and has contributed features to a wide variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. She lives in London.

Marina Fiorato

Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian. She was born in Manchester and raised in the Yorkshire Dales. She is a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she read for a master's degree in Shakespeare. After university she studied art and worked in the film and music industries, creating visuals for U2, The Rolling Stones and the Queen musical We Will Rock You. Her novels Daughter of Siena and Beatrice & Benedick were shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Historial Fiction Award. Marina was married on the Grand Canal and lives in north London with her husband, son and daughter. You can find out more about Marina and her writing at www.marinafiorato.com and follow her on Twitter @marinafiorato

Martin Davies

Martin Davies grew up in North West England. All his writing is done in cafes, on buses or on tube trains, and an aversion to laptops means that he always works in longhand. He has travelled widely, including in the Middle East and India, and substantial parts of THE UNICORN ROAD were written while travelling through Sicily. He works as a consultant in the broadcasting industry.Translation rights in Martin's books have now been sold in Germany, Sweden, Poland, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Korea, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Holland.

Mary Stewart

Mary Stewart was one of the 20th century's bestselling and best-loved novelists. She was born in Sunderland, County Durham in 1916, but lived for most of her life in Scotland, a source of much inspiration for her writing. Her first novel, Madam, Will You Talk? was published in 1955 and marked the beginning of a long and acclaimed writing career. In 1971 she was awarded the International PEN Association's Frederick Niven Prize for The Crystal Cave, and in 1974 the Scottish Arts Council Award for one of her children's books, Ludo and the Star Horse. She was married to the Scottish geologist Frederick Stewart, and died in 2014.

Melissa Hill

Melissa Hill lives with her husband Kevin, their daughter Carrie, and their dog Homer in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. Previous titles, including The Charm Bracelet, Something from Tiffany's, The Truth About You and Please Forgive Me have all been bestsellers, and her books have been translated into twenty-three different languages. She is a Number One bestseller in Ireland and Italy.You can find out more at www.melissahill.info and at www.facebook.com/melissahillbooks or follow Melissa on Twitter @melissahillbks.

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster. His novels include The Hired Man, for which he won the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, Without a City Wall, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The Soldier's Return, winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, A Son of War and Crossing the Lines, both of which were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Place in England, which was longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize, and most recently Grace and Mary. He has also written several works of non-fiction, the most recent being The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.

Michael Koryta

Michael Koryta's novels have won the LA Times Book Prize and the Great Lakes Book Award and been nominated for the Edgar, Shamus, Quill and Barry awards. A former private investigator and newspaper reporter, he published his first novel at the age of twenty-one. His work has been translated into twenty languages.Visit Michael Koryta's website at www.michaelkoryta.com and follow Michael on Twitter @mjkoryta