Sarah Haywood - The Cactus - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781473660649
    • Publication date:25 Jan 2018
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    • ISBN:9781473660632
    • Publication date:04 Oct 2018

The Cactus

how a prickly heroine learns to bloom

By Sarah Haywood
Read by Katherine Manners

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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.

At forty-five, 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 most unlikely 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.

'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.

(P)2017 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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.

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  • ISBN: 9781473660977
  • Publication date: 25 Jan 2018
  • Page count:
  • 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
Hilarious and endearing ... anchored by the splendid character of Susan — Publisher's Weekly
This book is charming and easy to read, the perfect tonic to this absurdly grey February — The Pool
Susan Green is an independent and endearingly prickly woman whose life is spiralling out of control. You're gonna love her. — Marie Claire AUS
An original, engaging and totally believable character — Graeme Simsion
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
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