I howled with laughter, tears of recognition at every bloody page. My only problem with this book was choosing who to pass it on to first
– Jenny Colgan
Aged 42, Judith O’Reilly gave up a highly successful career – with BBC Television’s ‘Newsnight’ and at the Sunday Times – to follow her husband’s dream of moving to rural Northumberland. They were both at that point reeling from the death of a still-born child and re-examining their lives in the round. And as Alastair, her husband, had always loved Northumberland more than anything, and she loved Alastair enough to gamble on his dream, Judith then surrendered her career and moved with two young boys (and again pregnant) to an area half an hour’s drive from the nearest town. Only to find, irony of ironies, that the sole way by which they could then make ends meet was for Alastair to return to work in London for weeks at a time, leaving her alone and friendless with three children under the age of six in a building site…
So she started a blog to chart the calamitous move – – which became an instant hit with writers across a spectrum, from Andrew Sullivan in the US to Tom Watson in the UK.
As charted on the blog, the deal Judith has struck with Alastair is that on 20 December she will decide – alone – whether the family stays or whether they move back to London. Will she stick it out up north, or will she come back to her lucrative career and 17-year-old London web of friendships and contacts?
A wonderfully commercial project allied to a very strong new voice, WIFE IN THE NORTH will appeal as much to those who loved Bridget Jones as to readers of such books as A Year in Provence. Emotionally, this book can’t fail to move and, as Judith says, she’s as much of an explorer in Northumberland as she would be if she had moved to the Congo.
Judith O‘Reilly is the former education correspondent of The Sunday Times. She was also a political producer for Channel 4 News and for BBC 2’s Newsnight. Her first non-fiction book WIFE IN THE NORTH was published by Viking, Penguin, sold into nine languages and was a best seller in the UK and Germany. WIFE IN THE NORTH was based on her hit blog of the same name recounting her fish-out-of-water experience of moving from London to Northumberland with her young family. Judith still lives in Northumberland and has three children. She is available for good deeds.