Instructions for Bringing up Scarlett

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Instructions for Bringing Up Scarlett - Annie Sanders, book reviewInstructions for Bringing up Scarlett‘ is the latest book from Annie Sanders, who is in fact two people – Annie Ashworth and Meg Sanders – who write together very successfully. In this book, a young girl is tragically orphaned when her parents are killed in a car accident and it is left to her mum’s best friend, Alice Mclean to bring her up as she is now the legal guardian. With a successful career, an enjoyable single life and no real experience of children, this is a daunting task for Alice. Somehow though, she and Scarlett need to find a way to muddle through and carve out a life together. ‘Instructions for Bringing up Scarlett‘ tells the wonderful story of how this happens, and is at times painful but rewarding for both of them.

The storyline is in many ways similar to Dorothy Koomson’s ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’ and Rowan Coleman’s ‘The Accidental Mother’ but in other ways it is also very different so don’t think that it is more of the same. It is just as emotional and moving but there are also a couple of unexpected twists that make for quite intriguing reading.

Instructions for Bringing up Scarlett‘ moves seamlessly between the past and present. Half of the chapters tell of what happens after Scarlett’s parents, Virginia and Piers, die and how the eleven year old girl comes to terms with what has happens. It also tells of Alice’s efforts to help and support Scarlett and also of quite a few run-ins with Judy, Scarlett’s grandmother and Piers’ mother, who has very strong ideas about how her granddaughter should be brought up. These chapters are all very emotional and definitely found me shedding a few tears as I was reading, but also very enjoyable and uplifting.

“The storyline is absorbing, the characters seem real.”

The alternating chapters go back in time and show Virginia and Piers through their marriage and their desperation to have a baby that almost put an end to their relationship – that was until Scarlett came along and they both became doting parents. These are happier chapters on the whole although there are still stressful times especially when their beloved daughter becomes seriously ill. The reader also gets to know Virginia very well through these chapters as she shares her inner-most thoughts by writing a diary to Scarlett. As I was reading, I really enjoyed the way that the story switched its focus between the past, the diary and the present and it really helped to slowly piece together all that had happened.

Instructions for Bringing up Scarlett‘ was the sort of book that had me hooked from the very page. The storyline is absorbing, the characters seem real and also mainly likeable, and I just wanted to keep reading on to find out how it would all turn out. By the time that I reached the 342nd and final page, which did not take me long, I was well satisfied but also left wanting a bit more. I shall definitely be seeking out more Annie Sanders books in the future.

Instructions for Bringing up Scarlett by Annie Sanders
Published by Orion, Jun 2011
With thanks to publishers for providing a review copy.

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Instructions for Bringing up Scarlett
by Annie Sanders

One Comment on "Instructions for Bringing up Scarlett"

  1. Meg
    09/08/2012 at 10:14 Permalink

    Thanks for a lovely review! So glad you enjoyed it x

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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