Notting Hill Yummy Mummy (check out her recent blog tour to find out more about Isabella!) I was pretty excited about this book as soon as I heard about it. A new city, rivalry, anonymous blogging...it seemed like a promising debut!
When her husband lands a job opportunity that's hard to turn down, Sophie Bennett begins to prepare the family's big move from Toronto to London. Moving to a new city is hard enough, but heading to a new city halfway across the globe is even more difficult - especially when there's Sophie's four-year-old daughter Kaya's schooling to consider.
Luckily, Michael's contacts have landed them the services of a nursery consultant who manages to get Kaya a place at Cherry Blossoms, one of the most exclusive nurseries in Notting Hill. Sophie is sure that taking Kaya to her new school will provide the perfect opportunity to talk to the other mums and make new friends - but as it happens, she couldn't be more wrong.
The mums at Cherry Blossoms are not what Sophie expects; incedibly wealthy, beautiful (one is an actual supermodel) and just a bit judgemental, Sophie's first interactions with the 'Alpha Mums' doesn't exactly go down too well. Feeling self-conscious and out of her depth at the school gates of exclusivity she has not fully experienced before, Sophie vows to try again.
However, she soon becomes certain that she won't fit in with these high-maintenance mums who are always fighting for the top spot in the Alpha Mum roster. Rude, cliquey and fiercely competitive in everything they do, these 'yummy mummies' are desperate to outdo one another and take down anyone who gets in their way.
Lonely and homesick, Sophie takes out her frustration on a blog. Naming herself 'Beta Mum', she anonymously chronicles her day to day life at the school gates, noting some of the conversations and goings-on at some of the vast Cherry Blossoms events. Pretty soon Sophie is gaining followers from all around the world, who are stopping by to share their own amusing tales of school-run woes.
As the blog gains more attention - especially from one man who might just be married to one of the Alphas - Sophie becomes more content, making sure she documents her new life full of overachieving competitive mums for the world to read about. With her blog, people are finally listening to her, making her realise that she's not alone.
That is until one day, when she accidentally reveals the location of the London nursery, and it's only a matter of time before the Alpha's work out the mystery blogger's true identity...
I'm going to stop there in case I spoil any more, and I certainly don't want to do that because this book is downright brilliant. I was hooked from page one, and it didn't take me long to finish because I could hardly put it down. Isabella is funny, with sparkling wit, and her fun writing style shines through. I was rooting for Sophie since the very beginning of the novel.
I'm not a mum, and thus have never experienced the kind of behaviour Sophie has to endure at the nursery, however I have heard similar stories from others who have! It reminds me of high school, where classes were dominated by the typical cliques and bullies. Some people just never seem to grow up, often concealing their own problems and insecurities beneath a false layer of confidence, and I think Isabella has captured this brilliantly.
The Beta Mum: Adventures in Alpha Land is an absolutely wonderful, unputdownable debut.