Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Book Review: A Life of Her Own by Fiona McCallum

A Life of Her Own
Fiona McCallum

Publisher: Harlequin Australia 
Imprint: HQ Fiction
Publication date: 18th March 2019
Pages: 405
RRP: $32.99 
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: copy courtesy of the publisher 

Alice Hamilton loved being a mature-age student, but now she's finished her university degree she needs to find herself a career. But the job market is tough and it doesn't help that her partner David keeps reminding her about their sizeable mortgage. When she's offered a role in a major real estate agency, she jumps at the opportunity. David is excited by her prospects in the thriving Melbourne housing market, and Alice is pleased that she'll be utilising her exceptional people skills.
But Alice quickly realises all is not as it seems. What is she doing wrong to be so out of sync with her energetic boss, Carmel Gold, agent extraordinaire? Alice is determined to make it work, but how much will it affect her values?
As everything starts to fall apart, a sudden visit home to the country town Alice escaped years ago provides an unexpected opportunity to get some perspective. Surrounded by people who aren't what they seem, or have their own agendas, can Alice learn to ask for what she really wants ... on her own terms?

It’s hard when it feels like the whole world is against you.’

A Life of Her Own is a heart-felt story of a woman with low self esteem, from years of mental abuse, and how she gets her life back on track.

I didn’t like Alice at all and then I felt bad for not liking her. She’d had a bad upbringing, always put down by her mother, always being told she was not good enough and her dreams were a stupid waste of time. Alice seemed to attract bullies and I feel that may be the way with people with low self esteem; they are an easy target.

McCallum did an excellent job of portraying how a narcissist works. There were a lot of relevant issues explored in the book. Narcissism and gas lighting are real and I think those involved need to be called out on their behaviour.

I don’t think the development of Alice’s character was well executed. We never did get to see the happy Alice she says she was before the bullying by her new boss. All we got was a confused person that didn’t like anyone. She didn’t like her mother or sister, she didn’t like her first husband, she didn’t like her present partner, she didn’t want the well paying job offered to her, she had no respect for her brother-in-law, she liked her step-father but couldn’t understand why he was so stupid to stay with her mother, she didn’t like Helen (even though she never took the time to get to know here) and the list goes on. If you always focus on the negative, life will be negative.

Lauren was the shining light in this story. She was a true and loyal friend to Alice. Always calling her and checking if she was ok. Dropping in to lend a shoulder to cry on and listen to Alice’s problems. Lauren is the one to eventually encouraged Alice to follow her dreams and supported her in ways only a true friend would.

It took a while for Alice to find herself and work out exactly what she wanted in life and to be responsible for her own happiness. Alice’s final chosen career was a surprise. I think she will need to toughen up to get through it though.

As much as I didn’t connect with Alice the story still grabbed me. I couldn’t stop reading. I picked the book up whenever I had a spare minute. And isn’t that what a great story is all about?


My rating  3/5

*This review is: 
Part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge
& Book #14 in the Australian Women Writers Challenge
Photo credit: Goodreads
Fiona McCallum spent her childhood years on the family cereal and wool farm in rural South Australia and then moved to inner-city Melbourne to study at university as a mature-age student. accidentally starting a writing and editing consultancy saw her mixing in corporate circles in Melbourne and then Sydney.
She returned to Adelaide for a slower paced life and to chase her dream of becoming a author - which took nearly a decade full of rejections from agents and publishers to achieve. Fiona now works as a full-time novelist and really is proof dreams can come true. Fiona writes heart-warming stories of self-discovery that draw on her life experiences, love of animals and fascination with the human condition. 

She is the author of ten Australian bestsellers: 'Paycheque', 'Nowhere Else', 'Wattle Creek', 'Saving Grace', 'Time Will Tell',  'Meant To Be', 'Leap of Faith', 'Standing Strong', 'Finding Hannah' and 'Making Peace'. A Life of Her Own is Fiona's eleventh novel.   



  1. Great review, I was disappointed with the last book I read by fiona, I might give this one a miss, I don't want to read another book with a main character I don't like

    1. I have quite a few of Fiona's books on my shelf so I will see how I go with them.

  2. I am glad you enjoyed the story, despite your issues with Alice.