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August book club - The Cactus. Leave your questions and reviews here

(60 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 31-Jul-18 10:53:24

As it says on the tin grin - but here's the thread to leave your thoughts on The find out more about the book we have a page HERE

LynnKnowles Tue 31-Jul-18 11:00:30

Thanks for The Cactus - really enjoying it already. The stresses and frustrations of sibling tensions laid bare.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 31-Jul-18 14:18:44

I loved it. Susan Green is one of my new literary heroes!!

annep Tue 31-Jul-18 17:21:30

Just home after week away and received The Cactus!? can't wait to start !

Greenfinch Wed 01-Aug-18 13:29:03

Thanks for my copy which was waiting for me when I returned from holiday yesterday.

LynnKnowles Thu 02-Aug-18 16:22:35

Having now finished 'The Cactus'can highly recommend !
Well written, amusing and a really good read. The characters are believable and sympathetically drawn - am passing this book on to friends and I am confident they will like it, too. Looking forward to her next novel.
Thank You !

LadyGracie Thu 02-Aug-18 19:29:44

What a brilliant book! I really didn’t want to put it down, it was a case of wondering what was going to happen next! So well written, so ‘tight’, no padding. Often when I’m reading a book I skim paragraphs that don’t bring anything to the plot, not so with this one, if you did you’d miss something.
I look forward to more from Sarah Haywood.
I’ll pass it on.

Purpledaffodil Thu 02-Aug-18 21:53:13

Yet another GN excellent read. Susan’s voice is so distinctive and the reasons for her spikiness become apparent through the narrative, making her a sympathetic character despite this. The author has a gift for producing well rounded characters. Even the awful brother and aunt aren’t all bad!
Love the way that Sarah Haywood’s life experiences as lawyer, Brummie and mother are used to bring this well written story to,life. Would like to ask if there is any chance of a sequel? I was sorry to finish this book.

mbody Fri 03-Aug-18 10:05:57

Thoroughly enjoyed this book, it kept my interest from page 1. Well written, beautiful described characters and an excellent story line. Look forward to more books from this lady.

SusieWilkinson Sun 05-Aug-18 11:59:06

What a beautiful looking book, thank you!
I could empathise with Susan, being ASD, very independent and set in my ways, albeit a little older!
Change can be so hard, even if it is for the best, and seeing the gradual transformation of Susan filled me with a little hope for all us types!

granfromafar Sun 05-Aug-18 13:48:32

Like annep, returned from a week away to find a book-shsped parcel from GN Thank you! Have read 3 chapters and enjoying it a lot. Will post review when finished.

RosemaryAnne Mon 06-Aug-18 10:43:24

Have read my book the Cactus by Sarah Haywood. What a wonderful novel. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Found it hard to put down. Had me "with it" from page 1. I will look out for her next novel. Sure we will be seeing more of her. I might just add that the cover is spectacular. That alone would make me want to pick it up. Thank you for the chance to read it.

Happiyogi Mon 06-Aug-18 22:12:04

I have very much enjoyed reading The Cactus, mostly when sitting out in the garden. Thank you for my copy.

I've loved Sarah's writing style. It is engaging and keeps the story moving along with a deft, light touch. The only fly in the ointment for me was the inexplicable and relentless use by every character of the American "Mom" instead of "Mum". Can I ask why? Is this version of the book intended for the US market? It particularly grated when older characters like Aunt Sylvia and the neighbour, Margaret, used it. I'd like to think that this was just some sort of error and that the English word will have been substituted in future editions!

I'm now very much looking forward to Sarah's next novel.

Mapleleaf Tue 07-Aug-18 16:57:44

Hi Happiyogi.
I'm not sure that it has been written as Mom for the American market, but rather that that is the way Mum is pronounced in the Birmingham area? I may be wrong, but I worked with a colleague who was from West Bromwich, and she always said Mom when talking about her Mum.

Happiyogi Tue 07-Aug-18 18:38:43

Hi Mapleleaf,

Thanks for your explanation. That would make much more sense, given the attention to detail Sarah Haywood has shown everywhere else in the book.

Because the term is all over the internet, and I loathe it, I probably put two and two together without using my abacus!

Mapleleaf Thu 09-Aug-18 10:59:58

Well, I've got to the end of this book and thoroughly enjoyed it, so thank you once again, GN, for another excellent read.
I loved the way the characters evolved as the story progressed, especially Susan, and I think that Sarah has demonstrated a good grasp of human nature, frailties and relationships in this book.
I look forward to future novels, and would like to ask Sarah if she has any in the pipeline already?

Venus Sat 11-Aug-18 09:18:13

I haven't finish the book yet, but love the intimate style of writing in the first person. The language is believable and the characters well drawn. Wills can be the most bone of contention in families so I will be interested to read the outcome of this story. Thank you for a very good read.

gillyknits Sun 12-Aug-18 16:05:12

I really loved this book and couldn’t put it down . The well drawn characters carry you through the ups and downs of Susan Green’s life. She has always lived her life with complete control over every aspect. Her job involves facts and figures and she’s not averse to telling others how to do their jobs. She tends to base her assumptions about people on their appearance and is quite dismissive of people who look like they aren’t as educated as her.
When she becomes pregnant she finds that she can’t control things any more. Revelations about her past cause her to re assess the foundations upon which she has lived her whole life.
Pregnancy makes her accept friendships that she would previously reject. . Her upstairs neighbour becomes a helpful friend and Rob the landscaper becomes more than just a friend!
I like the title as it not only covers the fact that Susan grows cactus but also her very prickly personality developed to keep everyone at arms length.
A really excellent debut novel and I’m really looking forward to more from Sarah Haywood.
I’d be interested to know where Sarah got the idea for making her central character so hard to like at first?

Greenfinch Mon 13-Aug-18 13:57:08

I loved all the characters in this book,even Edward who lightened up as the narrative progressed and brought in some humour.I felt a bit sorry for Richard and his mum and hope they would have some contact with the baby as a result of Rob's experience. It was interesting to see how Susan 's world was turned upside down and how she handled it.She was a fascinating character and I wonder if she was based on anyone Sarah knew.
Why did Susan not have a driving license or a passport? I would have thought that such an organised and intelligent person would at least be able to drive as well as have been abroad.
I liked the way she was never called Sue.That would have made her seem a more familiar and friendly kind of person.
All together a very good read. Thank you.

middleagespread Mon 13-Aug-18 14:04:54

I will post review when finished but I'm not going to hurry it as the writing so lovely I just want to savour it.Chapter seven tonight.

Miriam Mon 13-Aug-18 17:15:51

A fantastic read, I could not put it down. The characters are so well described and lifelike. For all her hard outer shell you felt you warmed to Susan and really wanted her to be happy and find love. Even Edward was almost likeable towards the end.
I really hope Sarah has some more books in the pipeline. She is a wonderful talented new writer, I have already passed my copy on to a friend and will spread the word.

Gardendisy Mon 13-Aug-18 20:30:52

Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish and I loved the characters especially Susan and Rob. It left me feeling happy that they got together in the end , although I also feel wuite lost now that it is finished. I shall definitely be looking out for more of her books.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 14-Aug-18 09:32:48

Ah delighted to see that everyone is enjoying it. I loved it too

hulahoop Wed 15-Aug-18 19:58:45

Enjoying THE CACTUS immensely I grew to like the character after thinking what a hard person to get to know , which of course what the author wanted . Hope Susan as another book in the pipeline .

Grandange Wed 15-Aug-18 20:16:38

Came home from holiday to rain and this book! Perfect combination as I sat down and read it in one go. I feel sad to have finished it and want to know what happens next! Suze is so prickly and touchy that you start off wanting to shake her and end up loving the strong character and doting mother she has become. Even the feckless brother improves during the 9 months we hear about him! Wonderful read. Thankyou