Posted in Writing


I’m really pleased to be joining the tour celebrating Laura’s paperback release of What Doesn’t Kill You. Today I’m welcoming her as a guest on my blog and I’ve also taken the opportunity to include my Amazon review for this compelling read.

The Happiness Jar

Hi, Jo, and thank you for helping me celebrate the paperback release of my novel, What Doesn’t Kill You. I received an extra present in the post over Christmas – my author copies of the book. Holding the paperback version was a special moment and if Evie, one of the wdky-spinesmain characters in WDKY, had received such a gift, she would have written the moment down on a slip of paper and popped it into her Happiness jar.
The idea of the Happiness jar developed early in in the plotting of What Doesn’t Kill You. It’s Evie’s jar, but it’s for the family – Griff, Evie’s husband, and Tess, Evie’s fifteen-year-old daughter, also contribute to its content, adding notes of particular achievements, successes and happy times – times hard to come by for the Hendry family.
Tess considers how the jar reflects their lives, especially her mum’s.
From the corner of my eye I can see a glass container sitting on the terracotta-tiled sill. It’s Mum’s Happiness jar, and it has two measly slips of paper languishing at the bottom. To the inexperienced, they could be dead, decaying moths. It’s sad. I pray it’s not a reflection of her life. She deserves so much more. She deserves a greenhouse filled with happiness, Crystal Palace even, not an old, empty jam jar.

The plan is for Evie to empty the Happiness jar on New Year’s Eve and read out the notes to the family. It’s a way of keeping precious memories so they can be enjoyed and celebrated.
With New Year’s Eve 2016 behind us, I wonder how many people emptied their Happiness jar and how many started one for the first time this year?
I don’t keep a jar, but I do have plenty of photographs and videos and with today’s technology, it’s easy to find out when they were taken, and then sort them into digital files. Does that count as a virtual jar?
My mum was diligent when it came to photos. She liked to have an actual photo which we’d put into albums and then label. Second copies of photos of my children were slipped into small, hand sized photo wallets and kept in the toy box for them to view whenever they visited. My son and daughter loved going through them with their gran, seeing themselves as babies. I can picture them now, snuggling up to her on the sofa and pointing out the tiniest things in the photo and asking a hundred questions. It kept them amused for hours.
How long the notes in Evie’s jar keep her amused depends on how empty or full the receptacle is …
With that thought I’d like to thank you for having me here and for your wonderful review of What Doesn’t Kill You, Jo, and wish a happy New Year to you and your readers.

Laura x



I have read Choc Lit novels before, but nothing like this one. It’s a wonderful new departure – dark, deep and incredibly emotional.

Griff thought he had a good marriage with Evie but now she is pushing him away and he doesn’t know why. Evie, who is Griff’s father’s carer is in a difficult situation. Arthritic and in constant pain, Logan has asked for help with something that goes against everything she believes in. The only way she can cope with this dilemma is by distancing herself from Griff. Tess, Evie’s daughter from her first marriage is still affected by the abuse she saw her mother go through. At fifteen and wary of men she’s still not sure about Griff and at the same time is struggling with her own sexuality. And even Griff has his own torments – haunted by the death of a friend and still at odds with his father for not doing enough to prolong his mother’s life when she was diagnosed with cancer. This is a complex story written very skilfully from three viewpoints which allows you to be intimately connected to the challenges faced by Griff, Evie and Tess. Definitely deserving of every one of the five stars I’ve awarded.