The Marriage Mender

The Marriage Mender

 The only relationship she may not be able to save is her own.

Alison is a marriage mender. She helps couples who fear they have reached the end of the line. But the trouble with spending your time sorting out other people’s problems is that you tend to take your eye off your own.

Even when her husband’s ex Lydia arrives on the doorstep demanding to see her son, Alison thinks she can handle it.

But what Alison doesn’t realise, is that Lydia is the one person who has the ability to destroy their happy family. And sometimes the cracks can run so deep that even a marriage mender can’t repair them.


About this book

There are an awful lot of ‘girl meets boy’ or ‘girl looking for a boy’ books out there. I’m 44 years old, I’ve been with my husband for 23 years. To be honest, I feel about as far away from that whole ‘dating’ scene as it’s possible to be. What interests me far more is how, or if, couples stay together. Because let’s face it, in the real world we know that it’s not always a case of ‘happy ever after’ which a couple finally get together. It’s hard. Very hard. Some of my friends have made it through similarly long relationships, others haven’t. Along the way friends and family have had to copy with everything life throws at them; death of a child, miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility, death of parents, cancer, serious illness, life-threatening accidents, coma, psychiatric illness/breakdowns, mental health problems/depression, redundancy, raising a family, financial problems. To be honest, I sometime find it incredible how many couple do manage to stay together, given what life has thrown at them.

That is why I wanted to write a novel about a couple whose relationship was put under great strain. I wanted to test them to the limit to see how they coped. And when they didn’t, I wanted to be there with them. That’s why I decided to set the opening scene of The Marriage Mender in a relationship counselling session. I wanted to be clear from the start that we are dealing with a couple whose relationship is in crisis. And I then wanted to take a step back in time to see how they got to that crisis point, before taking the story beyond it to see if their relationship could survive.

Alison and Chris love each other. Couples who get together generally do. The question is whether that love is strong enough to whether the storm and whether they have the desire and the strength to push through to the other side.

In between the chapters I’ve written a series of ‘talking heads’ from fictional clients of Alison’s, discussing the moment when they knew their relationship was in trouble.

I was inspired to do so by the lovely vignettes the late, great Nora Ephron put in at the end of her wonderful film When Harry Met Sally. She went along to old people’s homes and talked to elderly couples about the moment they first met, then got actors to play the parts.

I wanted to turn that on its head by getting fictional characters to talk about the moment when they knew their relationship was in trouble. Hopefully, some of them are amusing, hopefully some are poignant. But what I hope they will do is focus attention on just how hard it is to stay together so that readers are rooting for Alison and Chris even more.


‘Thoroughly enjoyable’ Julie Cohen, author of Dear Thing