Her Giant Octopus Moment by Kay Langdale was going to be just my cup of tea.
Due to be published in January 2012 by Hodder and Stoughton, this is Kay Langdale's third novel, but the first of hers that I have read.
The story centres around two main characters, Joanie Simpson and her eleven year old daughter Scout.
Joanie was never supposed to be a mother, not in the conventional sense anyway. Joanie had made one of her trademark snap decisions and offered to be a surrogate mother, her next snap decision was to decide to keep her baby after all, destroying the dreams of the potential new parents and changing her own life forever.
When an eagle-eyed embryologist spots Joanie and Scout in a park eleven years later, their past starts to catch up with them.
Scout Simpson, named after Demi Moore and Bruce Willis' daughter and not taken from Harper Lee's novel as most people would assume, is one of the most wonderful child characters I've ever come across.
Despite her gypsy-like lifestyle and Joanie's dubious parenting skills, Scout is a happy, adaptable little girl with an enormous thirst for knowledge who loves nothing better than to teach herself a few words of a new language, or to work out a difficult mathematical problem.
When Joanie receives a letter from Social Services, their flight begins. Scout is dragged from place to place, not attending school but learning all the time. From a cold and lonely block of flats in Birmingham to the fruit fields of Norfolk, Scout adapts and learns.
A story about motherhood about survival and about surrogacy. A story about choices and why people make them, and their consequences. Just what makes a good mother? Is it someone who is there when you finish school? Someone who makes sure you are fed and your teeth are brushed? Is is someone who brings adventure into your life, and shows you new places and experiences?
Kay Langdale draws fabulous characters, both Scout and Joanie are lovable and real. Mr Groves, the ex butler who lives in the flats in Birmingham is beautifully described, a gentleman who teaches Scout about the finer things in life, and Mr Mohammed, the shopkeeper who makes sure she is learning something new every day.
Both funny and poignant, warm and witty, with some fabulous characters and a thought provoking plot line - I enjoyed the read immensely.