Book review: an intriguing cruise with Slippers In The Oven

HTWB SlippersIf you’re someone who doesn’t have a sense of humor about ocean cruises, don’t read “Slippers In The Oven” by Roberta Aarons.

It’s a vicious yet hysterically funny pastiche about the modern holiday/vacation cruise business and the passengers it attracts.

But, the main arterial element of the book is a disturbing and heart-rending story of two estranged sisters trying to find a workable relationship after a lifetime of rivalry and misunderstanding, who decide they might achieve this on an ocean cruise which is territorially and emotionally neutral.

Novelist Roberta Aarons, author of “Slippers In The Oven,” was once a client of mine and became a very good friend.** Sensibly, after many years trying – as a business TV producer – to wrench some sense out of writers and other wacky “creatives” like me, Roberta got out of that and turned her incredibly talented hand to fiction writing.

Her first novel, “My Grandfather’s False Teeth,” was a striking and poignant story of a Jewish family leaving Poland in the early 20th century to make their way in London, England. I fell in love with Roberta’s writing with that book and was eagerly awaiting her next tome. Having now read it, I’m even more enthusiastic about her skill at entwining the pathos of human relationships with a quirky sense of humor that picks up on the lunacy of life, wherever you experience it.

In “Slippers In The Oven” we meet Emma and Ann, united by a very unfortunate coincidence whereby Ann had married a sort-of boyfriend of Emma’s, Henry, and had three children by him before he hit mid-life madness, re-convened an affair with Emma, then dumped Ann and the children seduced by the child-free career woman that Emma had become.

A few years later Henry died, which created some pretty embarrassing and difficult circumstances at his funeral. The sisters just manage to deal with the intense discomfort caused by this unfortunate emotional meat grinder. Next, as we join the story, having been rivals since childhood but still wanting to hang on to those sibling ties, they agree to embark on a cruise around the Mediterranean to see if they can dig out a new relationship from all the crap of preceding years.

The book has you howling with laughter one minute at the utter insanity of the ocean cruise micro-culture, then weeping tears at the repeated misunderstandings and disagreements the sisters experience as they painfully pick their ways through their old relationship and try to find a new one.

blog,writing,news,blogging,businessIt’s a wonderful story because it explores sibling rivalry in a way that few other books I’ve read can even touch. Being an only child I can only guess at what that can feel like: Roberta paints the picture in a way that’s powerful and sensitive at the same time, which helps me understand how sibling rivalry could have affected me.

And although I have always fancied going on a cruise when I retire, “Slippers In The Oven” really has made me think again. But I enjoyed every minute of reading the book and thoroughly recommend it!

**Disclaimer: although Roberta is a friend and former client of mine, I have received no payment or other incentive to promote the book via this article or anywhere else. If I hadn’t thought it was a great read, I wouldn’t have written anything about it at all.

Book details

Slippers In The Oven
Roberta Aarons
Published by Indepenpress Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978-1-78003-754-7
Available on
Amazon UK (print)
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Also available on other Amazons worldwide

 

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Thoughts

  1. Gerry Pirani says:

    Roberta is a lucky woman to have a friend so thorough in her review. Nice job!

    • Thanks for your comment Gerry – as I say in the review, if I hadn’t genuinely liked the book I wouldn’t have reviewed it. That way you remain an honest reviewer without hurting friends’ feelings. I loved Roberta’s first novel, too, and can’t wait for her to write another one…

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