The Making of Her by Susie Nott-Bower

Critics’ Reviews

A truly intelligent, incisive page-turner with so much to say about women’s lives – a sharp, satisfying treat of a read!
— Kate Harrison, author of The Secret Shopper novels

The Making of Her is a story of two mature intelligent women who have so much more to offer the world and who have yet to fulfil their potential. It is a novel of hope and positivity. An excellent read – one of my favourite novels of 2012.
— Jo Derrick, editor, The Yellow Room magazine

Nott-Bower makes good use of the extreme makeover TV documentary format to question the inherent value of radically changing a woman’s physical appearance to build her confidence.
— Jenny Gorrod, Dundee University Review of the Arts

Readers old enough to remember Barbara Raskin’s ground-breaking 1987 novel Hot Flashes will take comfort in a novel that focuses not on thirty-somethings but the travails, physical and emotional, of fifty-year-old women. The novel’s combination of commitment and readability are reminiscent of Elizabeth Buchan and Anna Quindlen
— Elsbeth Lindner, BookOxygen
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it’s a rare treat to find someone who shows as much startling potential as debut novelist Susie Nott-Bower. The Making of Her is an entertaining story, with characters you cannot help but become attached to. Nott-Bower writes of her characters’ insecurities and worries with touching precision and a competence that made me feel as though these characters really exist somewhere.
— Kate Wilson, Dead Ink

I usually read in the afternoons if I am free, and found myself looking forward to getting back to the book to find out how the story was developing. I organise a reading group, and this certainly would be a book I would recommend, if I hadn’t already read it!
—Dixie James, Prospero magazine

Readers’ Reviews

I’ve just finished it! Very, very accomplished, compelling, moving… It has important things to say, and says them so beautifully. It will stay in my mind for a long time. In fact, it’s the sort of book that makes me want to curl up in a corner somewhere and give up writing forever – because its so good! I’ve just given it five stars on Goodreads.

Huge congratulations on a wonderful debut, Susie.

I couldn’t put this book down and curled up reading it for hours until I turned the last page. Set in London with lots of local references, everyone can relate to the characters. One is stressed out from work, wondering what she’s doing with her life and searching for answers, the other hates what she sees in the mirror and resorts to drastic changes that she lives to regret. In reading, you become swept along, wanting it to all work out in the end, but not sure how it will. It does, but you’ll have to get to the final page to find out. Buy it, read it, love it. I did.

I wanted to tell you I began reading The Making of Her at nine last night – read til eleven, woke at four to continue and then finished it in three hours later this afternoon – absolutely enthralled and could not put it down in just the way I remember feeling about books when I was a child. A wonderful achievement, Susie. Thank you for giving me the pleasure.

Susie Nott-Bower’s sharp and sensitive observations are expressed in a distinctive and assured style. She has created characters to feel with and feel for. We must hope that this highly readable debut novel will be the making of Susie Nott-Bower as a writer for the future.

Beautifully written and thought-provoking, it was a really satisfying read.

Susie Nott-Bower has created two complex, intriguing, fifty year old female protagonists who play out their roles as opposites but who move closer and closer together as the story develops. I love their resilience, their intellect, and their vulnerability. The best lines in this novel are left to the women.

I was surprised at the breadth of Nott-Bower’s supporting characters, males who actually held their own as full bodied versions of male pulchritude. Here were the vulnerable and the needy as well as the strong and the independent.

The plot line is NOT what I expected as I began reading. Indeed, the story is superbly developed and many layered, feminist without being preachy, altogether a good read, one which kept me engrossed to the very last line.

I really do urge you to read this book, which I have just finished. It is rare, in my experience, to find a book that is thought-provoking and deeply moving, yet also so uplifting. The characters’ inner lives, their hopes and dreams and private despairs, are handled so delicately. The author never crushes them in her grasp, but seems to stand back and let them live and suffer and grow and, in the end, fly free. The book has some very important things to say, none of which can be summarised so I won’t try. But if there is a ‘message’, it is never allowed to become more important than the characters themselves, and the intricacy and complexity of their private journeys.

A very accomplished debut which I thoroughly recommend. I will be eagerly awaiting the next novel by this talented author.

Probably 80% of my reading has been of crime novels in the past year, by definition full of tension and therefore intended to be page-turners, but none have gripped quite as The Making of Her did – I continued reading hours past when I should be eating, told my daughter to phone back when I still had half a dozen pages to go and finished the book with a great sigh of pleasure and the knowledge that my time had been very well, and thoroughly enjoyably, spent.

Jo and Clara are post-age-forty individuals of a ‘type’ unknown to me but so very real and their thoughts and reactions are entirely, and compellingly, believable.

What I really liked about the book, though, was what a page-turner it was. All sorts of things I didn’t see coming. I got as hooked on this as I would have been with a thriller – found it very hard to put down. And there’s some beautiful writing.


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