A good start on my May NetGalley reads with this light, kindhearted novel from Sara Cox. I haven’t got round to reading her autobiography yet but I was drawn here by the pottery-making theme and the ensemble cast.

Sara Cox – “Thrown”

(31 March 2022 – NetGalley)

Sexual tension plus transporting breakable goods was a potentially disastrous combination. She carefully placed the finished pots on wooden boards ready to be displayed in the main room.

In a small northern town, we meet Becky, who runs the community centre on an estate of houses; she’s got a grant to run a pottery class and found a tutor, Sasha, who she’s worried will be floating and over-feminine: Becky has a lovely son she’s very close to and a no-good ex, currently in prison, who she’s frankly afraid of. All at sea having lost her mum so many years ago, she lacks confidence but loves the estate. Louise, Jameela and Sheila sign up for the course: Louise is stuck in a rut in her marriage and her job and wonders if her sketching hobby is enough to keep her in both; Jameela is mourning yet another failed round of IVF and Sheila has a depressed retired husband at home and a feeling she might not be as needed any more. Through the book – and the potter, Sasha, who is nothing like Becky feared, they each find their own strength and friendship.

The book is competently done, with the strands of plot hanging together well and the developing friendships believable. There’s a good vein of earthy humour where you can see Cox’s voice shine through: Jameela shouting about Le Creuset pans being a case in point. There is a lot of trauma behind the net curtains and I’d put out there a content warning for domestic violence and fertility struggles. Everyday life is realistic and entertaining, and I liked how most of the characters were a little older, giving a nice range to the book. There was one plot point I guessed immediately but was one you don’t necessarily find so much in popular culture now: I can’t say more without a spoiler but it was slightly odd.

But a decent feel-good read, I’d say a good holiday read, and a nice lot about making pots in it, too!

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton / Coronet for making this book available to me in return for an honest review. “Thrown” is published on 12 May 2022.