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Just One Wish

Just One Wish 2

by Johns
Publication Date: 21/10/2019
5/5 Rating 2 Reviews
RRP  $32.99 $21.35

Three women, three secrets, one life-changing journey.

Alice has always been a trailblazer as a scientist, activist and mother. She knew her choices would involve sacrifices, but now, on the eve of her eightieth birthday, she's beginning to wonder if she's sacrificed too much.

Alice's daughter, Sappho, rebelled against her unconventional upbringing, choosing to marry young and embrace life as a homemaker, but her status as a domestic goddess has recently taken a surprising turn.

Ged has always been the peacemaker between her grandmother and mother. A tenacious journalist, she knows what she wants in life and love, yet when everything in her world starts falling apart, she begins to question whether she really knows anyone at all.

At a crossroads in each of their lives, Alice, Sappho and Ged embark on a celebratory trip together, but instead of bringing them closer, the holiday sparks life-changing consequences and lifts the lid on a fifty-year-old secret.

Can Ged rescue her family if their story is built on a betrayal?

From bestselling, ABIA award-winning author Rachael Johns comes an engrossing and wise novel about ambition, choices and what it means to be a woman.

Contemporary fiction
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HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (2 Ratings)
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  • An engaging tale of love, family and sacrifice.

    by on

    I have long been a fan of Rachael Johns and eagerly await all of her releases. I could not wait for the release so raced off to NetGalley and downloaded it. I read the book almost straightaway but then allowed life to get in the way, and now it’s release day so I really best get onto writing the review.
    Rachael Johns writes fascinating, strong female characters and Just One Wish brings together three such women in the same family. Three generations of very different women that you can’t help but fall in love with, even when you can’t understand them.
    Alice Abbott is a celebrated and well known feminist and scientist, she trailblazed many important changes for women and single mothers as she raised her daughter but she is also Gralice, beloved grandmother of Ged. These two are strong career driven women who know you can’t always have it all so sacrifices will have to be made. Ged is competing for a promotion when we meet her.
    Sappho is the woman between these two generations and completely different; her unconventional upbringing set her on a path to find what she felt she missed. She married young and embraced the arts of ‘new domesticity’. Her discovery of social media led her to become @thehappyhappyhousewife on Instagram and become quite the influencer, with so big a following she needs to hire an assistant.
    A lot of the contrast between Alice and Sappho is that Alice broke out of conventional female roles and Sappho embraced them. The pair are often questioned about this because they are both quite well known and I loved Alice’s answer (para-phrased) – It’s all about a woman having a choice, and if that’s her choice then that’s what matters.
    It was a bit of a bone of contention between them because Sappho always felt that Alice wanted more for her, as well as feeling that she was missing out by not having the standard nuclear family.
    We come in as Alice turns 80, and at her birthday dinner she unveils the plan for some quality time with her daughter and granddaughter…. on an Elvis cruise. If I remember correctly, I believe that Rachael Johns actually took an Elvis cruise in the name of research so I’m sure her details are pretty accurate; it would be a little much for me I think.
    Alice was certainly thorough and she know how to make sure her guests accompanied her. Ged was lured with the promise of interviews to begin work on the biography of Alice she had always wanted to write, and Sappho was a huge Elvis fan.
    Just One Wish takes us on a journey through some major crossroads for these strong, and strong willed, women. there is love, lust, heartbreak, secrets, betrayals and some rather juicy twists.
    I engaged with these characters early on and they were all quite sympathetic. There were questionable behaviours and questionable decisions but I found them all to be relatable and understandable so there was never a case of hating on characters because of the decisions that they made. I did find that I could predict a lot of what was going on, but there were some major twists at the end that I did not see coming.
    Johns has explored major life issues that affect many of us at some point with her characteristic insight and empathy. Ged, Alice and Sappho face life-altering situations with, where possible and for the most part, the support of a strong, loving, a little unconventional family.
    Everything comes at a cost and Just One Wish explores the sacrifices that we have to make to get where we want to be. Johns also explores what happens if we are left wondering if perhaps we sacrificed too much.
    I loved this book and I loved the characters. Some of the situations were very new to me and that added a layer of interest to an already engaging read.
    Nest Parenting, along with new domesticity, was a new concept to me and neither of these concepts are ones that I could see me ever embracing. Domesticity, of any description, is something that I can’t seem to find the time for but Nest Parenting was a fascinating idea, though not one I think I could ever live. I must say that I can see the merits for children but it would be a special type of parents that could make this work. Thank you for exploring this, it was certainly food for thought.
    Just One Wish is an engaging and emotional read that will make you think, and it will make you feel. There were laughs along with the tears and maybe even a couple of terribly Elvis renditions (in my head anyhow).
    Rachael Johns can be found on Twitter, Facebook and her Website.
    Just One Wish was read as part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2019, but I’m still not sure what number… I will check it one day.
    I would definitely recommend Just One Wish.

  • Funny, moving and thought-provoking, this is a del

    by on

    “I want my final message to be that women should reach for the stars and embrace their independence, but that they should also follow their hearts. If I’ve realised one thing—perhaps too late— it’s that life isn’t black and white. It’s a million shades of grey and there isn’t one truth that fits everyone.”

    Just One Wish is a novel by award-winning Australian author, Rachael Johns. A break-up with her lover, Christos, a sprained ankle and a crushed mobile phone: Geraldine Johnston’s already horrendous day isn’t going to improve at her mother’s house for a birthday party. Grandma Alice (Gralice) is turning eighty and, gifts received, is insisting that Ged and her mother, Sappho (call me Marie) go with her on a four-day Elvis cruise.

    After they pick up their jaws off the floor (how will Ged manage to keep this died-in-the-wool feminist icon and her queen-of-the-new-domesticity daughter from coming to blows?), they eventually agree. Perhaps Ged can nose out some interesting cruise-related articles for her editor at the weekend supplement. The real drawcard, though, is Gralice’s promise to help Ged with the Alice Abbott biography she’s long wanted to write. And any distraction from missing Christos will be welcome.

    But Ged wasn’t expecting to meet a handsome, ginger-haired hunk, nor what somehow follows while Marie is busy vlogging and Alice is mysteriously absent. And life from then on gets quite a lot more complicated: latent lesbian tendencies, pregnancy and paternity tests, vlogs and You-tube channels and Instagram followers, secret lovers, adultery and estrangement, publishers and public scandal, illness and regret all feature. Where will it all end?

    Johns gives the reader a bunch of fun characters: apart from our protagonist, an Uber driver, a pioneer feminist, a domesticity advocate, a Mars-mission candidate and a pair of gay grandfathers make up the main cast. By the climax, a few of them are walking around with rather large secrets that are not always their own, and she throws them some very realistic life dilemmas.

    While aspects of the plot may be fairly predictable, there are also laugh-out-loud surprises and shocks; ultimately, the journey to the bittersweet conclusion is entertaining and enjoyable. Johns touches on several topical themes like social media presence, Mars mission, me-too, and voluntary euthanasia, as well as age-old ones like gender equality. Funny, moving and thought-provoking, this is a delightfully engaging read.
    This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Harlequin Australia.