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Rosy Fenwicke
Hot Flush
Euphemia Sage watches helplessly as Jane covered in blood and still clutching her precious jewellery is bundled into the waiting Mercedes. Only a few days earlier she had discovered Alison her mousy receptionist at Sage Consulting had been moon-lighting as a loan shark on the side. Now Alison, her husband and those thick-necked goons in suits wanted their money back. Euphemia, her super-powers recently triggered by the onset of menopause has set out to help her friend Jane. But how? She doesn't yet know what the superpowers are, let alone how to work them. What had seemed like a simple plan goes terribly wrong when Alison suddenly produces a gun.
New Zealand Booksellers Review

Along with death and taxes, menopause is a guarantee in life if you are female. Although many women would also agree that men go through a manopause, but that is an entirely different subject all together. So really this is a book that has the potential to be a compulsory read for every woman. And so it should be!!! Not because of the big M and the many negatives that word and state of being evoke,  but because it is a delightful, funny, slightly silly, uplifting, and very absorbing novel. The cover: who can resist a pug and a designer handbag?

The pug, going by the adorable name of Petal, belongs to Euphemia Sage, a 53 year old woman, happily married to Kenneth with whom she owns and manages a business consultancy – Sage Consulting. Both born and brought up in Wellington, they live close to the CBD, have two adult daughters and life is pretty peachy. Euphemia however knows that she has a predetermined destiny – she is genetically programmed, as the oldest daughter of an oldest daughter and so on back through time, that she will develop superhuman powers all in the name of doing good in the world. She has no idea what form all this will take but is very excited about the prospect of amazing things happening to her.

And suddenly they do! An old school friend, Jane, is in some serious trouble, and it appears that Sage Consulting’s frumpy, grumpy, bedraggled receptionist Alison is somehow involved. Kenneth isn’t much help as he has disappeared with Jane’s husband and a few others to a weekend long golf tournament, leaving Euphemia, Jane and Petal to face up to the baddies.

You could quite easily see how this could descend into farce, complete silliness, stereotyped characters, and general mayhem. Well, let me tell you, it does not. This is as much a story of menopausal empowerment as it is a story of friendship, family, and simply getting on with it. Euphemia is such a great character – down to earth, hard working, determined, ever curious. She  has her intolerances with people she knows as we all do, her husband is not perfect as most husbands aren’t, but she still loves him as most of us do too. This all makes her so relatable that her superpowers when they do show themselves, are exciting and amazing, and not weird or creepy as one may think. She knows how to kick butt, and she does. The other characters – Jane, Alison, Malcolm, Grant, daughters Kezia and Nicky, are all very real people. There is some cliche attached to each, but they are also very human in their goodness/badness, the reader glimpsing into their makeup and motivations.

I loved this, just loved it, reading it one Friday night when I had the house to myself, a glass of wine in hand, well, more than one actually, music playing and the cat stretched out on my legs. Totally perfect. I cannot wait to read the sequel to this No Sweat.

Reviewed by Felicity Murray