Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


Louise Gilbert
Wholly Naomi: One Woman, Nine Numbers, and a Cat Looking for Love

Adult; Self-Help, Sex & Relationships, Psychology, Philosophy, Fashion; (Market)

Wholly Naomi captures Naomi's journey towards finding meaning, navigating through her feelings of emptiness and disconnection from life. Guided by a transformative book and its nine life-altering principles, she embarks on a path of self-discovery, mirrored by her bond with a stray ginger kitten seeking its place in the world. Along her journey, Naomi learns to shed the burdens of societal expectations, letting go of who she thought she should be, or should have, realising that true happiness and her best life lie in embracing her authentic self. Wholly Naomi is an invitation to readers to embark on their own transformative journey, blending storytelling and life coaching through the symbolism of nine numbers.

This unconventional and clever title from Gilbert seeds inspirational lessons from her “MyNine Ways” path into a fictional story in which the protagonist, Naomi, a corporate change manager in England, is reeling from the death of her partner. Naomi asks “How could things have gone so wrong?” before happening upon the author’s book, finding within it guidance to help set her life on track.Using Gilbert’s Nine Ways—Leading, Partnering, Creating, Building, Transforming, Nurturing, Seeking, Managing, and Giving—Naomi begins a process of transformation, guided by Gilbert’s advice, exercises, tools, and mantras, like “BEST,” which stands for Be Empty, Still and Thoughtful.

Gilbert’s method focuses on small changes, finding what works, adapting when it doesn’t, celebrating contentment as success, and staying connected. The fiction offers a personal, relatable way to outline this, showing the work it takes to change as Wholly Naomi charts Naomi’s progression through the Ways, including breathing and visualization exercises, journaling, and more. Naomi’s attempts, some more successful than others, to achieve facets of each Way find her striving to balance mind, body, and spirit and reach contentment in the moment. Drawing upon the symbolic shapes of numbers one through nine and encounters with individuals who embody the lessons of each Way, Naomi is led from her dependence upon alcohol toward new habits and ways of thinking.

The storytelling is brisk and inviting, and readers who find more traditional self-help books impersonal may enjoy this take on the power of habits to make lasting life changes, especially as Gilbert acknowledges in the narrative the reality of setbacks. Woven throughout Naomi’s story is the parallel tale of an anthropomorphized ginger kitten who gets separated from his family and, after a brief encounter outside a liquor store, feels somehow connected to Naomi. The kitten is a metaphor for tenets of the Ways but also representative of a symbol Gilbert introduces early: a circle. The story reflects this in the shared fate of both characters.

Takeaway: Inspiring guide to making positive change in life, written in narrative.

Comparable Titles: James Clear’s Atomic Habits, Katy Milkman’s How to Change.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A