The Only Way is Up by Carole Matthews – Book Review

The Only Way is Up
Author – Carole Matthews
Publisher – Sphere
Release Date – 1st September 2010

The O'nly Way is Up

Laurence and Lily Lamont-Jones are wealthy, middle class people. They live in the countryside in their huge house whilst, their two adorable children go to a fee-paying boarder school.

They want for nothing and don’t mind splashing out £20,000 on a family holiday.

It is after one such holiday that they return home to find their house has been re-possessed by the bank, they are bankrupt and that Laurence has lost his job.

Now all they have is the clothes they are wearing and what is in their suitcases. They are homeless, penniless, and with nowhere else to turn they have to look to their local authority to rehouse them.

The only house that their local council have is on the rough estate of Netherslade Bridge. The house they have been given is a run down, flea-ridden shack, but with no home to go to they accept what they have been offered.

The family is distraught and don’t know how they will live. At first they are sure it has been a mistake and that everything will come good soon, whilst they wait they try to make the most of a bad situation.

They soon learn who their real friends are, and how tough they are, with no-one but each other to rely on.

Will they be able to claim their old life back or is this their destiny from now on?


This is another of Carole Matthews’ fantastic books, as with all of her other novels, this one is an easy to read chick lit.

You are entered into the life of Laurence and Lily and are with them every step of the way, whilst they struggle with everyday life, a life that most people take for granted, as now they have no-one else to do everything for them.

In the beginning I got the sense of this quite snobby, perfect couple, with their two perfect children and I wasn’t that keen on the characters. Its only once they lose everything that the characters really come to life.

Laurence is hit the worst by the situation. With no job, car and money and now having to sign on for benefits, he feels like a failure and becomes depressed. But it was the way that Lily handled the situation that I loved, from her finding the cheapest cuts of meat and learning to make a meal, to holding her family together. She is one tough lady and even with her posh accent, the locals seem taken with her.

The children learned to adapt very quickly and found the situation an adventure, including starting at a new school and making new friends.

The plot as I’ve read on some other reviews is quite far fetched, but people need to remember that this is a fictional book, with fictional characters and a fictional storyline, and if it was told as a true representation the story wouldn’t be half as fun nor be interesting to read.

The book really hit home with me, as at 18 years old I left me parents home to find my own way in the world. The first home that I had was nothing like I was used to. It had no heating, there was a hole in the back door that let the freezing air in and the garden was a jungle. Part of me could empathise with the family and I could understand their emotions in given situations.

The family turn out to be fighters, and become more rounded people. They learn that just because someone lives on a council estate and doesn’t have much money, doesn’t make them a bad person, and that sometimes you need a glitch in your life to come back down to earth and see how the ‘other side’ live.

The book isn’t a thrill ride, nor action packed. It is a sweet, loving book that shows you what true hardship can do to a family, and that it’s how you cope with the situations thrown at you, and pulling together as a family that matters.

I loved this book and that’s why it had to go into my Top Ten Books.

My rating:

Five stars

Buy The Only Way is Up from Amazon, Here.

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