What I read: Queen Bee by Ciara Geraghty

Queen Bee by Ciara GeraghtyAbout the Book

(blurb from Jonathan Ball Publishers)

She’s earned her stripes.

But the hive’s misbehaving . . .

Insomnia – How do I have three extra adult males – and a small yappy dog – living in my house when I need to grow into a graceful and sexual midlife woman?

Rage – Am furious.

Anxiety – What’s going to happen to my career if I can’t get out of this rut?

Feel invisible – What is happening to me?

Fifty-year-old Agatha Doyle loves her empty nest – until hot flushes, a pair of killer heels and an overbearing man who won’t stop talking conspire to change her life. In one moment of madness, she unwittingly becomes a heroine to women everywhere.

But can she become the heroine of her own life?

Sometimes you just have to wing it.

Queen Bee by Ciara GeraghtyMy Thoughts

I have a friend who is going through (early) menopause and I can only imagine with it is like.  Also, why is the word ‘menopause’ often whispered, like ‘menstruation’ or ‘sanitary pads’?  Why are we, as women, ashamed to talk about normal, natural body functions?  It can be how we were brought up; I realise that.  That is possibly also why I don’t personally know much about menopause.  Yes, I’ve heard about the unbearable hot flushes and insomnia, and the ‘dangers’ of using HRTs, but apart from that, not much.  And it is something this is definitely going to happen to me (soon!) as well.

So, let’s talk about “Queen Bee”.  Agatha Doyle has got the same questions.  Why don’t we talk about menopause?  Is it because it is a condition that only affects women?  Why aren’t more money spent on clinical research, on information campaigns?  Which are great questions!

“I am a menopausal woman, standing here before you all in a lather of sweat, terrified that I might forget a word in the middle of a sentence with the threat of brain fog that looms over me on a daily basis … I have insomnia, none of my clothes fit me, and there’s a chance I’m more irritable than I used to be. Although my husband may have a different view on that.”

And that made her an unlikely and unexpected social media superstar, a heroine for menopausal women everywhere.  Needless to say, Agatha is feeling very dazed and overwhelmed by it all.  Add family difficulties, writer’s block, personal insecurities and financial worries into the mix, it is no wonder that she feels she’s losing her grip on reality.

Queen Bee by Ciara GeraghtyThe chapters in the book read like journal entries, and I enjoyed that style of writing immensely.  It supplies intimate personal insight, and I often giggled at the dialogue happening in either Agatha’s mind, or her relating real life situations.

I do think however, that “Queen Bee” is very much aimed at a more “mature” age group, who will emphasize and sympathize with what Agatha is living through.  It was quite informative to me as well, as I was (blissfully) unaware of the mental health implications, like rage, resentment, etc. that may come with menopause.  At least, now I am prepared!

This is such a witty, smart and funny story, and I literally laughed out loud at times.  I throughly enjoyed (and identified with) Agatha’s character.  She is sarcastic, has got a wicked sense of humour, and a cynical way of assessing her world.  It is also highly insightful, candid and a true menopausal myth buster.

“Just because you’re middle-aged and menopausal, it doesn’t mean that it’s all over. There are still things to learn. Relationships to tend. Dances to perfect. So that’s what we did. We danced. We kept on dancing.”

With thanks to Jonathan Ball Publishers for this ARC copy. “Queen Bee” will be published locally (South Africa) in March 2023.

The Details

Category: Contemporary Fiction
ISBN: 9780008496470
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
On sale: March 2023
Format: Paperback

About the Author:

Ciara Geraghty

@roelia_reads What a wonderful way to start 2023! #Bookmail from @Jonathan Ball Publishers 📚❤️. Including a bestseller from 2022 and TWO ARCs for the new year!! ❤️‍🔥 #roeliareads #booktok #booktoksa🇿🇦 ♬ No Hay Problema – Pink Martini