Review: Just One Wish by Rachael Johns


Title: Just One Wish

Author: Rachael Johns

Published: October 21st 2019, HQ Fiction

Status: Read October 2019, courtesy Harlequin Australia


My Thoughts:

Just One Wish by Rachael Johns is a wonderful contemporary family drama contrasting the life experiences and choices of three generations of women.

“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.”

Journalist Geraldine ‘Ged’ Johnston is heartbroken when her lover, and colleague, Christos, announces his intention to move back in with his ex-wife for the sake of their children. Fortuitously, her grandmother, Alice Abbott who Ged calls Gralice, surprises her, and Ged’s mother, Sappho known as Marie, with a timely distraction, a three day Elvis themed cruise to celebrate Alice’s 80th birthday. Ged plans to use the opportunity to interview Gralice for a biography she hopes to publish detailing her grandmother’s many achievements as a feminist trailblazer, while her mother views the trip as fodder for her popular ‘Happy, happy Housewife’ online media persona, but Gralice has a hidden motive for the trip, a secret that will prove to have unexpected consequences for all of them.

“In a matter of a month my life had become a soap opera—one in which I’d been forced to take a starring role when I didn’t even want to watch the show.”

Set in Victoria, Just One Wish unfolds from the first person perspective of Geraldine as her life, and the life of her family, is upended by a series of surprises. I enjoyed the complications and drama cantering around three very different, interesting women and the choices they make.

“‘I reckon no matter what choices we make in our lives, we’ll never know for sure if they are the right ones….”

The author touches on a wide spectrum of themes including family, marriage, relationships, feminism, euthanasia, homosexuality, and social media, but it’s Johns’ exploration of the differing ambitions of Alice, Marie, and Ged that I found the most relatable. My mother, whose traditional father felt that teaching or nursing were the only acceptable professions for a woman until she married, has always been ambitious, and worked full time in a number of careers until retirement. I greatly admire her drive, but I know she was disappointed when I chose to go into teaching, married young, and then later became a stay at home mother to four children (and wanted more). My eldest daughter is now in her early twenties, and though she is not ambitious exactly, neither marriage nor children are on her radar. So, I identify with the tension between the three women, borne of generational and personal ideals.

Written with heart and humour, Just One Wish is an entertaining and thought provoking read that will appeal to women of all ages.

P.S. Rachael, hope you don’t mind but I was thinking Jay = Ditch Davey circa Sea Patrol 😉

Read a Sample


Available from HarperCollins Au

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Also by Rachael Johns reviewed at Book’d Out

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mic
    Oct 15, 2019 @ 22:43:31

    Fabulous review Shelleyrae. I read and loved this one. I still need to put fingers to keyboard though. Nice to hear how you relate 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Lindsi
    Oct 16, 2019 @ 01:10:34

    I don’t know if this one would be a good fit for me, but I’m happy you enjoyed it! It was a lovely review.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Helen Murdoch
    Oct 16, 2019 @ 04:45:56

    Our hopes and desires for our children certainly are good fodder for a novel since they loom large in the lives of children and mothers.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Janereads
    Oct 16, 2019 @ 16:22:17

    This sounds really great. Wonderful review. I like how you felt it related to the generational discussions on women and the workforce in your own family.



  5. Vicki
    Oct 18, 2019 @ 04:17:54

    This sounds really good! I may look for a copy.

    Liked by 1 person


  6. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? | book'd out
  7. Trackback: Review: Flying the Nest by Rachael Johns | book'd out

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