Shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Awards 2013
A British romantic comedy by Jane Wenham-Jones, author of 'Perfect Alibis'.
Laura Meredith never imagined herself appearing on TV– she’s too old, too flabby, too downright hormonal, and much too busy holding things together for her son, Stanley, after her husband left her for a younger, thinner replacement.
But best friend Charlotte is a determined woman and when Laura is persuaded on to a daytime show to talk about her PMT, everything changes. Suddenly there’s a camera crew tracking her every move and Laura finds herself an unlikely star. But as things hot up between her and gorgeous TV director, Cal, they’re going downhill elsewhere. While Laura’s caught up in a heady whirlwind of beauty treatments, makeovers and glamorous film locations, Charlotte’s husband, Roger, is concealing a guilty secret, Stanley’s got problems at school, work’s piling up, and when Laura turns detective to protect Charlotte’s marriage, things go horribly wrong. The champagne’s flowing as Laura’s prime time TV debut looks set to be a hit. But in every month, there’s a "Day Ten" …
Recent research has shown that the kind of male face a woman finds attractive can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle. For instance, if she is ovulating she is drawn to men with rugged, masculine features. Whereas if she is menstruating she is more prone to be attracted to a man with a heavy pair of scissors shoved in his forehead …
Ho bloody ho. I sit on my hands so I can’t punch the computer screen. Hilarious, these Internet jokes. Or they might be if not so close to the truth. I quite often imagine Daniel cowering in a corner, whimpering while I take a blunt instrument to him. Or the way he might look if I wiped away that supercilious expression by treading on it. Especially on Day 19. Day 19 of my menstrual cycle is when I am at my most malevolent and think my darkest thoughts. Then I write vitriolic letters in my head and fantasise about wreaking revenge on everyone who has ever done me wrong. It is when I smash crockery, forget things, scream, shout and eat four KitKats without drawing breath. It is Day 19 today and already I am …
‘Am I going to Dad’s tonight?’
Stanley appeared in the doorway in his school shirt and boxers. His hair, as usual, stood up in tufts. He yawned and wrinkled his freckled nose. ‘Do you know where my tie is?’
I gripped the edge of the keyboard. ‘No, I do not know where your tie is. It is wherever you left it, the same as it is every morning when you ask me, and yes, you are going to your father’s. We’ve been talking about it for five days. Since the last time you went, in fact. Which was last Sunday. When your father said he would pick you up this Friday, which is today, and you could stay the night with him and he would take you to the football match. You know you are going to your bloody father’s …’ I clapped a hand to my mouth and bit it.
Stanley’s face, which had lit up at the thought of 22 blokes kicking a bag of air, clouded again. ‘I hope She isn’t there.’
‘She will be,’ I said grimly, suffused with shame at swearing and giving my son’s future therapist even more material to work with. ‘She lives there.’
She is Emily, Daniel’s new girlfriend, who is totally welcome to him because I wouldn’t have him back if his was the last paunch on earth. She has set up home with him which I don’t care about at all. I do think, however, it smacks of indecent haste as far as Stanley, who has to visit them, is concerned. Them and their laminate floors and low black coffee tables and single lilies in tall glass tubes (I didn’t press Stanley for these details – he gave them up quite readily under cross-examination).
Stanley wrinkled his nose even more. ‘I can’t find my trousers either.’
‘Boiler!’ I got up from my desk in our tiny spare bedroom and stomped to the door in two paces. ‘They were muddy, remember? I washed them. I told you they were on the boiler to dry. I knew you weren’t listening … And why weren’t you dressed ages ago? I’ve got to get this lot finished today,’ I shrieked, jabbing a finger at the pile of paper teetering on the top of the ancient filing cabinet. ‘And how can I do that with you constantly interrupting me?’
‘All right. Take a chill-pill.’ Stanley sighed and plodded across the landing. He knows when it is that time of the month.
‘Keep it on,’ he called from the safety of the stairs while I kicked the waste bin. ‘Will you make me some toast?’
One, two, three, four, five. Breathe in and out. Adopt sing-song voice to disguise the fact I want to throttle him. ‘Yes darling,’ I trilled through gritted teeth. ‘I will make you toast even though you are 11 and a half and quite old enough to make it yourself. Even if I am right in the middle of a paragraph.’
‘You were doing emails.’
‘Work ones. When I was 11 …’
‘You got up at dawn to scrub all the floors, made breakfast for the whole family, did all the washing and walked through fire and flood 20 miles to school …’ Stanley poked his head back round the door and grinned.
I glared. ‘Just get ready!’
Have you ever wondered how they make those reality shows on TV? If you have, then your curiosity will be satisfied by reading Jane Wenham-Jones's hilarious PRIME TIME.
CLICK HERE to read the full review
Poignant and hilarious in equal measure, Prime Time is stuffed full of likeable, realistic characters you can’t fail to care about - and it’s brilliantly written.
Laura Meredith finds it difficult to keep her emotions under control at the best of times, but since her husband, Daniel, abandoned her for the skinnier, younger and more glamorous Emily, she feels fat, old and unkempt and seems to be suffering from non-stop PMT.
She is worried about her son, Stanley, who is unhappy at school, worried about work and money, and worried that at 40 she’s over the hill and destined to spend the rest of her life alone.
Chuck into the mix her concerns about her best friend Charlotte’s previously rock-solid marriage and it’s fair to say Laura is in a pretty dark place. That is, until she is persuaded onto daytime television and catches the eye of a sexy producer, Cal.
Soon, a camera crew is following her every move as she embarks on a thrilling journey of self-improvement designed to hold back the years. But while the filming takes over her fantasy life, her real one is imploding - and just how sincere is Cal anyway?
It’s a pleasure to read about feisty, funny women with a fondness for pinot grigio and a few cigarettes - the sort of women you’d want to be friends with and will certainly be rooting for as they negotiate the indignities of the ageing process.
Prime Time is thoughtful, insightful and often laugh-out-loud funny. I raced through it and thoroughly enjoyed myself in the process.
Jane Wenham-Jones is the author of acclaimed novels – Raising the Roof, Perfect
Alibis, One Glass Is Never Enough and Prime Time. She also writes for women’s
magazines and the national press and has a humorous weekly column in her local
newspaper. She has also written two writing guides - Wannabe a Writer? and
Wannabe a Writer We've Heard Of?
She lives with her husband and son in Broadstairs, Kent.
Gilly D on
6th October 2012 1:21PM
I've read Jane's other books and really enjoyed them, but I could really relate to Prime Time (I read it on my Kindle) in that the main character was truly believable. Her friendship, motherhood and reluctance to get old were captured perfectly. Well done
26th January 2013 10:18AM
As a reader of almost all of Jane's previous books, I was thoroughly excited to read Prime Time. Despite my high expectations because of this fact, the novel exceeded all of them. Emotional, hilarious at times (albeit practically making me weep into my pillow with frustration at the heroine's awful ex-husband), and as usual completely enthralling - had several extremely late nights due to not being able to put this book down! Highly recommended.
17th May 2012 12:20PM
Another fab offering from the pen of the mighty Jane Wenham-Jones. Fantastic characters, lot's of laughs and an immensely satisfying read. Never get on the wrong side of this lady; the term 'razor sharp wit' was surely coined for her! The best one yet, looking forward to the next book already.
J Goodhind on
17th May 2012 12:19PM
Loved the humour, but honestly, it is insightful. Mensturation can be murder - or at least make a woman murderous! How dare anyone suggest that it's all in the mind. That's serial killer territory! Great stuff, Jane. A glass of wine all round!