REVIEW: ‘Behind the Olive Trees’ – Francesca Catlow’s follow-up novel

REVIEW: ‘Behind the Olive Trees’ – Francesca Catlow’s follow-up novel

Behind the Olive Trees is the sequel to Francesca Catlow’s poignant novel, The Little Blue Door. The follows Melodie on her continuing journey with Anton and Gaia. Francesca Catlow has created her characters with an insight and perception that is unique to her. These characters are complex and multi-dimensional, reflecting the reality and truth of the human condition.

Melodie is a likeable and engaging character yet she is flawed and imperfect, qualities which enhance her warmth and relatability. Catlow juxtaposes darkness and light, creating a sense of unpredictability and, at times, a feeling of danger. Melodie’s path is not linear. We share in her joy but we also share in her fear, her pain and her uncertainty. Behind the Olive Trees is a novel with depth. Catlow allows us to become immersed in these characters and view them as friends, yet she also presents us with new and unexpected aspects to the characters which prevents the reader from becoming complacent, keeping us on edge right to the end.

Catlow’s characters give the feeling that they are an extension of ourselves. They mirror our inner journey and remind us that life is not straightforward, simple or perfect; that we are transient and continually evolving.

Behind the Olive Trees is a masterpiece in its understanding of self-discovery and the path to finding who we are. Francesca Catlow is an intelligent writer and a genius in her ability to reach out to the reader through her characters. As demonstrated in The Little Blue Door, she is a writer who clearly has a deep insight and understanding of human nature, writing with compassion and depth about a range of human experiences.

Thanks to Alex Shewan for the FAB review

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Most of us come from the era where we were proud to burn our bras, or at least we supported the ethos.  I was someone who did not need a bra anyway, being fashionably Twiggy-esque and very flat chested. 

My first bra experience was when I was 13 and most of the girls in my class were developing enviable curves, as I still remained like a stick insect, but still begged my Mum to buy me a bra.  She came back from New York with a suitably flat elasticated band – vaguely resembling a belt but called a first bra, for me to grow into.  I was devastated, as I imagined a beautiful lace bra, similar to all the girls in my class.

After giving birth to my daughter however, twenty years later, my boobs seem to take on a life of their own and grew and remained.  In fact, I sat next to Twiggy at a Ball shortly after, with two extra stone of après-birth weight and ample breasts as we shared conversations of kids and fashion, with me desperately trying to stay away from the subject of body shape. 

It is only in recent years I have begun to learn the importance of wearing a bra for both posture and support, and have waded through aisles of underwear shops and stores trying to find the right shape and fit and one that would feel comfortable.

My friend Debbie Arnold was horrified when she met up with me after many years.  ‘Why are your boobs so low’ she exclaimed.  I had no idea, but soon started to realise that they were supposed to be upwardly mobile and not pointing South! 

Then I discovered No 1 Bra.  I did my research and was introduced to the lady who had designed this amazing bra range, who had experienced all the trials and tribulations most of us have had in finding a bra that is perfect for us.

I spoke to Jeanette Misseldine, the creator of No 1 Bra and her story is both fascinating and inspiring as she recalls her own flight of discovery as she realized when shopping in Paris that she could not find a single comfortable bra because of the digging wire!  So decided to create her own.

Women should not have to suffer the painful dig of a narrow underwire.  You would never see a man with a wire protruding into his private area.  Why should we!’says Jeanette

Jeanette had been in the Lingerie industry for many years, and has designed and created bras for global brands from high end to high street and all types from everyday to special occasions and sport!

Jeanette declares:

It’s taken years of development on the legal and sourcing side.

We are very fortunate to have an exceptional manufacturing facility with certifications of excellence!  Our products are high quality.

We launched in lockdown and no one had heard of us! We did a special promotion and sold out of all middle sizes and during covid took an age to re stock! Now we are fully stocked and ladies are loving the comfort.

Typically, they can’t believe it when they try one. We’ve had all emotions and the question most asked is ‘why it’s taken so long’ 

We know as soon as ladies try the bra they will not wear another brand again.

Our mission is to help as many ladies as possible to find comfort and the more we help the more we can do!

 We already have a selection of bras going down to 28 bands and up to 44With A-HH cups. 

All ladies are different and it really depends on body shape and your torso and bust which will determine which bras are best for you.

We offer a fitting service over the phone and have a special set of questions that ensure you have the right size. We exchange and are committed to helping every lady.

Jeanette is right, I for one will never again have to trapes around the aisles of lingerie to find a suitable bra that fits perfectly.  It is all here under one shelf, in the No 1 Bra –  Colours, Strapless bras and Swimwear are all in the pipeline.  She is so excited about what she can offer.   Bravo Jeanette!  The best is yet to come.

Check out the website to see the full range at no1Bra

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