Scoop Review of Books

From Bonkers to Divine

by Michelle Holman

What do you when you find your husband is going to leave you . . . not for another woman, but to become a woman . . .

Hailed by the critics as hilarious, and completely original with wonderful New Zealand flavour, Michelle Holman’s debut novel Bonkers went straight to the bestseller charts.

Michelle is back, this time setting her sassy and side-splittingly funny new novel Divine in two places she knows well — West Auckland where she was born and raised, and the Waikato where she lives now.

West Auckland beach babe turned Remuera trophy wife, Tara Whitehead is sitting pretty. Then Richard, her husband, makes his startling announcement: he has decided to leave her to become a woman.

Forced to leave her home so that Richard can pay for his surgery, Tara moves with her daughter to the country to begin her new life in the sleepy village of Divine. Nestled in this rural haven, Tara is dogged by financial worries . . . until a friend finds her a telephone job under the new name of Mistress Fury . . .

While Tara’s stilettos raise more than a few local eyebrows, an escapologist pony, a band of excitable elderly people, a dodgy businessman and an intriguing handsome dairy farmer reveal that scratch the surface and Divine is not all it appears to be.

Michelle says that, unlike her debut bestseller Bonkers, she didn’t dream up Divine: it was triggered by a documentary about transgender people making the trip to Trinidad, Colarado, for sex reassignment surgery. ‘It got me thinking: what would it be like if your husband decided to leave you to become a woman? How would somebody deal with that? Tara became that somebody.’

And the telephone sex slant? Michelle has a good friend who has the most gorgeous, posh English accent. ‘I told my friend she should give up her job and be a telephone sex worker. “You can be at home doing the dusting and make money!” I’m disappointed that she hasn’t followed up on my advice. If I wasn’t writing, I think I’d make a great careers advisor.’

Hilariously bizarre, entertaining and wonderfully Kiwi, Michelle’s new novel will have you laughing out loud.

Michelle Holman writes her novels for people who are like her — who like a good romance but not slush, who appreciate what it is to be a Kiwi and how unique we all are, and most importantly who like a good laugh.

What the critics said about Bonkers:

‘Cancel non-urgent appointments when you start reading Bonkers — you won’t want to put this book down . . .Totally radical plot, totally amusing book.’ — The New Zealand Herald

‘Delightful, witty romance on the New Zealand bestseller list . . . Light-hearted, warm read from an exciting new novelist.’ — New Idea

‘This is a delicious and light read — exactly what the chick-lit genre promises . . . Holman’s down-to-earth style makes this an entertaining indulgence.’ — Herald on Sunday

‘Funny, sassy and completely original romance.’ — Australian Woman’s Weekly