Book Club: It Started With A Kiss

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Author: Lisa Heidke
ISBN: 978-1-74331-975-8
RRP: $29.99

It Started With A Kiss is the fifth book by Lisa Heidke, and I must say I have been waiting for something new from her for a while. I have really enjoyed what I have read of her, which is all but her first and I would really like to chase that up at some point.


I think what I love about Lisa Heidke’s work is that her heroines are generally everyday average women, mid to late thirties and facing the same dilemmas that any one of us could face.

Friday Jones was not quite what I was expecting from a Heidke heroine. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike her but she did aggravate me at times and I think she brought a lot of her troubles on herself. Friday is a wife of almost twenty years and mother to two teenage girls. Her life has settled into the monotonous routine of extra curricular activities, work and home duties – a feeling I’m sure many of us can relate to. Husband Liam is struggling with the drudgery of everyday life and declares that he’s not sure he wants to be married anymore so moves out of the family home and in with his bachelor brother.

We actually get to see this situation from both Liam and Friday’s perspective which gives us a little insight into Liam, who is quite a selfish pig but still managed to earn my sympathy, at times. His decision to leave was quite spur of the moment and it didn’t take him long to regret it but way too long to try and do anything about it.

Friday was floored by this sudden separation, because though things hadn’t been smooth for a while she never would have thought Liam would leave. They had lost a lot of their intimacy and camaraderie but she thought they could weather the storm, she didn’t think things were that rocky so is completely thrown.

Naturopathy is not really a profession where turning up to work looking sallow and lack-lustre is a great advertisement. People book in to see Friday to get natural help with their health, energy and vibrance so it’s not very promising when these are all things Friday seems to be lacking. She is at an all time low for her self esteem as well, which I think is quite understandable, so I can imagine that someone paying attention and making her feel beautiful would be quite hard to resist.

I found Friday quite painful at times; though a part of me can understand the struggle she was facing I still think most of the problems she faced throughout the story were of her own making. She allowed herself to be coerced into things she wasn’t very comfortable with by her best friend, as well as not being able to stand by her decisions. She spent a lot of the book beating herself up for situations she got herself into.

There is a suspenseful story arc traveling through this one and I must admit it had me stumped – kind of. There were elements that I had pegged from early on and could see coming but I was completely wrong about the big one. I had been so sure I had it figured out only to be ridiculously far off base and I loved that.

it started with a kiss

We see, through the separation, who Liam and Friday were before they married as youngest daughter Evie prompts them to reminisce anytime they happen to be in the same place, and when they are each alone we see them remembering the early days and what brought them together. Getting to know the young Liam and Friday does give us quite an insight into what is going on with them now, twenty years and two kids later.

The girls, I quite liked the girls. They were refreshingly authentic. Olivia is fifteen and everything is about her parents ruining her life by setting boundaries and not letting her do what she wants. I can totally remember myself being like that. The other conversation that struck a chord with me, thought not from personal experience, was the one Friday overhears her having with thirteen year old Evie about wanting to keep their parents apart because if they divorce that will mean she gets double everything, divorced parents will do anything to keep their kids happy.

I was not a fan of Rosie, I could see what she was trying to do but I couldn’t agree with the way she went about it. She and Friday have been best friends for a lot of years, they know each other very well  and yet Rosie spent the entire book pushing Friday into doing things she wasn’t comfortable with because they were the sort of things she would do. All of the time claiming that things would work out for Friday and Liam, which she was jeopardising with every questionable choice she pushed Friday into.

It Started With A Kiss is a mostly realistic look at what can happen in a long term relationship where the channels of communication have been worn away and compromised. Friday and Liam went through a harrowing experience which should have brought them closer together but instead it formed the beginning of the wedge that would drive them apart. Instead of opening up to one another Liam started to shut Friday out, after that the losses started to pile up and with each loss Liam drifted further into himself until he found himself trapped. Trapped in the monotony of everyday life, lacking spontaneity and the sense of support he needed; drowning in the pressures of work and the pressure he has always put on himself to be the good son. Liam decides to chase his dream while he’s out on his own and as he is working on his skit he starts to see how things came to this and was actually quite insightful about it.

Liam and Friday can never escape a role in each other’s life, they have children together. They created life together and so there will always be a connection, and quite often love in some form, but after everything they have been through recently, are their shared history and their children enough?

Heidke did not wrap this up with a happily ever after and a neat little ending which I thought was fantastic, and much more realistic.

It Started With A Kiss is Book #2 for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015.

A selection of our lucky readers will be reading It Started With A Kiss as part of the Beauty and Lace Book Club so I will be interested to see what they have to say about the book.

Please be advised that there may be spoilers contained in the comments below.

22 thoughts on “Book Club: It Started With A Kiss

  1. I love a good Australian read with all the familiar references to Australian culture. It was an interesting journey into Friday’s journey and subsequent relationships whilst separated from her husband. The twists and turns and fresh ideas were unexpected. Friday’s friends are an interesting bunch as are her two daughters. I read it quickly within three days as it was hard to put down.

  2. Thank you for the opportunity to read It Started With A Kiss. Overall, it was a lovely Australian book which I got through quite quickly. Friday and Liam seemed like many couples questioning what they wanted and not always listening. We get to see the fallout of this when they separate and how it affects not only them, but their teenage daughters, family and friends also. The writing flowed very easily and I could see how some of the situations could occur. I don’t think Rosie was always the most supportive friend, but did help out in her own way. Some situations seemed a bit too rushed and not at all thought out. Having said that I would recommend this book to anyone in a rut, to see what could happen and how to possibly navigate around a separation.

  3. Overall I enjoyed the book, but I did find I got very frustrated sometimes with Friday and Liam, they seemed to become very selfish when they separated and acted extremely childishly when it came to romance. I mean honestly, who goes from a 21 year marriage to sleeping with a bloke who you’ve only just met?

    Rosie was no help at all, she seems to be living in a time warp, where she’s still in her early 20’s and has no intention of growing up. Although her divorce parties seem to be a hit. Something to take into the Shark Tank maybe? I’m sure it would be a winner.

    A really felt for the girls, especially Evie, who suffered immensely from the break-up of her parents. I’m glad the parents finally seemed to see sense and got their priorities right when they needed to.

    The best bit of the book was trying to guess who the stalker was, I had 4 people in mind and am proud to say one of them did turn out to be the stalker.

    It Started With A Kiss is a good read if you’re not looking for something deep and meaningful to read, it’s light and airy and an easy read.

    1. Hi Tracy,
      Thank you so much for your comments. I’m glad you had 4 stalkers in mind.
      And although it sounds hard to believe, people do actually do really stupid things when they come out of long term relationships…it’s like they’re in self destruct mode…and yes, revert back to being young adults. I guess because they feel they have been repressed or perhaps sidelined their own careers and sense of personal fulfilment to raise a family and be the ‘perfect wife and mother’.
      No that Friday was in any way perfect. No one is. She was flawed but hopefully redeemed herself somewhat by the end.
      And, yes, I really felt for the girls, too! x

  4. Once I began “It Started With A Kiss” I could not put it down! Very different from my usual psychological thrillers and crime novels, I found it a refreshing change.

    As a wife and Mum, I found I could relate to Friday, and found myself laughing, crying and having many “yes!” moments while reading this! I I love Lisa’s style of writing – so much so that I got all her books out from the library and have read one this weekend and made a start on another.

    This is definitely a book I’d recommend, and to those reading these, check out Lisa’s other books also written in the same easy to read style.

    1. Hi Kylie,
      How lovely of you.
      I am so glad you enjoyed it. guess I’m not looking to change the world but just write a story that readers can relate t – or not!
      And have them say ‘that’s me’ or ‘that’s my daughter or mother’ or ‘I am SO glad that’s not me’.
      Please let me know what you think of the others. x

      1. I’ve now read them all now, thanks to my local library. I found them all easy to read, and particularly loved Lucy Springer gets even!

  5. I really enjoyed this book – it had me tied up in emotions, laughter, frustration, happiness, anger – It delivered the lot!
    I found Liam a bit selfish, but having said that, I felt neither he or Friday were listening to each other or communicating very well(as does happen in a marriage).
    It was good to show how the kids felt with the situation as I think too many times in booked or tv it gets brushed over.
    I enjoyed the rollercoaster that this book was and would recommend it for sure.

  6. Once I started reading “It Started with a Kiss” I couldn’t put it down. I really loved this great Australian book. I could relate to this book so much having recently separated and having three girls, two of them being teenagers. I loved Friday, Liam was a selfish man, Rose was not such a helpful friend, and as for the girls, Olivia and Evie they were your typical teenagers. I especially liked trying to work out who the stalker, and nailed it! I would definitely recommend this book and will be reading more books by Lisa Heide

    1. Hi Sue,
      Well done nailing the stalker!
      Given that you have teenagers, I am really thrilled that you think they were typical – if you check out the acknowledgements, you’ll see I stole quite a lot of conversations from my daughter and her friends, plus we played around with general teenage scenarios. That was the most fun!

  7. I loved this book! I picked it up and read it in only a couple of sittings. I just couldn’t put it down.

    Being able to relate to Australian landmarks and icons made it feel like you were already involved before you really began.
    The ups and downs of the book made it more realistic and relate-able for readers as it is based on ‘real life’ events.

    A great read that I definitely recommend!!

  8. It might be due to my age (20) but I didn’t like this book at all. The writing was not very descriptive. I was only able to paint a picture of where Friday lived due to having grown up in the same area. If I was a foreign reader, I would have to look up where the northern beaches were to get a sense of what the area looked like. The writing was also very simple. I was not engaged at all and I struggled to read it all. I also felt that the writer didn’t make the topic interesting in the slightest, I felt that you had to be a middle aged woman about to go through a divorce to be interested with the story line. All in all, would not recommend and wouldn’t consider reading any of the author’s other books due this one. Sorry, no stars out of 5.

    1. Hi Claire,
      I am sorry you didn’t enjoy it. I guess the story is probably suited to older readers, though I did enjoy creating the teenage girls and also the internet dating scenarios were a lot of fun to write.
      I agree that my writing is not very descriptive. It is dialogue driven.
      Better luck next time but I do appreciate your comments. Thank you.

  9. A book that was not easy to put down, an Australian journey with great characters that I fell in love with. You need to read as it has twists and turns can’t wait to share it to get my friends thoughts on it.

  10. Thanks so much to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to participate in this book club! The book was called ‘It Started With A Kiss’ written by Lisa Heidke. I quite enjoyed following Friday and her story, and I felt compelled to keep turning the page to find out what was going to happen. However I just didn’t completely gel with the character and the story as a whole.

    It explored the topics of relationships, separation, family ties and bonds, friends and new experiences. I thought the book flowed, but I was either frustrated or tired of Friday at times (maybe it was the absurd moments where she jumped so quickly from her marriage to a new man, I just kept thinking slow down girl!) but saying that I thought the story was nicely written and did find myself smiling or laughing at points in time.

    Overall, I think if you are wanting something light to read on the weekend then this is an okay pick. I wouldn’t mind picking up a few of Lisa’s other books to see what they are like. Thanks again to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read a nice book.

    1. Hi Alicia,
      Thank you! At times, I was also thinking ‘slow down, girl’ but Friday was in a bad place emotionally and was looking for some kind of validation that she was worth loving. Still she made some unwise choices! hopefully, she redeemed herself by the story’s end.
      x

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