Blog tour: Foolish Heroines by June Wentland

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Foolish Heroines
Author: June Wentland
Price: £9.99
Publisher: Valley Press UK
Publication date: 16/09/2021

Hi everyone! How are you all? Today I have a very exciting review to share with you - a contemporary magical realism novel titled 'Foolish Heroines' which has been written by June Wentland. I'm reviewing the novel as part of a blog tour so don't forget to check out the other lovely reviewers' thoughts. Massive thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for organising the blog tour and to Valley Press for sending me a gifted copy (well, actually two copies since the first one disappeared in the post!) in exchange for my honest review!


Janina Reston is a language expert, translating fiendishly tricky Arabic and Asian mathematical and scientific texts. Words are her world. But she can't find any to share with her husband Owen. Instead, she confides in a spider named Gladys (who may or may not be her deceased grandmother).

She lives in an ordinary city suburb where extraordinary things happen. Lily's husband dies in a strange accident with a milk bottle, while Fatima writes biographies of unknown people living seemingly inconsequential lives, and Zosia - whose most daring adventure thus far far has been replacing jelly and ice cream with lemon meringue pie - runs off to Delhi with an Asian Women's Sewing Group.


From the very first page, I was captured by Wentland's use of language and had to keep a pencil with me whilst reading as I kept on noticing beautiful quotes that stood out to me. I personally found 'Foolish Heroines' to be an empowering read, as the women in the novel found and transformed themselves, or were trying to work out their domestic issues such as finding a way to communicate with their loved one or letting themselves free after they have been controlled for too long. 

"Oh, how aerodynamic some women would be if only they realised. What low air resistance they'd have. To what heights they'd be able to soar like self-powered frisbees cutting sharply, economically, through the soft bloodless substance of other people's dreams."

Whilst the novel focused on the journey through everyday life, Wentland incorporated plenty of humour which made me laugh out loud but at the same she made sure to provide plenty of food for thought. Additionally, I am truly in awe of the way magical realism has been interweaved with domesticity through Wentland's use of imagery, personifying animals and various settings, most notably a dining room turning into a jungle!

The novel focalises on multiple characters and I think Wentland has done an excellent job of giving them all an equal spotlight without overwhelming the reader with too much information. None of the characters are forgettable either; they all play a key part in the story moving forward. At first we find out each of the heroines' stories separately but in the second half of the novel they all become connected. It would be hard to pinpoint a character that stood out to me as I found that they were all unique and I was moved by all of them. 

Also, if you love animals, especially cats, then you will love 'Foolish Heroines'! As a cat mum, I was overjoyed with the cats featured and the way Wentland made them part of the storyline, just as she did with the parrot from Lily's jungle and Gladys the spider. I think this aspect of the novel really portrayed how pets can be our emotional support!

Overall, if you enjoy reading magical realist fiction (or would like to try it out) then you need to read 'Foolish Heroines'! June Wentland's debut novel is a genuinely uplifting read that uncovers a magical world in one of domesticity. Incorporating themes of power, relationships and communication, everyone is bound to find something they like about this book. Let's also not forget Wentland's use of language - the novel is written beautifully and is full of quotes and metaphors that will make you think more deeply about its themes.

I also want to add that I love when blog tours help me discover new authors and June Wentland is a writer whose work I will certainly look out for in the future!

Rating: 5 stars

Valley Press UK are currently having a January sale so if you'd like to purchase 'Foolish Heroines', enter the code JAN22 at the basket stage and a 22% discount will be applied.

About the Author

June Wentland is an ordinary woman who believes that extraordinary things can happen if you keep your eyes peeled and your heart open to new possibilities. She grew up in Hull, moving to Manchester and Bristol before settling in Wiltshire. June has worked in community development and outreach for libraries as well as being a rather lacklustre waitress and on an assembly line sticking tassels onto lampshades.

She has had stories televised and published by the BBC and her poetry has appeared in many literary journals and anthologies. This is her first novel. If you'd like to find out more about June or get in touch with her then you can follow her on Twitter: @june_mw or visit her website

Don't forget to take a look at the other reviews of June Wentland's 'Foolish Heroines'! 

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