The Cactus

Title: The Cactus

Author: Sarah Haywood

Published: January 25th, 2018

Pages: 384

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Adult, Romance

Publisher: Two Roads

Listened to on Hoopla


Wreath(13)-BlackGoodreads Description: 

People aren’t sure what to make of Susan Green – a prickly independent woman, who has everything just the way she wants it and who certainly has no need for messy emotional relationships.

Family and colleagues find her stand-offish and hard to understand, but Susan makes perfect sense to herself, and that’s all she needs.
At forty-five, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward – a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits.
Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control.
When she discovers that her mother’s will inexplicably favours her brother, Susan sets out to prove that Edward and his equally feckless friend Rob somehow coerced this dubious outcome. But when problems closer to home become increasingly hard to ignore, she finds help in the most unlikely of places.
This sparkling debut is a breath of fresh air with real heart and a powerful emotional punch. In Susan we find a character as exasperating and delightful as The Rosie Project’s Don Tillman. An uncompromising feminist and a fierce fighter, it’s a joy to watch her bloom.


Things I enjoyed about this book: 

The cover. It is beautiful! This was an interesting story to follow, not because anything HUGE happened, but because the main character, Susan, is so odd. She wasn’t very relatable. While that was hard, I did enjoy the slow build up and watching her learn to adapt to her new scenarios. The twists at the end were enjoyable and it did a pretty good job at keeping my attention. I also liked the structure of the writing, I felt like it flowed very well and was well written.

The Things I Didn’t Enjoy: 

Like I mentioned above, it was slow. Susan was a hard character to enjoy- she was horrible to everyone. I also think the title had nothing to do with the book. There are like 2-3 pages where it talks about a cactus, but I honestly didn’t see the connection at all. It was also compared to “A Man Called Ove,” which I have read and didn’t thoroughly enjoy, so this book might have not been written for me.



The Cactus by Sarah Haywood deserves 3 feathers for her novel. While it’s one I might shortly forget about, I did enjoy the gist of it while reading. I didn’t find it life changing, but found the conflicts throughout the story to be interesting and I wanted to see if she evolved. A lot of the book reflects on family conflict, I can’t imagine fighting over a will, so parts of it were almost anxiety inducing. I did love the way she wrote and conveyed her message. Even though I didn’t love Susan, I thought her character stayed true throughout the story and was well done. I wouldn’t put it on the top of your list, but it can be on there, perhaps for some poolside reading!

Parent’s Guide:

There was swearing, and talk about sex, and pregnancy.


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