The Trials of Isabella Smugge is the second book of author, Ruth Leigh, and her lifestyle blogger and influencer, Isabella Smugge. It is somewhat darker or you could say, more realistic than the first book, the Diary of Isabella Smugge.
In the first book, we saw the family move from London to Suffolk with, seemingly the perfect family of three children, devoted husband, Johnnie and au-pair, Sofija. The family, at first seem to struggle to fit into the local community of rural Suffolk, appearing very successful and wanting for nothing. Then gradually, by the end of the first book, we see everything begin to fall apart for Isabella. Her good friend and vicar’s wife, Claire, is seriously ill in hospital following the birth of her fourth child, Johnnie has left her to shack up with the au-pair, Sofija and Isabella finds herself pregnant again after a night of fighting and drunkenness with her cheating husband.
But did I enjoy the sequel? You bet. I feel right at home with Isabella and look forward to following her further adventures. It simply took me longer to read than the first book because of the frequent interruptions of our new energy full puppy, Bella, currently giving me the run-around. She has even chewed the pages of the last quarter of the book – not sure the author, Ruth, or Instant Apostle will want a photograph of this to share!
In the trials of Isabella Smugge, we find Isabella developing as a person and a mother with the trials that befall her, coming out stronger on the other side of them as she discovers that other people’s problems can be worse than her own. She also finds some answers to life’s questions in her newly emerging Christian faith, as she tries to identify the mysterious village snitch, who is adding information to fuel Isabella’s arch nemesis, the gossip columnist, Lavinia Harcourt. Isabella then struggles to learn the art of forgiveness.
We leave Isabella in a better place at the end of the book. Claire has recovered and is out of hospital, she has made lots of good friends in rural Suffolk, come through her fourth pregnancy, her sister is back in the UK and she has a better relationship with her mother than she has had for many years as the mother’s health declines. Could true happiness be just a few hashtags and followers away? We await with great anticipation the continuing saga of Isabella Smugge…