Agonising by Ernestine Marsh – Book Review


Pages: 107
Release Date: 2 June 2018
Publisher: Amazon Kindle


The problem pages of two agony aunts, Jean Price and Raine Vincent. They are arch rivals.

Jean is an ultra right wing traditionalist. She was headmistress of a private school for many years and after being asked to resign, following the airing of a documentary on her school, she now lives in an Essex village with her secretary Miss Tiffany. Jean has her own agony column in ‘Life of a Lady magazine’. Miss Tiffany is a nervous wreck.

Raine is the star of a reality TV show, ‘Housewives gone wild’, who was an instant hit with the viewing public due to her down to earth, fun loving, nature. She lives with her ‘resting’ game show host husband Vince Vincent and her daughter Shanice Denise, in an Essex village, just is a mile from Jean Price’s home.

Raine is an enthusiastic drinker.

Both answer a wide variety of problems in their own unique and very different ways. The spats that happen between them come to a head when they both appear on a celebrity dinner party show.

Jean and Raine are both a formidable and, for all the wrong reasons, entertaining duo!


This is the debut novel by British-based author, Ernestine Marsh. I found it via a social media link and decided to give it a try as it looked like a different type of read. The structure is very simple; two agony aunts have columns in rival magazines, giving advice on all sorts of issues. However beneath the surface, it would appear that they derive far more pleasure from taking a metaphorical swipe at each other, than in any altruistic desire to resolve the dilemmas of their readers.

Raine and Jean are polar opposites in every aspect of their lives and their value judgements reflect this. As both are prone to wandering off at tangents, we learn quite a lot about them through their suggested solutions to problems. Sensitivity is a quality that neither possess and their caustic humour is indiscriminate. Their advice is usually impractical, often illegal but always incredibly funny.

The comedic characters brought to life by Ernestine Marsh are outrageous and one can only feel sorry for their long-suffering supporting cast, in particular Miss Tiffany who I think should look for alternative employment without delay!

This type of book is either a masterpiece or a disaster. It probably won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but personally, I found it hilarious and believe it would easily transform from the written word into a radio comedy.  It was an absolute breath of satirical fresh air with two totally over-the-top protagonists and I am left wondering just how many bona fide agony aunts wish (occasionally) they could respond to questions in the same way as Raine and Jean!

This would make a superb Christmas present and I have no hesitation in awarding five mirth-filled stars:



About the Author

Ernestine Marsh describes herself as a woman who has written a book!

About Julie Haiselden

Since 1999, I've worked in the NHS and am blessed with a happy family life. I write books and am a very amateur blogger. As well as being a school alumna, I occasionally tread the boards. I enjoy rambling and photography (although my enthusiasm for the latter, outweighs my skill set). Since 2016, I've been part of the reviewing team at Whispering Stories.
This entry was posted in Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s