Author Valda Marshall & Ray Kolle
Genre: Soap Opera
Publisher: Bantam Books
Series: Neighbours #1
Nineteen year-old Madge Ramsay leaves her beau, Harold Bishop, for dashing young Fred Mitchell... and her life is changed forever. An errant husband, a tomboy daughter and a charming larrikin son are the ingredients for... "A Family Divided"... until Madge returns to the scene of her childhood - Ramsay Street, Erinsborough.
I'm a huge Neighbours fan, and so when I began going back and looking at the show from the beginning, I was excited to find that a series of books had been written about life before Ramsay Street.
This book looks back at Madge and Fred's marriage, and how it was falling apart. Fred is sleeping with his employee Susan, while Madge believes the two can finally get back to the romance they once had. Elsewhere, Charlene is running a muck and ends up pregnant, and Henry is getting into all sorts of trouble with the law. Madge soon discovers Fred's affair, decides to let Henry finally face the full force of the law, and can't seem to connect with Charlene. Realising her life in Coffs Harbour has come to an end, she heads back to her childhood home, Ramsay Street.
The story gives Madge and the Mitchell's a full back story, and ends where the show picks up. It was really great to see all these characters in a different setting, but still seeing them as the characters you know and love from the show. And because it is written by writers of the show, all the events that happen are considered canon within the Neighbours universe.
While this book can definitely be read as a standalone by someone who hasn't seen the show, it is definitely a lot more enjoyable and fun to read if you've actually watched the show and have some knowledge of the characters.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to Neighbours fans as it's a great insight into life away from the what we've seen go to air.