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The Cactus

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781473660632

Price: £9.99

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I found myself laughing out loud at Susan’s prickly character’ Reese Witherspoon


People aren’t sure what to make of Susan Green.
Family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand – but Susan makes perfect sense to herself. Age 45, she thinks her life is perfect. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a steady 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. And things can only get worse … at least in Susan’s eyes.

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.

‘Quirky, poignant and extremely readable’
Sunday Mirror
‘Brilliantly comic’ The Lady
‘Wonderfully funny and astute’ Red
‘Funny, compelling, well-written…for fans of Marian Keyes who demand a bit of grit in their comic writing’ Emerald Street


Equal parts intelligent, funny and devastating, Haywood breathes life into an unlikely heroine in a bold, emotionally-charged debut.
An immense pleasure . . . I loved this novel very much
Mrs B's Book Reviews
If, like me, you never stopped to think what a child born of The Rosie Project's Don Tillman and Bridget Jones might be like, there's one way to find out. Read Sarah Haywood's The Cactus. Meet Susan Green. She doesn't understand how funny she is, which is delicious.
Julia Claiborne Johnson, author of BE FRANK WITH ME
An original, engaging and totally believable character
Graeme Simsion
Fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine will love The Cactus ... wonderfully funny and astute
Sarra Manning, Red
Glorious...it twists and turns through human nature wonderfully. Like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Rosie Project ... a book you just want to read at any opportunity.
Kat Brown
The Cactus will be compared to Gail Honeyman's Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine...there is terrible poignancy
Patricia Nicol, The Sunday Times
'Funny, compelling, well-written...for fans of Marian Keyes who demand a bit of grit in their comic writing'
Emerald Street
Heartfelt and funny, this big-hearted debut will delight fans of The Rosie Project.
Book Riot
A joyful, funny and very insightful story. Incredibly well written and wonderfully imagined. Effortlessly entertaining with captivating observatoins.
Random Things Through My Letterbox
There's been a trend for 'difficult' female protagonists ... but set-in-her-ways Susan is difficult in her own unique way
Wear and Where
Legal battles, lapses of logic and the joys and fears of motherhood are explored in this astute, funny and moving novel of a woman learning how to let go
Daily Mail
A heartfelt and charming story of one woman's transition from a solitary, orderly existence to a messy life full of love.
This book is charming and easy to read, the perfect tonic to this absurdly grey February
The Pool
Hilarious and endearing ... anchored by the splendid character of Susan
Publisher's Weekly
I adored this book. LOVE LOVE LOVED it.
Debbish.com blog
A warm, witty portrait of a woman finally creating the family she deserves
Kirkus Reviews
A very readable, often funny tale of how sometimes we think we have life under control, but really, that's just impossible; it's better to just go with the flow and actually enjoy ourselves along the way. A very useful life lesson.
Books on the 747 blog
A very compelling and enjoyable read
A Ticket to Everywhere blog
Funny, touching and so beautifully written, with a twist that knocks you off your feet
Years of Reading Selfishly
Best cover. Kick-ass feminist, quirky story within. The definition of win-win.
Lady Sharon blog
Susan is a fantastic character, who you end up loving deeply by the end
Not Maud Gonne blog
I fell in love with the warm, feminist heart of this novel
Where the Books Go blog
Warm, uplifting, funny and bittersweet
Talking About My Shelf blog
Susan Green is an independent and endearingly prickly woman whose life is spiralling out of control. You're gonna love her.
Marie Claire AUS
Gloriously funny and poignant, The Cactus introduces us to Susan Green, a 45-year-old woman who's seemingly in-control life begins to unravel in a very messy and, er, prickly way. You will love her.
InStyle AUS
Insightful, funny and incredibly entertaining. Haywood has created a character who is both irritating and intriguing in equal measure and I bloody loved her!
A Novel Girl
Wise, witty and introspective The Cactus is a terrific debut that cannot fail to move you ... candid and warm
WHSmith Fresh Talent 2018
The trend for "up lit" continues to make its mark, in titles including Sarah Haywood's debut The Cactus (rigid, lonely-but-doesn't-realise woman in her 40s falls pregnant and is forced to make connections; great cover)
Alison Flood, The Bookseller
Refreshingly different and often unpredictable, yet providing enough hope to keep the reader turning pages
Haywood's novel is humorous and reveals the vulnerability of someone who believes she's above all that. It poses the question: do we ever really have control over anything in our lives?
British Weekly
Sarah Haywood's charming, funny, poignant debut, The Cactus, is that rare gem, a story of womanhood and motherhood that is never reductive and seldom predictable
Yakima Herald
An ideal read for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Quirky, poignant and extremely readable
Sunday Mirror
A brilliant read
Snazzy Books
If you liked Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, then you'll love The Cactus by Sarah Haywood. Quirky, funny, compelling, you can't help but love, and cheer for, the main character Susan
Amy Lysette, Deputy Features Editor at Closer and Bella
Read it if you loved Eleanor Oliphant
A witty tale of a unique and unforgettable woman who is learning to love and be loved. It is a quirky, warm and entertaining read which certainly packs an emotional punch.
The Curious Ginger Cat
A brilliantly comic novel about the flawed, controlling and utterly endearing Susan, who, while engaging in a family feud with her feckless brother, embarks unwittingly on a journey of personal enlightenment
The Lady
Brilliantly acerbic . . . told with the wit and intelligence of a modern Jane Austen
Linda's Book Bag
One of the best books I've ever read, purely for the main character Susan - one of the best, most likeable, quirky, funny characters in any book I've ever read. I couldn't have been sadder for this book to end. I don't want to give anything away but if you're going through any change in your life, not really sure what you're doing or feel a bit lost, this is the book for you.
The Brighton Girl
I think everyone recognises a little bit of themselves in Susan
Cari Rosen, author of The Secret Diary of a New Mum, Woman's Hour