Who’s Smiling Now? by Joy Wood

It is always fun to discover an author who is new to you, and who’s books you enjoy. This happened to me recently when I discovered the novel Who’s Smiling Now? written by Joy Wood.

I had met Joy at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and always found her to be great company but it was only recently that I read one of her novels. Shame on me! Who’s Smiling Now? is a clever, sophisticated and subtle novel that builds throughout the story.

The Blurb

Laura Foley hooks up with the handsome author Cohan Laity while on holiday in Spain. For Laura, a holiday fling is just what she needs – but that’s all she needs, refusing to see him again once the holiday comes to an end.
But a besotted Cohan won’t take no for an answer. He follows her back to the UK and infiltrates every aspect of her life to get to her, threatening everything she loves and holds dear.
She tries reasoning. She tries hiding. She even tries involving the police as Cohan stalks her every move and worms his way into her family by dating her sister.
Laura is terrified but won’t capitulate. She must take matters into her own hands, and he may well have underestimated her as the hunter becomes the hunted.

The Review

Joy Wood is a fine author who draws her characters finely and lures the reader along blind alleys with clever red herrings and slights of her pen. I do not want reveal any spoilers that might affect others enjoyment of this book. However, the way the author introduces her main protagonist, Laura, and reveals her actions while on vacation in Spain allows the audience to form a view about her.

The author uses this as she reveals more about Laura’s background, family life and her job. The reader also learns about the dynamics between Laura and her family members. The competitiveness between her and her sister, Danielle, the protectiveness she shows to her disabled brother, Teddy and the deep love between Laura and her parents. Still, nature versus nurture is explored discreetly when Laura’s lover Cohen threatens to jeopardise her relationship with her fiance Matthew.

This threat grows and as Laura tries to support her parents, her boss and Matthew, she becomes increasingly stressed and her life becomes more and more difficult and she asks the police to help her, little does she know, the police officer in charge has problems of his own.

This is an excellent novel that tells a gripping story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommend it.

The Author

I’ve always loved the many facets of the English Language. At school, my favourite lesson was English Literature. I used to read a specific story, imagine I’d written it and then formulate a different ending. Delighted with my own efforts, I’m not so sure the renowned authors’ would have appreciated my slant on their work.

Poetry was a particular favourite of mine, and I’d use any excuse to dabble. I trained as a nurse, and whenever I left a period of employment such as working on a ward or in an operating theatre, I would leave behind a witty poem about my colleagues, turning them into humorous characters, which were always well received.

I progressed to consumer competitions, and enjoyed a significant amount of success writing slogans. Nothing would please me more than to receive a long white envelope through the post, announcing a prize I’d won for an innovative slogan. I was very lucky with most of the prizes, although a runner up reward of a year’s supply of dog food wasn’t the best prize, especially when I didn’t have a dog!

I once wrote a simple romantic story for a competition run by a clothing catalogue. I did the usual, boy meets girl, conflict between the two of them which was eventually resolved, and they both lived happily ever after. However, I featured the male and female characters wearing brand names of outfits from the catalogue range, and used appealing descriptive phrases about the garments. To my amazement, I was rewarded by winning first prize of an all-inclusive holiday.

Even though I knew that the reference to the catalogue clothing range most probably sealed the win, it gave me the encouragement to try my hand at actually writing a romance novel. Two years ago, I moved with my husband to Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire. Watching the tide turn daily, gave me the idea for the story, ‘For the Love of Emily’. I would develop the characters in my head, and create the chapters on my laptop when I returned home. Although this story is now finished, I still have plenty of ideas still whirling around in my brain, yet to be sealed in ink.



  1. A great review, Val for a great book.


    • Val Penny

      Thanks Tricia.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anna Maria Shenton

    Wonderful review Val x


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