Botwell Green Library – Reading Group #BookReview

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning


For the July Botwell Reading Group, My Notorious Life was discussed. Based on a true story from the scandalised headlines of Victorian New York City, My Notorious Life is a portrait of Axie Muldoon, the impoverished daughter of Irish Immigrants who becomes an enormously successful—and controversial—midwife.

Synopsis of the book

Inspired by a real midwife who became one of the most controversial figures in Victorian New York City, —part love story, part family saga. The confessions of a charismatic and passionate woman who changed the lives of countless others. Meet the incomparable Axie Muldoon. Axie’s story begins on the streets of 1860s New York. The impoverished child of Irish immigrants, she grows up to become one of the wealthiest and most controversial women of her day. In vivid prose, Axie recounts how she is forcibly separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, and how she and her husband parlay the sale of a few bottles of “Lunar Tablets for Female Complaint” into a thriving midwifery business. Flouting convention and defying the law in the name of women’s rights, Axie rises from grim tenement rooms to the splendour of a mansion on Fifth Avenue, amassing wealth while learning over and over never to trust a man who says “trust me.”

Reviews & Opinions

As a group we enjoyed this book from cover to cover!

Overall the story was excellent

We would recommend this book to, anyone who enjoys a good read.

Below is a review by reading group member “T”.

“As well as a thundering good read, this story throws up much to think about including, sexual politics, attempts at society to keep individuals ignorant, society and class, unequal distribution of money resources, etc. The power of men over women was interesting, as well as disregard for women’s physical & mental health. The main character was well drawn, balanced, and with her own conflict about what she would and would not do. She was happy to enjoy the money she earned. It also explored her deep seated issues with trust, which was explained by her early childhood and took many decades to overcome.

Just the sort of book I hope to find by joining the book club!

Very high praise indeed.

About the Author


Kate Manning is the author of the critically-acclaimed novels, Whitegirl, and My Notorious Life. O, the Oprah magazine called My Notorious Life “a daring page-turner, meticulously researched and astonishingly current.” NPR’s Kurt Anderson said, “It’s a fantastic yarn…absolutely Dickensian.” And novelist Marisa Silver writes, “Kate Manning has taken a little-known nugget of history and spun it into a remarkable novel that is mesmerizing and resonant. Her New York City of the late 19th century is passionately evoked, and Axie Muldoon is as fierce and alive a character as I have read in recent fiction. In its exploration of a subject no less pressing now than it was over a hundred years ago, My Notorious Lifeis an essential novel for our time.” A former documentary producer for WNET-13, where she won two Emmy Awards, Kate has written for the New York Times, the Washington PostGlamour and More magazines among others. She has taught creative writing at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan, where she lives with her family, and a dog named Moon, who walks her regularly.

Thank you for reading.


Uxbridge Bear Club’s Favourite Holiday Books!



This week in Bear Club at Uxbridge Library we are reading books about holidays! We are all excited that the summer holidays have arrived, especially our storytime mascots Bernard and Ralph. We can’t wait to play games, eat ice cream and do lots of reading during the summer.


Did you know that we are now running our annual summer reading challenge for children aged four to 11? The theme this year is Mischief Makers, celebrating Beano’s 80th birthday. All you have to do is read six books during the holidays and you will get stickers, Starborg cards and prizes each time you take out a book. To join the challenge just ask a member of staff at any Hillingdon Library.


George Goes On A Plane By Nicola Smee


Everyone at storytime loved joining George on his exciting adventure at the airport. There were lots of interesting things to learn and look at and we all giggled when teddy went through the x-ray machine!


Maisy Goes To London By Lucy Cousins

download (12)  Untitled drawing (5)

Maisy is one of our favourite book characters at Uxbridge Bear Club. We enjoyed exploring the city of London with Maisy and saw lots of famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace and we even got to ride a water taxi and double-decker bus! Luckily Bernard remembered his Oyster card this time.

The Wheels On The Bus (Peppa Pig) by Martin Jenkins


The Wheels on the Bus is one of our favourite nursery rhymes at Uxbridge Bear Club and we all love Peppa Pig too! Bernard enjoyed playing with the real wheels that you can spin and go round and round, round and round… ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪

We would love you to join us at Uxbridge Library for stories and nursery rhymes at Bear Club which we run every Monday 11am to 11.30am and Thursday and Friday 2pm to 2.30pm. To book your free place call us on 01895 250714 or pop in and speak to a member of staff. Next week’s theme is Mischief Makers!


By Sarah (Uxbridge Library)

Join the Summer Reading Challenge 2018!

Calling all Mischief Makers aged 4 to eleven!

Join the Summer Reading Challenge, free, at your local Hillingdon Library from 7 July.

Mischief Makers


This year’s Beano themed challenge features tons of incentives to support children reading over the summer.

Children visit the library six times, borrow a book each visit, and receive a fantastic prize! Water the garden with an animal squirter or prank your friends with a whoopee cushion. Collect our unique Starborg cards and uncover a hidden secret.

Children who complete all six visits will receive a certificate and medal (see list of gifts below).

The Summer Reading Challenge supports children’s reading throughout the summer, so they are not behind when they return to school.

It’s free to join Mischief Makers and suitable for children aged four to 11 years.

Children just need a library card, if your family does not have library cards, becoming a member is easy and free,. You don’t even have to live in Hillingdon to join at a Hillingdon Library.

Children joined to the challenge can book on to our free events running in libraries throughout the summer. Events include fancy dress, comic strip workshops and shows with children’s comedian Mark Jones.


Visit to find out more!