Book Reviews

The Happiness Factory by Jo McMillan

What Da Cover Says: Mo Moore, estranged daughter of a sex-aid entrepreneur, regards her father as good as dead. And then he really does die and leaves her all his wealth. Stuck in a job in elderly care, newly single, and with nothing and no-one to keep her in England, Mo does what she’s always done when things get tough: she runs. It could have been anywhere, but a classified ad catches Mo’s eye, and it takes her to China. She lands in Pingdi, a remote mountain village that for centuries supplied dildos to the Imperial bedchamber, and whose revived sex-aid factory is in a financial fix. Soon Mo finds herself on the wrong side of the authorities and needing all the help she can get: China is a land of pointing fingers and blind eyes, of closed doors and open secrets, of rules and recklessness – a place, she discovers, where it’s not easy to be female. 

What I Says: I do love a book that manages to find a unique and interesting storyline (at least to me) that is able to grab my attention in the way that this one has….an English woman buys a factory in China that makes dildos, or “sex-aids” if you prefer the polite term (good luck getting your review past the Amazon censor bot), she tries to save the struggling factory from ruin all the time whilst fighting a battle of wits against Chinese bureaucracy. As soon as I saw this book I knew it was for me, sounded like fun.

The book was as much fun as I expected, what took me by surprise was all the layers of the book, you have all the dildos and sex talk, then you have the bureaucracy (the sort of thing that Monty Python could come up with) all the mad rules and their loopholes and then you have what the book truly is about…the woman’s place in the world, the fear that they have to live with from a young age and the lack of rights they have for their whole life….the book is based in the past but at times it barely feels like that.

Our main character is Mo, her father has just died and she inherits some cash and so starts her adventure in China. She is a rather distant character, it is hard to get a take on her and my first thoughts were that I didn’t like her, but as the book goes on and events happen we get flashbacks into her upbringing and the abusive father she had and she soon found a place in my heart. This was some clever writing, McMillan almost starts with a blank slate and lets your imagination create the character as the information comes in….this worked well for me as I was almost shouting at the pages as the book neared it’s conclusion. As soon as Mo reaches the factory in China I instantly loved the place and it’s people it felt idyllic, I especially liked the Mayor.

There is a lot of sex talk here, some of the words used made me a bit squeamish at first but it is done in such a scientific way that I became engrossed in all the facts, as good as any non-fiction book, I’ve learnt a lot too, the number of types of orgasm a woman can experience, the number/timing of contractions during said orgasm and how long it should take a vibrator to spin when at full power. All interesting facts.

I may joke a bit during this review but this was a horrifying book, the way a woman is treated, an object with no rights and her Husband who informs her of her place and that she will work hard to make him happy made me sick, the feelings this book invokes in the reader was shocking. The scenes that Mo witnesses and the threatening behaviour she endures was heart breaking and it is this powerful writing that makes this such a good book to read.

The conclusion was a powerful statement on family and a fine way to end this stunning book. It’s an eye-opener of a book that I don’t think this review can do justice to, so all I can do is recommend this to everybody I know.

Massive thanks to Bluemoose books for sending me a copy to review, you really should get a copy and get it from this A****n free site HERE:


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