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Book Review: Expat Women: Confessions

Updated 2 Jun 2011

As prolific advice columnist Pauline Phillips (author of Dear Abby) would have asserted, in her somewhat irritating manner of always hitting the nail on the head, sometimes, all we need as women is a little uncommon common sense and a bit of youthful advice.
Book Cover - Expat Women: Confessions
And as begrudgingly as some of us may feel accepting this, the truth remains, a good heart-to-heart with a girlfriend and a glass of wine can often provide the best solution to the most complicated of problems.

Unfortunately, for those expat women relocating to deepest, darkest or biggest, fastest, girlfriends can run scarce and the quest to find a friend who can both commiserate and motivate can be left unfinished.

Enter Andrea Martins and Victoria Hepworth, co-authors of "Expat Women: Confessions - 50 Answers to your Real-Life Questions About Living Abroad". As professional global nomads and key players in the management of, Martins (site creator, along with Jill Lengré) and Hepworth have compounded the queries posed to them by an international audience to bring females in any foreign location an intimate and emotional companion.

As the title suggests, "Confessions" chronicles the questions asked by 50 real-life expat women and the worldly and wise answers of the authors; as informed by research, experience and interviews with professionals in relevant fields.

As readers, we're afforded a unique fly-on-the-wall perspective to what could be, at times, our own therapy session, or at other moments, a seat in the audience of the motivational conference we were always too ashamed to sign-up for.

The questions selected are ubiquitous, yet intensely personal. In most cases, they could have been posed by an expat woman in any location, and in turn, the answers and the connections the authors make are applicable on a global level.

That said, the questions are not posed by expat women in undisclosed locations and anonymous situations. They're put forth in the context of specific cities under emotionally charged circumstances: in St. Petersburg at a loss, abroad in the Middle East and not respected, overseas in Brazil and misunderstood.

And whether you're an independent, busy and successful executive negotiating the transition to a non-working, trailing spouse, or an international lady of leisure bothered by the lack of a good Martini and the conversation that should go with it, you'd be hard-pressed not to find an instance or ten you could relate too.

As Martins and Hepworth repeatedly remind readers, there's comfort and reassurance to be taken in the simple fact that others are dealing with the same issues, experiencing the same misgivings and struggling with the same difficulties.

And, for those who'd rather leave heartfelt encouragement to the dogs, both authors are well-versed in not only providing specific and practical solutions, but also in extending their points to address broader, umbrella issues: settling in, raising kids, career and money, repatriation, relationships and mixed emotions.

The icing on the cake? The work concludes with one of the most comprehensive resource lists for both print and online publications in current circulation.

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