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The Unexpected Life of Carnegie Lane Paperback – April 1, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

This story is true to my heart. I ask you, the reader the question. What were your dreams long ago? What did you want to be when you were a child growing up and how did those dreams vanish? What were they replaced with? Why were they replaced?   

Not all of us find a relationship that allows us to follow our life path. Most of us, mainly the women, become mothers and wives, and the keeper of the house. We become focused on our relationships with those around us, often giving up our own dreams for the sake of others. Then what happens when your identity is removed, by the partner who leaves? Who do you become then? 

These topics are explored in this book, and so is the adventure of a lifetime that my Carnegie Lane gets to experience. Not all of it is great, yet all of it is compelling.. I hope you enjoy!


Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and amazing response to this story. I would like to answer one of my most asked questions. Is there really a book called 'Impossible Things'? The answer is a resounding yes, the book does exist and I look forward to letting you know when it will be available for release.
I have listed many songs that reflect my music taste and those songs that bring back memories for me. There are so many others that didn't make it in this book although they are not forgotten. The website for Carnegie Lane has links to the bands represented from my poster collection on the cover and also links to the songs mentioned in this book and beyond. carnegielanebook.com is where you will find it. Check it out when you can and get lost in the wonderful world of sound. If you remember you loved the music, support the artists and buy the song. ITunes links also listed!
Although this book is fiction, some of it is loosely based on events that have happened, just changed a little to protect the not so innocent.  These events are drawn not only from my world, but also from the world of my gorgeous friend and personal muse, Maree Furniss who helped me so much to write this.  Thanks woman!
There has been many a laugh and tear constructing the universe of my Carnegie Lane. I got to rediscover my absolute love for all things 80's, taking me back to a time when I did wear Doc Martins, have jet black hair and follow the underground rock scene all over Sydney. So this is a great time to thank all the musicians in the world. The old and the new, the ones I don't know and... the ones I do, for keeping me sane with endless tunes while I write.  Oh, and a huge thank you to Robert Smith from The Cure, simply for existing!
Music is a gateway to the soul.
Remember to play it loudly.

From the Inside Flap

Carnegie Lane arrived at 27 Willow Street in the town of Bundaberg a little out of place and very disorientated, after suffering a mental concussion from the divorce she never saw coming. Whatever it was that brought her there had to come from cataclysmic shock. You could tell just by looking at that entire family, minus the husband, it was not a happy move. They pulled up out the front of their new suburban house and walked around it twice with their backs arched, like male cats meeting for the first time.  Their clothes were different to what the locals were used to, yet most obvious was their eerie silence.
They had nothing much to say to each other and barely gave a smile as the neighbors approached them offering the mandatory welcome. They seemed embarrassed and less than happy to receive it.  In fact, if they had been pressured anymore to smile, they had the potential to burst into inconsolable tears or throw up.
Before that shocking move, Carnegie Lane lived in the suburb of Paddington, deep in the heart of Sydney. She'd left her oppressive life in a small country town when she was only seventeen, and went on a journey to find somewhere she truly belonged.
            Paddington was a funky little corner of the world that forever held her heart. It was the first place she found when she moved away and the only place on earth that held an offbeat significance to her life. In that small corner of the universe the music and soulful opportunity allowed her to express the complexity of who she was. She fit in there like a glove and made many great friends who were the same... Different.
Choosing to remain there was a constant reminder of her rebellious phase in the late 80's. Back when her partly pink hair, savagely dark eyeliner and those black boots with pewter skulls ruled supreme. It was through her endless nights of blind abandonment and partying at the Exchange Hotel on Oxford Street (and various other seedy venues) that she met the love of her life, her future husband, the father of her children.
Live bands were everything to her. Musicians, who were at the time no one - but almost good - were the same people she would share a joint with at a party and a drink with at the pubs around Sydney between sets.  Her life was simple. She wasn't a groupie, because she knew them by name. She was above the begging.  Some over time, became stars, landing themselves on Countdown with Molly Meldrum. They would get to be the lead acts and play in venues ranging from the Tivoli to the Horden Pavilion. Later some even performed at the Sydney Entertainment Center. If she was lucky enough to be standing at the front, her face would be familiar and they would greet her as if they cared. A subtle wink or a wave between rifts was what she had come to live for.  It was hard for Carnegie to walk away from a gig unrecognized. Before they were famous, she had mattered to most of them.
Moving forward to 2009 her world was very different.  She had a semi-awesome husband, with a financially rewarding career. An amazing Paddington town house and a credit card that had no end in sight to what she could or couldn't do with it. All of the perfection she had created so far was ingeniously accessorized by four very... perfect...children. 
Carnegie Lane was happy.  She belonged in this world that had been carefully manufactured by her and she refused to leave.  Caught in a time warp, she danced through her housework and kept her sanity in between, all the time listening to The Cure and singing along word for word. For her, like the music, it was 'Just like Heaven'.
There was nothing that could touch her as the essence of the songs took over. The rhythm guitar pumped a familiar drug straight into her veins; the bass guitar would set a mood as the lead touched the highest joy centers of her brain. The drum became the pace for her heartbeat to follow and the vocals would set her spirit free.  By the time the CD rolled over to 'Kiss me Kiss me Kiss me' the broom had become a microphone and she had become an obsession to no one. Strategically, she performed for the inanimate objects that made up the aesthetics of her home.  Her world was perfect. Carnegie Lane in those moments was someone. She had become - A legend in her own lounge room.
 For seven hours of the day, those books and ornaments were her audience and she decided they mattered. She would perform and clean, create and cook until all her dreams and secret desires were removed by the sound of children walking through the door. Once again Carnegie Lane, the idol to inanimate objects, would become Carnegie Lane, the mother of four needy children, and she loved it.
So what was it that drove her, underneath the insatiable love for those children? Underneath her undying need to be the perfect wife and partner?  It was a complicated question for a complicated woman. She was a multi-dimensional being that was driven by the need for her own self created perfection. So what was it, underneath it all that she really wanted for herself? The answer was not as remarkably different as to what you would think.  Carnegie Lane just wanted to be a Rock Star.
So between the reality of her life and her secret world that kept her sane, there was nothing much that needed correcting. Carnegie convinced herself she was happy, her kids were great, her husband came home at night and ate dinner with the family.  Her twin daughters went to ballet lessons, and her two little ones learned the piano.
They entertained friends on a Friday night and she cooked amazing dishes from exotic locations around the globe. All the current events of the day, including politics, would be discussed at the table as if they had the credibility to actually comment, all the while consuming a standard prescription of wine. She had an art for remembering to smile and look casually in control of it all.
Then, with the final wave of farewell to the last visitor at the door, she would turn and go to bed, ready to slave for her man, just like all good wives did after a successful dinner event. It was a ritual dished up long ago and made to feel like a reward for good and proper behavior on both sides of the bed sheets. Somewhere deep within her, Carnegie Lane wanted more out of life, only she didn't know it then. Somewhere, her husband was already getting more out of life. Only he wasn't quite ready tell her the truth. 
It was a nearly perfect day when her world unraveled like a ball of string. Her four children sat quietly at the dinner table, eating a healthy concoction of veggies and tofu without complaint. The house was spotless and out of the corner of her eye, Carnegie could almost see the statue in the hall still applauding her best concert yet. Her husband was late, but it happened occasionally. Then the phone rang...
Carnegie Lane listened to the voice of her husband at the other end telling her something unbelievable. Her head swam as if in lost in a vortex. He wasn't just late, he wasn't coming back at all. Her semi-awesome husband was at the home of his semi-plastic secretary. They were in love and he was going to marry her. There was no apology. There was no regret. There was no message for the children. He said he would come over the next day and collect some of his things, he asked her not to be there when he did, then he hung up without hesitation. She put the phone down and listened to the happy voices of her children as they picked the best out of their dinner. Then they became silent as a billowing wale came from the den where the call had taken place.
Carnegie Lane was screaming.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1475029071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475029079
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,833,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Things do not seem to be going great for Carnegie Lane after her husband walks out on her and their four children to go set up home with his secretary. Carnegie and the children move away from the smart area of Paddington she lived in with her husband to a more humble setting miles away from anyone who knows her. Carnegie passes the time singing along to 80's tunes while she does her housework. Carnegie dreams of being a rock star, she wants to get more out of her life.

One day Carnegie feels inspired to write a book, when she has finished writing it she sends it to a publisher. Katalie Bowman who is the agent in charge of fantasy fiction at the publishing company that Carnegie sends her book to, ends up taking her manuscript home. But it is Katalie's brother Nate that ends up reading Carnegie's manuscript. Nate is an international famous rock star and he really likes Carnegie's book. So much so that he decides to contact Carnegie and an unlikely friendship develops between the housewife and rock star. What is it that has drawn this unlikely friendship together?

I absolutely loved this book. This is a story that just oozes personality and it shines through on each and ever page, drawing the reader in until you are completely hooked. The unlikely friendship and relationship between the two main characters who on the outside seem worlds apart but who on the inside are a lot alike makes this a compelling read. At the end of each chapter there are lyrics and the name of the song are given, I really enjoyed trying to guess the name of the song from the lyrics and will later be on You Tube looking up the songs. There are some good songs featured. The main character Carnegie has a love of 80's music and is a big fan of the band The Cure. I really recommend reading this book and if I could give the book more than five stars I would. It is a brilliant read. Right time to blow the dust of my Cure CD's I think and get them playing again!
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This book was unexpectedly different. I wasn't quite sure what I was getting in to with this one when I first started reading it, but it didn't take long for the writing style of this author to really grow on me. It was a good story with a small bit of paranormal which I really wasn't expecting. It wasn't so wonderful that I couldn't put it down, but it was good. What really won me over and left a lasting impression wasn't the story itself, but the character of Carnegie Lane. She captured my attention and won my affection and I think I will continue to think of her everytime I turn my music up loud and perform . . .to my inanimate objects.

The story - 3 stars. Carnegie Lane - 4 stars.
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The Unexpected life of Carnegie Lane by Virginia Higgins is a fantastic read and a book you may want to read more than once. It can be read in a day or enjoyed over several days as a nighttime read. There is love, there is drama, there is tragedy, there is real life, and real feelings. This book will make make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will go in unexpected directions and surprise you. In the end you will feel satisfied. You will learn about the music industry, you will learn about the publishing industry. The book takes place in Australia and in England as well as other locations. Each chapter starts with a snippet of music and ends with a sentence that begins the same with only the last part of the sentence being different giving real symmetry to the book. So that still tells you nothing about the book other than how I felt does it?

The book is about a family, mostly the mom. It is about how she comes to write a book, how that book comes to be published, how her life changes, changes again, and again, and yet again. It talks about how her relationship with her kids changes with each of the changes in her life. It is about her disappointments and how she learns to live with them and in the end how she triumphs.

I give this a 5 star review and highly recommend you check it out.
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I recently finished reading "The Unexpected Life of Carnegie Lane" by Virginia Higgins. First of all, I would like to congratulate this author on her outstanding writing ability and her exceptional creative talent. She masterfully captures the attention of her reading audience by appealing to their softer more romantic side....the side that wants to see the underdog succeed and overcome the unlikely odds of reaching stardom.

Reading this spellbinding, fictional novel afforded me a new experience. It's kind of hard to describe but I can honestly say that what I experienced has never happened to me before, at least, not when reading a book. Many times when I hear the voice of a talented singer, I will get "goose bumps" or the shivers because I am so moved by the song and the way it is being sung. Today, I had that exact same feeling when I was reading "The Unexpected Life of Carnegie Lane". Not only on one but on a few occasions, I was so moved by this novel that I got unexpected "goose bumps".

It was an absolutely wonderful experience to be so involved with the plot of this book..to be part of Carnegie Lane's life...to feel for her, her family, her lot in life, and her dreams. To feel so deeply that I did not want to put this book down. It brought me into her world and gave me the chance to understand her desire to be more. Her desire "to explore the other option, the right option...the creative option." By taking the chance, Carnegie Lane finds herself!

I am putting Virginia Huggins in the very same league as those gifted singers that send chills up and down my spine. She is one great author with a great story to tell. I look forward to her next book!
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