Gift of Continence

Rated 4.88/5 based on 8 reviews
With the perfect wedding dress, what can go wrong? A great deal, as Fiona McDougall rapidly discovers. From the wedding from hell onwards, Fiona successively discovers that her new husband is stingy, bad-tempered and an adulterer.
WARNING: do not attempt to read this book while drinking hot liquids, as they may shoot out of your nose. More

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About Tabitha Ormiston-Smith

Tabitha Ormiston-Smith was born and continues to age. Dividing her time between her houses in Melbourne and the country, she is ably assisted in her editing business and her other endeavours by Ferret, the three-legged bandit.

About the Series: Fiona MacDougall
Fiona MacDougall is conceited, stupid, and completely ineffectual. Watch her bumble through life, screwing up everything she attempts yet coming out on top. Laugh till you are glad you did your pelvic floor exercises.

Also in Series: Fiona MacDougall

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Review by: Ged Cusack on March 30, 2018 :
This book is a comedy of errors and a never-ending stream of minor disasters.

The characters are very realistic (I found myself disliking all of them) and I had to remind myself that it was a comedy farce to stop from being annoyed.

The wedding reminded me of something like an episode of Mr Bean.

Some of the lines in this book reminded me of Classic Tom Sharpe books, like Wilt or Blot on the landscape.
There is a part of the book where Fiona is reticent to kill her husband (no spoilers here as you don’t know the outcome) and her friend says ”We’ve put a lot of effort into this, you can’t just go round getting ready to kill someone and say you’re not going to do it”.

The main differences to Tom Sharpe are that it is a more modern setting and it’s a bit less gruesome.

This is a fun book for those schadenfreudes out there.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
Review by: Susan Day on Feb. 1, 2015 :
Ormistion-Smith has done it again! This is a fantastic book. It’s funny and oh, so smart!

Fiona is getting married and she feels that she’s investigated her life-long commitment to boyfriend, Tim, very thoroughly. After all, the dress was perfect and she looked gorgeous. What else did she need to know? Well, quite a lot really but I don’t think it would be fair to criticise her. Fiona tries really hard to have create a perfect wedding and to be the perfect, stay-at-home wife.

However, things don’t go well. From the cat biting a hole in the wedding cake, to peeing all over the dress, this book will have you in stitches as you are dragged from one tragedy to another by the comic antics of Fiona and everyone she seems to come in touch with.

While the antics of the horrid Tim were upsetting I think (without giving the plot away) that he got what he deserved. No one can behave that badly to his new wife, not to mention poor Moses the cat, and get away with it.

This is a real page-turner. I couldn’t put it down. One day, I hope, it becomes a television show. It’s got all the right ingredients to become a hit. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy today. If your life is a little bit dull and quiet, read a copy of Gift of Continence – you’ll love it!
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
Review by: Leslie Hansford on Sep. 8, 2014 :
Fiona's getting married. Why? Don't ask her. If you know what's good for you. The balance of your sanity may hang on your decision. She's completely over-the-top in her reasoning and conclusions. I love Fiona. She everything everybody is at times, even though we hope we will never be. Irrational, scared, naïve and then, there is the Cat! The cat could not be more Human if he'd had a real voice.

This book was beautifully constructed. The humor and human interaction between the characters was so flawless, that it left me feeling I had actually met them, and found myself saying, "Oh snap out of it, Fi!" The comedic timing was spot on to the point that it left me with aching sides from laughing out loud. Brilliant descriptions of places and situations that you don't usually see in short novels. I found that once I picked Fiona's story up, I couldn't wait to hear what she'd say next. I ended up not putting the book down even through my meal, which I do not often do. Definitely worth a re-read.

I closed the last page feeling refreshed and in a very good mood. It was a magical and musical Story. Ms. Ormiston-Smith goes Artisan and excels at the narrative!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Pinky Pollock on March 29, 2014 :
I'm probably going to embarrass myself with confessing this, but for some reason every time I see the title of this book my brain reads Continence as Incontinence. Two entirely different words I know, but for some reason, my brain couldn't process it.

OK, second confession, I had to Google continence just so I could figure out what the hell it meant, and why it would be a gift! That said, I now know the difference between Continence and Incontinence and I will get on with the review.

This book is not for the fainthearted. If you do not enjoy side splitting Aussie tongue in cheek humor do not read this book.

We meet Fiona on the morning of her wedding to the man of her dreams, or so we are lead to believe. From that point forward we are drawn into a story that could have unfolded in any number of kitchens around the world, as the wedding from hell turns into reality.

This is a beautifully written story, that by the end will have every reader adding their two cents to the plot as plausible ways to see Tim get his just deserts. Yes there are sexual references and profanity throughout, but anybody who knows a true Aussie will know that's just how we roll.

I thoroughly recommend this story, and look forward to reading more offerings by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith
(review of free book)
Review by: Patti Roberts on Feb. 23, 2014 :
If you love Aussie humor, you will love this gem of a book! Lots of laugh out loud moments. You could call it, "My Big Fat Aussie Wedding". There are a few "F" words, but it wouldn't be a true Aussie yarn if it didn't have a few profanities thrown in from time to time. Give it a go - and after you've read it, you'll agree that it has to go straight to the pool room along with all your other little treasures.
(review of free book)
Review by: Georgina Ramsey on Feb. 18, 2014 :
I thoroughly enjoyed Gift of Continence and it was an absolute pleasure to read it. It had me laughing from the start and it's brilliantly written to boot! The characters are so well thought out, and I would imagine that most of us can relate to at least one of them (if not most). Fi, the main character, is not the brightest button in the box, but the book is written with great wit and charm that her naivety and incompetence just adds to her likeability. The characters are all very well developed (although I didn't like Tim - horrible man, but still a good character) and you get a true sense of reality from this book. The author has a wonderful way of engaging the reader with her dialogue and descriptions, and I loved the fact that the story deals with the dreams, and then crashing realities, of life. It starts off with one of the most important events in your life - your wedding day - but it does so with great humour that you cannot fail to enjoy it. I would highly recommend it.
(review of free book)
Review by: Patricia Halloff on Oct. 11, 2013 : (no rating)
What a zany, exhilarating, terrific book! Ms. Ormiston-Smith's novel depicting the blunders of a classic bungler is high-octane humor and a must-read for everyone enjoying a good laugh. Poor Fiona can't do anything right. Oh, she tries! It's just that her concept of right is hopelessly wrong. And what doesn't help matters is that her support system--ditsy friend Gloria, delinquent brother Patrick, gin-swilling grandmother, grumpy cat Moses--are as challenged as she in this regard.

From her botched-up wedding to Tim and its series of bad omens, including Moses' ingestion of a sizable chunk of wedding cake, to the possible steps she plans to take in order to escape her short-lived marriage after finding a black garter belt in Tim's suit jacket, Fiona makes a mess of everything. She's a hapless babe in the woods unbelievably naive for her years. Because she has no idea what the gold-plated sex toy some wag gave as a wedding gift is, she displays it on the mantel piece as an ornament. On her virgin trip to a grocery store--apparently she's never been to one before--she buys a few dozen chickens because they're on sale, is extremely proud of herself for saving money, and can't understand Tim's reaction.

I thoroughly enjoyed Gift of Continence. Ms. Ormiston-Smith is an excellent writer who had me laughing out loud throughout. The device she employs of beginning chapters with quotations from a traditional marriage ceremony satirically and beautifully accentuate the contrast between what marriage should/could have been and what it turned out to be for poor Fiona. Gift of Continence is a real hoot! Read it and laugh!
(reviewed 47 days after purchase)
Review by: Gisela Hausmann on July 2, 2013 :
Finding the Magic Dress does not lead to a Magic Marriage. Now what?

"Sex and the City" step aside - here comes a hilarious Australian story of a wedding and early "marital bliss", which will have readers rolling in laughter.

It all starts out like a dream: "The dress was magic. I still think so. It had some supernatural quality that defied analysis..."

Unfortunately for the heroine Fiona, things don't stay magic. Early trouble indicates that not everything may go smoothly: "I looked like Elizabeth the First. My hair rose vertically up from my head into what appeared to be a solid mass about eight inches high."

Tabitha Ormiston-Smith's book Gift of Continence is hilarious for obvious reasons. While we hate when even the tiniest thing goes wrong at our own wedding, we have a tendency to enjoy laughing about others' mishaps, especially if they are fictitious.

Fiona's bold conclusions regarding her wedding also ring true to our own (secret) thoughts: "Actually, I had a wonderful time. After all, when do you get to invite all your friends to a party that's paid for by someone else, and you're guaranteed to have the most stunning dress there?"

While naïve Fiona does not want to work (earlier experiences had not gone well) she wants to be the perfect wife. Her reflections about her attempts are priceless: "People in books always seem to take a deep breath and then be able to do whatever it was they were trying to do. It doesn't work in real life though."

Things really take off when now married Fiona finds a black lace garter belt in her husband's coat pocket. It is an intolerable situation. However, divorce is not a good option for Fiona. It might make her look less than the perfect wife. Even with the people closest to her (brother Patrick, best friend Gloria, and Gran) weighing in and trying to help with advice, Fiona has a hard time coming up with the very best plan.

This reviewer is not a spoiler, thus I will not tell how the situation gets resolved. One thing though - the way how Fiona gets rid of her philandering husband took me by surprise.

Great many female readers will appreciate the many references to how important wearing the right attire is to all matters of life: "When you're in your dressing gown, with your hair tangled and a temperature probably coming on, and the other person is all freshly showered and suited and dripping with cologne, well you're just putty in their hands, aren't you?" and:

"It's always a mistake to get into any kind of difficult conversation when one's not dressed." Which is exactly what happens to Fiona - quite frequently.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Tony Spencer on June 30, 2013 :
This delightful book is not a gold nugget, it's a mother load of mirth. I had a smile on my face all the way through and every few pages I would involuntarily laugh out loud at the antics of Fiona MacDougall, her family, friend and associated critters. There were times when I felt in dire need of "The Gift" itself! It starts early on the narrator Fiona's wedding day with her obsession with long lazy hot baths, her OCD mother wanting to speak to her rather late in the day about her ... wifely duties (not that Fi ever listens to any of mum's homilies), and her unique relationship with her cat. This delightful book tastefully avoids the honeymoon and concentrates the reader on the maniacally mad Fiona as she fails to cope with the first few weeks of married life. Reminiscent of a Tom Sharpe novel, the moronic actions which ensue are perfectly logical when viewed from Fi's skewed perspective, and the laughs just keep on coming. I loved the little touches, the quotes from the marriage ceremony which aptly introduce each chapter, Grannie's little proverbs, Fi's short attention span where she misses so much of what's going on. The supporting cast of brother, 14 going on 30, best-friend Gloria and her string of oaths (which reminds me that the rife profanity throughout is condimentary to the dish), Grannie, her dog (what wrinkly calls their dog Euthanasia? I crease up every time). Written in Dingo Lingo (Aussie English), I just had to read it in the style of the Dick Van Dyke school of accents. Try it, it definitely works. The intensity never drops off, this novel is simply brilliant. If you have a funny bone, you just have to tickle it with this. Don't be put off by the cover pic and hints this is woman's fiction or chick lit, don't let the ladies keep this to themselves; I'm a bloke and I absolutely loved it! In fact, I am going to read it again, now, just need to empty my bladder first....
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)

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