I received this book from TripFiction.com
A strong, moving and compelling story
My rating: 5 out of 5
Bernadette has been married for 10 years to a man she realises she has no longer loves . They live in a cold and damp flat, alongside the dark and dangerous River Humber. Bernadette has her husband’s meal ready every day when he returns from work at 6pm sharp – except for the one day she decides to leave him. Coincidentally that is the day he breaks his routine and does not arrive home at 6pm. She finds it is “difficult to leave a man that isn’t there“. Where is he?
Conor is a young boy who, through no fault of his own, finds himself transferred from foster home to foster home. He, like the River Humber, swirls and eddies around looking for something to cling onto that he can believe will be permanent and solid in his life.
The night that Bernadette’s husband disappears so too does Conor, and Bernadette is racing against time to find Conor. In so doing Bernadette uncovers the secrets of those around her, and also those hidden within herself.
The chapters are short, interesting and thought provoking. Tension and pace builds around Conor’s safety – physically and psychologically, and what secrets Bernadette’s husband has been keeping.
Having read, and loved, How to be Brave by this author, I was keen to read her second novel, though apprehensive that it would not be as good as the first. I was wrong. Though this book covers completely different areas of life, the writing is as strong and moving as her first book. The insights into the life of a (fictional) foster child are very moving as well as shocking, but with wonderful, heart warming moments too. I love the idea of the Life Book to record events and memories – a great idea for any child, not just those in care.
For me this is a 5* book because of the brilliant way author Louise Beech has of taking the reader right into the heart of the main characters. The compelling themes of what is important in life and relationships completely absorbed me.
Also by Louise Beech, see: