|Hodder & Stoughton|
Monica Watson is tempted by a job offer in LA, but that means leaving her surgeon husband, Daniel, and her children, nine year old Ruby and toddler, Luca, for three months. This shouldn't matter as much as it does, and at first, Monica is riddled with guilt and indecision, until she hires the enigmatic Ursula Condot as her housekeeper. On the surface, Ursula seems to be the perfect choice, she's quiet, respectful and rather bland and Monica leaves for her dream job confident that everything will work out just fine. The story then becomes Ursula's story as cleverly woven into the narrative is the reason why Ursula seems to blend into the background, quietly competent but never revealing too much about herself and yet, the burgeoning relationship she develops with Ruby, Luca and Daniel begins to speak volumes.
To say more would be to spoil a really clever story, Beautifully written and utterly compelling, I found it hard to put down and grew to both like and admire Ursula, not just because of her past story but also because of the way in which she quietly nurtured this little family. It's a sensitive look at the problems life throws at us, be it the bullying of a nine year old at school, the corporate challenges of a surgeon working in the NHS, or the systematic controlling element of one human against another.
Sometime a book leaves a real impression on you. Away from You is one such book. It's both heart breaking and uplifting in equal measure, and tugs away so much at your heartstrings that it becomes almost impossible to read this sensitive story without a packet of tissues and a strong cup of tea close to hand.
My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and Bookbridgr for my copy of this book.