I was rather surprised by this story as on first glance I thought perhaps that the story would be a little bit fluffy. However, very soon into the book there is a real temptation to read through it very quickly, not because the book is light on content but because the story takes hold and makes you want to know what’s going to happen next.
On the surface it’s a gentle story about Rachel, who is a young single mother, trying to support her children by taking a job in a care home looking after vulnerable adults. Rachel’s confidence has been battered by a disastrous marriage but her resolve in caring for her family means that she must make sacrifices and working in such a demanding job is never going to be easy.
I think what makes the book so readable is that the story explores relationships in realistic detail. I especially enjoyed following Rachel’s interaction with her fellow care workers, and more especially with Philip, a vulnerable adult in the home, who needs a special brand of cosseting. Rachel’s chaotic private life echoes the sort of journey many single mothers make every day, as they try to juggle the responsibilities of parenthood with the very real need to make ends meet. Rachel’s return to work is never going to be easy but the deftness of the story and the realistic way in which the characters are allowed to evolve, make this book an absolute joy to read and enjoy.
On the whole I think that this is a commendable debut novel. The author has shown a real empathy with the characters she has created and more importantly she has the skill to share this vision with her readers. I look forward to more books from this talented author.
My thanks to Real Readers for my review copy of this book.