A bit of blurb...
Tom Hope is broken. Ever since his wife Laura died he hasn't been the same man, and definitely not the same father. Luckily however, his mother-in-law Linda is there to pick up the pieces and look after his two struggling daughters, Evie and Lola.
But Tom getting arrested on the first anniversary of his wife's death is the last straw for Linda.
She decides on drastic action, and in a final attempt to make Tom reconnect with his daughters, Linda leaves for Australia. Now, with two fast-maturing girls on his hands, Tom has to learn how to accept his responsibilities and navigate the newly discovered world of single fatherhood - starting immediately.
While Linda finds her journey brings more than she bargained for, Tom suddenly has only himself to rely on.
Will he fall back into grief or finally step up and be the father his girls need?
My thoughts about the book...
From the start of The Hope Family Calendar you can't help but be drawn into Tom's story. Devastated by the loss of his wife, Laura, he is struggling to care for his children and relies heavily on his mother-in-law to pick up the pieces. But sometimes tough love is what's needed and when Tom gets arrested on the first anniversary of his wife's death, well, his mother in law Linda feels it’s now make or break time for To who needs to take back control of his life. Leaving him to fend for himself and the children is not easy but Linda does what she thinks, under the circumstances to be the best thing for everyone.
What the follows is the story of a man who is shattered into a million pieces, who is trying his best to make everything normal, but normal doesn't always work out. Tom needs to figure out, with the help his children, just how to go forward so that they can all begin to mend and heal and maybe, one day, go forward as a new family unit.
The author writes with great warmth and compassion and shows both the strength and, with huge insight shows the vulnerabilities of all of the characters. From the start of the story both Tom and Linda have their own emotional journeys to travel on and I looked forward to reading their individual stories in alternate chapters. And yet, right at the heart of the novel, it mustn't be forgotten that the children were also grieving the loss of their mother and the way that their progression was explained also added depth in what is a very fascinating insight into modern family life.
I am sure that fans of Mike Gayle's previous novels will find much to enjoy in this book as it has all the fine attention detail that we have come to know and love about his books.
Best Read With ...A large mug of tea and a crispy bacon buttie, ketchup on the side..
About the Author
Previously an Agony Uncle, Mike Gayle is a freelance journalist who has contributed to a variety of magazines including FHM, Sunday Times Style and Cosmopolitan. His bestselling novels include MY LEGENDARY GIRLFRIEND, MR COMMITMENT, TURNING THIRTY, HIS 'N' HERS and BRAND NEW FRIEND. He keeps a website at www.mikegayle.co.uk and can be found on Facebook and on twitter.com/mikegayle
My thanks to Hodder&Stoughton for the opportunity to read and review The Hope Family Calendar