Publication Date: 29th March 2018
When I saw this one available for request on Netgalley I knew I had to have a bash at being approved. I read and loved My Name Is Leon sometime last year so I was really excited to read more of Kit De Waal’s work.
Luckily I was indeed approved and set to reading as soon as I could. Now if I’m honest I found this one somewhat of a slow starter for me. I think maybe this could be attributed to the fact I was reading a couple of other books at the time and life was crazy busy so I wasn’t dedicating the time it deserved.
However once I hit my stride this swiftly became the kind of book I wanted to hide from my family to go and finish reading (come on, we all have books like those right?). Bad mother and wife right here folks!
This story has a dual timeline narrative which is always a massive plus point for me. I enjoy discovering slowly how the sum of little events or even one significant event in a persons past shapes their life and makes them the person they are in the present day.
Mona is our protagonist. In the present day she’s a woman who has just turned sixty. She lives alone by the sea and owns a toy shop. She specialises in handmade wooden dolls which she makes all the outfits for. She also, with the assistance of the local carpenter, has a sideline in very special dolls.
She is a well liked and well respected lady, with friends within the local community and a very structured, settled life.
However mona is hiding her own heartbreak from the past. We flit back in time to firstly her childhood in Ireland, the loss of her mother when she was very young and the subsequent relationship she had with her father. We then learn about Mona’s early adulthood and her move to Birmingham where she meets William who quickly becomes the love of her life.
William and Mona’s relationship is so beautiful. I really enjoyed reading about how it flourished, the quick seamless ease with which they fell in love, dreamed about their future and made a home together.
When a catastrophic event occurs, their relationship is well and truly tested and Mona has to quickly become master of her own future. She has to make some heart wrenching decisions and is forced to become a strong minded capable young woman.
This is such an emotional story, with strong themes of loss, grief, loneliness and heartbreak. However there are also strong threads of love and friendship. Of determination and resilience.
The characters are all so well written. Even if they appear briefly in the story, they appear fully formed and well rounded. My particular favourites were William’s aunties whom he dubs Famine and Pestilence. I could imagine them in my minds eye, bustling Irish Aunties, taking charge.
This book is one I would thoroughly recommend, it’s a heartbreaker and heartwarmer in equal measure. Kit De Waal is such a fabulous writer, I know that I will always devour anything she reads.
Get your hands on this ASAP if you know what’s good for you!
See you soon.
Bookish Chat xxx