Monday, June 24, 2013

Between A Mother And Her Child by Elizabeth Noble

4.5 Star
For Maggie and Bill it was love at first sight . . .

One impulsive wedding later and with the arrival of three perfect children, Jake, Aly and Stan, the Barrett family seem to have it all. Until the day their world stops turning.

When Jake dies suddenly, they're swept away on a tide of grief that fractures Maggie and Bill's marriage. She and the children are left clinging to the wreckage of their family. And they need help, because in her grief Maggie is in danger of losing Aly and Stan too.

Enter Kate, housekeeper, companion and shoulder to cry on. She's here to pick up the pieces and fix what isn't completely broken. But can Maggie trust Kate? And why is Kate so keen to help?

When Bill falls for another woman, Maggie realizes she will have to fight to put her family back together - but will they still want her?

Kathryn - 4.5 Star

Much as this book is easy to read in the way it’s written I found it so intense in moments that I caught myself holding my breath.

The storyline was original and the characters were all interesting, including (and maybe especially) the children. There wasn’t a single person brought into the story without a fully developed history, a unique personality and a purpose. I found the relationship between Maggie and Bill most fascinating- they’d been together since they were so young and then could just not cope with their grief together-yet their love for each other is still apparent and palpable. It was so beautiful to read how much they still had that depth of feeling while knowing that they really didn’t belong together as a couple anymore. Bill’s new girlfriend was a bit hard to accept - I found her so young and unlike Maggie that she just didn’t fit with the image I had of him in my mind. By the end of the novel I did appreciate her more and saw how much Bill needed someone like her to help him move past his guilt and grief.  It was difficult to really take a side in their separation- I liked them both so much.

The addition of Kate to Maggie’s life was a bit odd- though I could understand why her sister wanted someone to watch over the family and that a complete stranger (rent-a-granny) was the only possible scenario Maggie might accept. Their relationship grew quite quickly and although some readers have found it unrealistic I can see Maggie’s need for a mum made the whole thing work.  Maggie also needed that guiding person to re-establish her link to her daughter Amy.  I loved that Amy’s thoughts and feelings were so much a part of the novel- as a teenager losing her brother her thoughts added a unique perspective.

Tragic events can impact a family instantly or gradually and in this case a slow simmer of misunderstandings and intense grief made the perfect family pull away from each other. I loved them so much that I grasped on to the hope that all would be well in the end but grief can be tolerated and then accepted but perhaps never resolved. Losing a child is unthinkable and I felt every gut wrenching ache the writer threw at me but still managed to enjoy the funny bits-which is a credit to Noble’s writing.

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