Polly is a young single mother. Her only focus is her young son Louis. She had a troubled relationship with Louis’ dad and wants to put it all behind her. She is also an alcoholic who is determined to stay clean for the sake of her son.
Ben’s sister died and he ended up becoming his niece’s guardian. Ben is clueless about children, and between coping with his own grief at losing his beloved sister, and looking after a five-year old, he is struggling. His little niece, Emily, isn’t talking, or eating properly and he doesn’t know what to do. Ben is also an alcoholic.
Ben and Polly come across each other and turn into good friends. Life is perfect for Polly, her life with Louis and her friendship with Ben are enough for her.
Everything seems perfect until Louis’ dad who had disappeared, suddenly turns up. Polly’s ordered little world is turned upside down and she is forced to confront the demons of her past. A beautiful story. One that had me hooked from the word go. Narrated by Polly, the book has flashbacks to Polly’s past, giving us glimpses into her life, the reasons why she is so complicated and troubled. Polly’s story is a heart-breaking one, one which you empathise with, one which has you rooting for her, hoping for her to find her way out of the mess she gets into, cheering for her when she does the right things.
The story also gives us a perspective into the life of an alcoholic, of how easily things can go wrong. Of how tough it can be for an alcoholic. The author also explores the possibility of alcoholism being genetic in nature.
It was shocking in places, had me in tears in places. I loved Polly’s character,her strengths and her weaknesses, and her brother Hugo. If anything I loved Hugo even more than Polly. I was enraged at times by the way she took him for granted, and despite all that, the strong, unbreakable bond between them was so beautifully portrayed.
All the characters had depth, and felt very real. I had an inkling of one of the revelations that came towards the end, but even that did not detract from the book.
A book I would strongly recommend. A 4.5/5 read for me.
About the Author
At the age of eighteen Alice had been awarded a tennis scholarship to America when she experienced pain in her right hand. It was rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and she hasn’t picked up a tennis racket since, a sadness that shall always be with her. The theme of disability features in her fiction, but there is nothing gloomy about Alice or her work. Rather this gives her fiction the added dimension of true poignancy.
This book is available from Amazon(UK).