Dear Dad by Giselle Green

deardad

What they say: Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast.

9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he?

Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.

The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?

The Review: First off thanks so much to the author for this book in return for an honest review. I have to admit, when I first saw the cover of this I was a bit worried. I wasn’t sure it was my type of read. With the child looking so serious and the light shining on him I was afraid their might be something of a dubious nature within the book, but one quick look of the blurb and I was looking forward to reading. This book was a cross between What Milo Saw by Virginia MacGregor and Into The Night Sky by Caroline Finnerty and it matched up nicely, with a great storyline, humour, romance and fun.

The story alternated between characters Nate and Jenna, a tool I’m always a fan of, and we got to know both of them intimately, Nate, a twenty seven year old front-line war correspondent who’s suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, and Jenna, a primary school teacher who has just arrived home after leaving  a cheating fiance in Sicily. Nate was great, the perfect mix of ‘not so sure about him,’ mixed with ‘I adore him so much.’ He narrated his episodes brilliantly, and we were tentatively shown his back stories nicely as the story progressed. The one thing I couldn’t fathom was why we kept being reminded of how young Nate was, and at times this grated on me, just a little.

Jenna was great, I loved her from the start, with her ability to tell it like it was perfect. In particular I adored her arrival at her new school, which was genius, and how she stepped straight in and did the right thing.

I loved the story-line, with 9 year old Adam Boxley, as expected, the star of the show, taking his lot with such bravery, and showing us how to smile despite having so much to deal with. In particular his letters were the perfect mix of heartbreaking and hilarious. I loved how the mix-up came about, and thought it was nicely carried through. In general there was perhaps one too many mix ups, where someone didn’t say something where they should have, but in general this was also well done.

I now have to throw up a huge kudos for all the side characters, Mr Drummond a good ‘baddy’ and Marcie a great boss, although my favourite were her best friend Mags, and Nate’s work associate, Hal. Both were lovely, giving their characters moral support, told honestly, at times with hilarious results! They told us what we needed to know as we needed it, without being hit over the head with it. Actually, in general this was the magic of the book, I was totally engrossed and walking alongside the characters as everything happened while we were told what was happening through dialogue and descriptions.

All in all, a book I couldn’t put down (the pacing was really well done). I relished every single chapter while having to hold back from seeing what happened and where these three very different lives would end up. And I can simply say, it was worth the wait. Very much recommended:)

Rating 4.5/5

 

About Giselle

gisellegreen

Again the best way to tell you about Giselle, is in her own words 🙂

Giselle’s website

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Giselle Green’s books on Amazon

 

The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia MacGregor

the astonishingreturnofNorahWells

What They Say: One ordinary morning, Norah walked out of her house on Willoughby Street and never looked back. Six years later, she returns to the home she walked away from only to find another woman in her place. Fay held Norah’s family together after she disappeared, she shares a bed with Norah’s husband and Norah’s youngest daughter calls Fay ‘Mummy’.

Now that Norah has returned, everyone has questions. Where has she been? Why did she leave? And why is she back? As each member of the family tries to find the answers they each need, they must also face up to the most pressing question of all – what happens to The Mother Who Stayed when The Mother Who Left comes back?

From the author of What Milo Saw, comes this powerful, emotional and perceptive novel about what it takes to hold a family together and what you’re willing to sacrifice for the ones you love.

 

The Review: First off thanks to Netgalley and Sphere publishers for the copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Let me start the review by saying that when I tweeted first about this book I accidentally called it ‘The astonishing return of Virginia MacGregor.’ This was obviously a slip up on my part but actually, quite apt, as it WAS astonishing that the person who gave us such a gem as ‘What Milo Saw’ (click for review) should give us a second book that was so different and yet equally as unputdownable! Oh and just to add, if some of this review, rings bells with any of you, it’s because I reviewed this book as part of the Bout of Books readathon a while ago,

It is about two mums ‘The Mum who left’ (Norah )and The Mum who stayed (Fay). The Mum who stayed is credited as having kept everything together when the mum who left walked out six years ago, but now the mum who left is back.  The setting of ‘Astonishing Return of Norah Wells’ is 77 Willoughby Street, and we are transported there early on to meet the inhabitants, the husband, Adam, teenage daughter, Ella, and a child, Willa, who calls the mum who stayed ‘Mummy.’ The story is told from the viewpoint of the two mums, the husband and the two children, and looks at at the disruption and confusion caused by Norah’s return.

‘The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells’ makes us think about who the mother really is and thus started me thinking about for example the questions that arise as a result of surrogacy, adoption, fostering. Is a mother a mother because she gave birth to a baby or is it the person who raises the child? I loved that it wasn’t black and white, as life never is, and some of my prejudices towards one of the mothers were addressed, hence I learned something about both myself and my (sometimes biased) attitudes as a result of reading. Always a good thing.

I had a bit of a lull before the 50% mark, the pacing was a bit up and down for me but in general surprises were brilliant, and excellently done, and I would never have dreamed of putting it down. The telling of the story from an overseeing voice at times is magnificently done, I’m sure other authors, had they seen that it could have been done this way, could have tried to do it for the whole book, but I don’t think it would have worked, the different characters’ points of views put with this voice work gorgeously.

This book had it all, the tension, the surprises, I cried, I laughed, and at one point I laughed through tears, which a book has never caused me to do before. It was atmospheric, beautiful and had characters that were vivid and very, very real. The ending was unusual and unexpected, and I appreciated it. One thing to look out for is the relationship between little Willa and the dog, Louis. It’s a special one that will wow you.

This is one to put on the wishlist (unfortunately, at over £7 at time of posting this review, it’s a bit of an investment, though when you look at all the 99p books we buy without thinking, maybe some of these could be sacrificed?) Anyhoo, as I said before, hopefully this book will do really well and we’ll be seeing a lot more from Virginia MacGregor. Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.75/5