This was a haunting and quite lovely book that, despite its strong focus
on loss and healing, blends realism with the fantastical, creating a wonderful
and poignant atmosphere that allows for sorrow but also great joy.
The story starts when Henri, a middle-aged Frenchman, sets out to meet
his estranged young son in London. On the way, he is involved in an accident,
an accident made all the more shocking because of its context. Believing his
father doesn’t care, Henri’s son, Sam, only learns the truth about his father’s
failure to keep their meeting in the newspaper. Thus, his first encounter with
his father occurs in a hospital where Sam is forced to share this man he doesn’t
remember, with a variety of medical professionals and other people who meant
something to Henri. Confused, and determined not to show how his father’s
accident is impacting upon him, Sam tries to keep his hospital visits a secret
from his mother and step-father, all while trying to overcome the visiting
restrictions. Clever and sensitive, Sam also has a condition called synaesthesia,
which means he sees emotions as colours. To call them auras is only partly
right. While others believe Henri is in a deep coma and unable to communicate,
Sam knows different. Before long, he finds himself unable to keep away and not
just from his father. He may not be able to communicate with Henri in the usual
fashion, but through his unusual insight, he is able to build a relationship with
the man wandering in a dream-realm and help others to grow theirs and not only
A moving read that examines father-son relationships as well as a
variety of others, including those between medical professionals and their
patients. It also explores the impact injury and loss has on the loved ones of
those in care. It’s also about the choices we make in the past and how they not
only impact the future, but those we love and in ways never intended. It’s
about communication and the different forms it can take and why, sometimes,
words really are not enough.
I guess I should start this review with a Happy New Year! It might be belated, but is no less sincere for that. I really hope 2018 is a cracker of a year for you. I am excited about it – not only do I have two novels coming out this year (the US version of The Locksmith’s Daughter in May with William Morrow, replete with a gorgeous new cover which I will preview soon and The Chocolate Maker’s Wife in Australia/NZ through MIRA Harlequin/Harper Collins in October – 2019 release slated for the USA,), but I also commence a new writing job as an advice columnist for a magazine. Watch this space. So I really feel writing is my living now – from fiction and history to contemporary politics, social issues and pop culture to advice. Feel ever so fortunate to be making my living with words and the ideas they inspire, imaginations they fuel, knowledge they impart and also the ability they have to console, excite, arouse, enrage, and satisfy.
I have made a promise to myself to read a lot this year – non-fiction (which I will do researching my new novel) as well as glorious fiction from all genres. Currently, I am reading the book that, before its release, caused so much controversy – Fire and Fury by Michael Woolfe. OMG. Stay tuned for a review of that in the next few days. In the meantime, here is the first of my reviews for 2018. So many great books, so many lovely words. Never enough time! Happy New Reading Year!
Number Three in the Detective Chief Inspector Max Ryan series ups the ante by commencing the novel with Ryan being placed into custody under suspicion of murdering a man in a church. While it’s evident to the reader he is no more guilty of such a crime than we are, and for those following the series we understand how and why he’s been detained, it’s the one flaw in this otherwise good book that other investigators take their time releasing him so he can do what he does best: track down the real culprit.
Focusing once more on the mysterious “Circle” who have been the bane of Ryan’s life, in this book, they turn on each other and one by one, die gruesome deaths. Suspects become victims and Ryan and his team find rather than narrowing the pool of potential perpetrators, they are at a loss to know who is responsible. But time is running out as not only the death toll grows, but the murderer sets his or her sights on one of Ryan’s own.
Dark at times, but also interwoven with gentle humour and romance, this book, like the others in the series, is a light and easy read. With each book, the characters grow on you, even if the plot around the Circle is becoming thin. That said, they are well worth a read and great for holiday escapism.