Thank you very much to publishers Hodder and Stoughton for sending me this copy of The Hope Family Calender by Mike Gayle, which was released in paperback earlier this month.
While, I am a fan of Mike Gayle’s books, I thought as my guest reviewer Lynne did such a fantastic job of her first guest review here at ChocolatePages, I would ask her to read and review ‘The Hope Family Calender’.
(Lynne’s first review of I See You by Clare MackIntosh is HERE! )
Tom Hope is broken. Ever since his wife Laura died he hasn’t been the same man, and definitely not the same father. Luckily for Tom his mother-in-law Linda is around to pick up the pieces and look after his two struggling daughters, Evie and Lola.
But Tom getting arrested on the first anniversary of his wife’s death is the last straw for Linda.
In a last bid attempt to make Tom reconnect with his daughters she takes drastic action and leaves for Australia. With two fast-maturing daughters Tom has to learn how to accept his responsibilities and navigate the newly discovered world of single fatherhood – starting immediately.
With only himself to rely on, will Tom fall back into grief or finally step up and be the father his girls need?
Reading the first part of the synopsis on the back cover of this book, you might think it would be full of doom and gloom, you couldn’t be more wrong, it is full of false starts, new beginnings and shocking truths.It is also about the power of family and friends and about making mistakes and mending them.
Tom is bereaved, his wife died in a crash, and she left behind their two daughters.Tom has a bit of an ‘Ostrich Mentality’ throwing himself into his work and leaving the upbringing of his girls to his more than capable Mother in law, Linda, who gives up her own life to care for them all including Tom.
Tom’s late wife, Laura is practically a saint in retrospect, someone who had all the answers, was a perfect wife and Mother, but was she really? Or was she just as flawed as the rest of us ? Linda the Mum in law is the bringer of comfort, sanity and happiness in the household, but what about her own needs? What happens when she decides that she has to be ‘Cruel to be kind’ ?
The two girls are surprisingly well adjusted considering that they have lost a Mum and to all intents and purposes, have lost a Father too.
As we learn more about each person, we can feel the tension bubbling away below the surface, secrets unfold, friendships are renewed,and we find out what happens when each character has to find a new way of living.
I think Mike Gayle did a really good job of showing how grief can affect people in entirely different and unexpected ways, and that in Human life none of us are saints.
Will Linda -the Mother in law have a meltdown ?
Will Laura the deceased wife continue to be mourned ?
Will Tom do the right thing ?
You’ll have to read to find out !!
What you get is an uplifting story of Human perseverance, and what choices people make when the chips are down. A very good read.
Thank you very much to Lynne for reading and reviewing this book for me and my readers at ChocolatePages.