EXCERPT: ‘Mum! Dad! I did it! I did it!’ the boy called from the hallway. ‘I got three…’
And then a bang as something hit the floor.
And then silence.
Nick had heard the words loud and clear, so naturally, so comfortably called that it took a second or two for the universe to catch up. He looked towards the door, expecting his son to walk in. After a couple of seconds, he stood and went to investigate the silence. He put his head around the door and knew that he would never forget the sight that greeted him.
Oliver was sitting on the welcome mat, coiled into a ball like a small child with his chin on his chest and his knees raised. His arms were clamped around his shins and his whole body shook.
Nick sank down to join him on the floor and that was where they sat on the bristly Welcome mat that felt anything but. Oliver raised his head and the sight of his distress caused Nick’s own tears to pool.
‘She’s not here, Dad! She’s not here, is she?’
‘No, son. She’s not here,’ he managed through his own distress, hating to extinguish the faint look of hope in his son’s eyes.
‘Oh nooooooo! No!’ Oliver’s wail was loud, deep and drawn from deep within, he banged the floor with his hand. ‘I wanted to say goodbye to her! I wanted to … to tell her things and I wanted to say goodbye!’ He sobbed noisily. ‘I didn’t want her to leave me, Dad! I want her here. I want her here with us! And now she’s gone and I didn’t have the chance to tell her…’
ABOUT THIS BOOK: When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsure how to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.
In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?
And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?
MY THOUGHTS: I liked this book, sad though it was. I really liked it, but didn’t love it as I have previous books by this same author, but I will get to the whys of that in a moment.
I liked that Kerry and Nick’s marriage wasn’t perfect. I liked that both were very normal people who had struggled, fallen, and got back up again to get on with things. I like the way the author deals with the emotions of the characters; she always manages to wring a few tears out of me, and The Light in the Hallway was no exception.
The situations that Prowse describes are so very real – they happen all over the world, every day. They happen to people like me, and you, and to our friends. Prowse reminds us, and this is a direct quote from her book, that ‘life is a gift and we have to live it as best we can……we owe it to everyone who no longer has a life.’ I loved that sentiment. We all know it, but we sometimes lose sight of it. We judge others for not living up to our expectations of how they should live their lives, how they should feel and act, when we are not in their shoes and have no right to judge them.
And I did love the reference to the title in the book. That was lovely.
So, on to what I didn’t like – the ending. It was too ‘tidy’, too saccharine for my taste, with everything neatly tied up with a bow like a brightly wrapped gift under a Christmas tree. It was all very nice, but just didn’t feel very realistic. I can say no more without giving away vital information, so that is the end of that.
THE AUTHOR: Amanda Prowse was a management consultant for ten years before realising that she was born to write. Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their two teenage sons.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK for providing a digital ARC of The Light In The hallway by Amanda Prowse for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own opinions.
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