Maggie and Bill have the perfect life if such a thing exists. Falling deeply in love with each other at a tender age, married, and relocating to the other side of the world, well off financially and materially, with three children Jake, Aly and Ben.
But this perfect life is shattered by the Tsunami on Boxing Day.
Jake their eldest is there at the time with two of his friends and only they come back alive.
The perfect life is no longer, the bond between a mother and her child, is broken utterly and completely. With it the family is slowly starting to shatter and Elizabeth Noble’s novel takes us through the grief stricken aftermath of those left behind. It is not just a novel of bonds between mother and child but all relationships; husband and wife, brother and sister, sisters and strangers
Maggie and Bill are no longer together. Bill is actively dealing with his grief. Maggie is not; her only outlet is cleaning to combat the insomnia that has struck her. A build up of resentment has broken this bond. The bond with Maggie’s other two children has also been broken and at a point it looks like it will never be reformed. Aly feels she can never live up to the pedestal that Jake was put on being the first born. Ben on the other hand has special needs and his behaviour being blunt he seems to have dealt with the death of his brother and is dealing with life as he sees it. Ben has moved on.
Suddenly there are two saviours to the family. Olivia, Maggie’s sister realises that she cannot continue to support her sister when they are on opposite sides of the globe especially when she is now moving on with her own life. By chance an advertisement in a newspaper leads her to Kate and Kate to Maggie and her family as everyone’s lives move on.
Noble’s novel was moving and a couple of times the tears did flow. She somehow has managed to create a story which could have been quite perfunctory but deals with the many of emotions of grief and importantly love. The only niggle and the reason for four stars and not five was the role of the character Kate, the “Mary Poppins” figure that drops into their lives and rescues them and interestingly her own family breakdown at the same time. More could have been made of Kate and she came rather late into the story for me and her background was rather a rushed affair to bring the relevance of her into the story.
However, this is a good novel from Elizabeth Noble and one of her stronger ones in my opinion.
I last read an Elizabeth Noble novel in January 2011, and looking back at the review here, I commented two things – that I have given all her previous novels 3 stars out of 5 (on Amazon) and that perhaps I have gone as far as I am going to go with this particular author. It shows you how time and moods change. I have given the novel this time 4 stars but despite this book being a much better read than her others. She is an author that I can take or leave.