Dec “016, Hodder & Stoughton, 13 hours & 7 minutes, Audiobook, Review copy from Audible,
Summary from Audible
Caitlin's life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.
Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.
Nancy's Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.
But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages - and about what they both really want....
My interest was piqued by Caitlin's daughter losing her voice, and the twists that follow kept me captivated until the end. I can't say much about the prologue without giving spoilers but it really set up the story, and I was on tenderhooks throughout most of the book waiting for Caitlin to somehow figure out why Nancy stopped talking. She is such a sweet girl, very expressive even without a voice. She has a deep link with her brother Joel, who takes her not talking in his stride, somehow knowing what she wants and protecting her as much as he can from people misunderstanding her silence, which was heartwaarming.
I felt so sorry for Caitlin, because she's going through several major issues (child not talking, separation). Occasionally I was surprised she didn't take further action with Nancy's silence, but she was doing her best. Separation (and divorce) is far from simple, and with support from an unexpected ally Caitlin battles through it, almost always putting her children first. I hated when others criticized Caitlin because they weren't the ones in the situation (or if they were they were on the other side of the fence so had a skewed view of Caitlin from the onset).
Caitlin's not perfect but she's not a terrible mother either. She does struggle with seeing Eva who appears to be perfect, but having chapters with Eva's point of view helped me understand her further, and made me want to tell Caitlin to give Eva a chance. Eva ends up being the key to unlocking Nancy's voice again in a sweet way which made me tear up when it happened. Although Caitlin doesn't realise it Eva becomes a form of stability within her chaotic life which she sorely needs, and so do the children. I'm looking forward to relistening to this family centred read which gives a lot to think about.
Find out more on Lucy's website.
For another gripping single parent story check out Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks (Contemporay, Romance, Audiobook, 10/10E)