Author: Deborah Moggach
Genre: General Fiction
Format: Hardcover 272 pages
Release Date: 11 July 2019
Publisher: Tinder Press
My thanks to Georgina Moore for the advanced readers copy provided to me for review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss.
Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day, now happily chortling over cuckoo clocks and television soaps?
Then something happens that throws everything into new relief, and Phoebe and Robert discover that life most definitely does not stop for the elderly. It just moves onto a very different plane – changing all the stories they thought they knew so well.
This book is split into three parts. In the first part we have alternating chapters between Phoebe and Robert, brother and sister, as they visit their elderly father who is under the care of Mandy.
Phoebe is a struggling artist living in Wales and Robert lives an entirely different lifestyle in Wimbledon married to a semi-famous news presenter. Both have struggles in their own way however, and in this first part we really get to know these characters and what drives them.
At the end of Part one there is a bit of a shocking reveal that takes the story in a different direction. Part 2 then provides us chapters from James, Ken and Stella. I won’t say too much about this as all will become apparent who these characters are by Part 2.
Part Three provides the conclusion for all the characters that really finished the book of nicely and by this point I felt like I had been on a kind of journey with these characters, especially Phoebe and Robert. Who they were at the beginning of the book is definitely not who they land up becoming by the end.
At the root of this book is an issue which will affect most of us at some point in our lives. With an ageing society and people living longer than ever before, how do we adequately care for those in our family when they get to the point in life where they can no longer look after themselves? Do you consider care homes? In-home care? Do you look after them yourselves?
This book didn’t go where I thought it was going at all. If you like your books that take you in a different direction and that are very character driven then this book is for you.
About the Author
Deborah Moggach is the author of nineteen successful novels including the bestselling Tulip Fever. In 2012, her novel These Foolish Things was adapted for the screen under the title The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and starred Judi Dench, Dev Patel, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith. An award-winning screenwriter, she won a Writers’ Guild Award for her adaptation of Anne Fine’s Goggle-Eyes and her screenplay for the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was nominated for a BAFTA. Her television screenwriting credits include the acclaimed adaptations of her own novels Close Relations and Final Demand, as well as Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate and The Diary of Anne Frank. Deborah has been Chairman of the Society of Authors and worked for PEN’s Executive Committee. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, she was appointed an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for services to literature and drama.
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