Wednesday, 26 October 2016
The Mountain In My Shoe by Louise Beech
Published on 30th September 2016 by Orenda Books. My thanks to the publisher and author for sending a review copy.
A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself.
On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she's leaving, he doesn't come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she's befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor's foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband's secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all.
Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family ... and just how far we're willing to go for the people we love.
I feel that I might be the last person to read this book, if I am not then I should be. I read and loved this author's first book last year. You can read my review here. I enjoyed that book so much that it made my top reads of 2015. I was a bit nervous, hoping that I would like this as much. My fears were allayed from the very first page, that was when my heart was captured.
This book has elements of mystery and suspense, but more than that it has a wonderful human and emotional depth. Bernadette is leaving her husband as she can't take any more of his behaviour, she is reclaiming her life. She is a friend to Conor who is in foster care, his life book goes missing and Bernadette's husband doesn't come home from work. This is where the mystery begins....
This story is narrated from three perspectives; Bernadette, Conor and The Book. The Book was an important and useful tool in the telling of the story and for me it proved to be the best narrator. Some of those bits were so emotive, I had a lump in my throat.
Louise Beech is a gifted writer, a writer of great depth and one who is able to portray human relationships and tackle difficult themes, including abuse and the child care system with a gentle touch, that nonetheless provides a punch to the gut. There is always a harsh reality behind the beautiful words, but somehow sadness and desperation is turned to hope in this thrilling page turner.
This is a story of hope and fixing what is cracked but never broken, it is about removing the pebble from ones shoes and it is about not being defined by one portion of your life.
Louise Beech writes with such a grace and elegance. There is a real empathy between those lines, but also an urgency that demands the story to be read and a spark that keeps the story real. It is hard not to be enchanted by her work. If you only have time to read one book, I would say you should read this one, as this author is going to make my top reads for the second year in a row.
About the Author:
Louise has always been haunted by the sea, and regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting twice for the Bridport Prize and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull - the UK's 2017 City of Culture. She loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. She is also part of the Mums' Army on Lizzie and Carl's BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show. She is currently working on her third novel.
You can follow her on Twitter: @LouiseWriter