My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Publisher - Harper
Pages - 374
Blurb from Goodreads
Losing a husband is virtually unbearable. Losing your children to the birth mother who abandoned them, whilst you are still grieving, is one heartbreak too far. It must not be allowed to happen ...
Ella counts as her blessings her wonderful husband, two animated kids and an extended family who regard her as one of their own. Yet when her soulmate Joe tragically drowns, her life is turned upside down without warning, and she finds that the luck, which she had thought would last forever, has run out. When Joe’s beautiful ex-wife, who deserted their children three years earlier, arrives at the funeral, Ella fears the worst. And she may well be right to.
Ella discovers she must struggle with her own grief, while battling to remain with the children and the life which she loves. Questioning her own role as a mother, and trying to do what is right, all she is sure of is that she needs her family to make it through each day. Yet when pushed to the limits of love, Ella must decide whether she is, after all, the best mother for her children.
The story starts pretty quickly, an intro to Ella, our main character, Joe her husband who dies in the first chapter and their children Annie and Zach. The story takes off from that first chapter, rushing to the scene, the beginnings of grief and trying to accept what has happened. It's enough to knock the wind out of you yes? Well the story is just starting, as Ella tries to come to terms with Joe's death, secrets come to the front and Joe's ex wife come back. She is the children's biological mother who abandoned them 3 years prior. At first Ella doesn't think too much of her reappearance, after all everyone has the right to say their goodbye's. However, it doesn't take long for Ella to realize Joe was just the first loss and everything she holds dear is at risk too.
This is a great debut novel, you are grabbed from the very first chapter and eagerly await what comes next. Ella, as we find out, is the children's step mother, the children were six and three months when Ella came into their lives. She knows very little about their biological mother, Paige, other than she abandoned them. Every womans nightmare enfolds as she tries to keep what is left of her family whilst dealing with the raw grief of losing her partner.
Ooooh I hated Paige with a vengeance, imagine coming back into your children's life when they have just lost their father and causing upheaval and emotional turmoil. As the story goes on we get more glimpses of what she is up to and what she wants. Ella for her part, muddles through, trying to keep her family together but also trying to be an upholding honest citizen. This is what annoyed me to be honest, everyone grieves yes and behaves differently but she was almost saintly and some of the things she done, you really wanted to shake or slap her!
Apart from a few issues I found just a tad hard to swallow, on the whole it is a really good story. It seems from the blurb very gloomy and dark but it actually has some very moving and uplifting moments. It is a story or love, grief, family, honesty, spirit and fight, about how far you can be pushed and still battle along and keep going, 4/5 for me. I would definitely read this author again!